Tips for Marketing Messages in a 140-Character World

With the constant change in marketing tools and techniques, it is easy to get overwhelmed. If you stick with these tips, you’ll have a more thoughtful and successful marketing message. All types of companies, marketing all types of products, experience the same challenges when it comes to defining the right marketing efforts to accomplish their goals.

Here are the universal steps to improving the results of your marketing message. Get ready, I’m an expert analogy user and not afraid to show off.

Have a message strategy.

You have to prioritize your messages. It’s impossible to tell everything about your company or product in a single effort and be successful. I call this the “Garage Sale” approach where you throw everything you have out on tables in the front yard, hoping to attract buyers.

Don’t be a garage sale marketer. Spend some time clearly articulating your competitive point of difference. Be sure that difference is something that matters to consumers and it’s authentic to your brand. The objective is to be able to tell people what makes you different and why they should care.

I have a great example of an airline who missed the mark when deciding what message to prioritize to consumers. When United and Continental Airlines we merging, they presented a short video message that played on the seat-back screens prior to take off. One of the main message points was that they were nearly done re-painting the airplanes with their new branding. I was baffled. As a decade long customer of this airline, why did I care about the painting of the exterior of the aircraft? How would that benefit me? I have no memory of the rest of the message because I was busy obsessing over WHY they thought the paint would matter to anyone.

Keep it simple.

Consumers have a very limited attention span. You have to make an impactful point - quickly.

If you follow the previous step, you will have already prioritized your message and you’ll be off to a good start. This should be your brand elevator pitch that you’ve perfected and refined.

Avoid everything extraneous. Shorten sentences. Remove unnecessary punctuation. Replace words with graphics whenever possible.

And my personal favorite - remove all unnecessary labels. For example, if a consumer sees a number listed in this format - XXX-XXX-XXXX - they know it is a phone number without requiring the words PHONE NUMBER in front of it. Most of all, we know that is in fact a URL without listing the WWW in front. Spare us those distracting Ws. This may seem extreme, but space and eyeball attention is limited.

Measure and learn.

Don’t get distracted by shiny objects and the latest fads. Focus on what works. Track the results of your marketing so you can make good decisions about what you should consider changing. You don’t need big budgets and custom research to begin to understand what works for you. As the saying goes “start where you are and use what you have”.

Using a well crafted message consistently is a good thing. Use the marketing message you’ve refined and the measurement tools you already have as a starting point to gain a baseline understanding of your performance. All new ideas should be tested against that baseline before adoption.

The decision to try new marketing messages should always be based on data. This data will become your best weapon to fend off unsolicited suggestions you will receive from all directions. Knowing the data about your message performance is the best way to redirect that input.

To recap my tips for marketing in a 140-character world: no garage sale marketing, simplify and data is a weapon against nonsense.

This this quote nails it.

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so the necessary may speak”
- Hans Hofmann

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