HomeBlog Behind the Scenes: How Was the SiriusDecisions Messaging Nautilus Created?

Behind the Scenes: How Was the SiriusDecisions Messaging Nautilus Created?

October 21, 2014|Jessica Lillian

Find out about SiriusDecisions Messaging Nautilus, an eight-arc framework that brings sequential precision to the creative process of planning and producing b-to-b messaging.

Today at SiriusDecisions Summit Europe 2014, Marisa Kopec presented the SiriusDecisions Messaging Nautilus, an eight-arc framework that brings sequential precision to the creative process of planning and producing b-to-b messaging.

Originally unveiled at the U.S. Summit in May, the patent-pending Messaging Nautilus™ has already helped major organizations discard flawed messaging templates and create truly audience-centric content.

I talked to Marisa about the most glaring shortcomings she sees in today’s b-to-b messaging, the five components of a great value proposition, and what’s next for the Messaging Nautilus.

How did the original idea for the SiriusDecisions Messaging Nautilus come about?
The first catalyst was a couple of client requests, Marisa said. CMOs had begun to ask for “the SiriusDecisions messaging process,” and while plenty of research related to messaging was available, no specific end-to-end framework existed yet.

Second, the introduction of the SiriusDecisions Content Model at Summit 2013 spurred a great deal of further analysis of the content creation process. Marisa and her team found that the most common source of breakdown in organizations was the messaging template, which forms the input into the activation phase of the Content Model.

What was wrong with organizations’ existing messaging templates?
Primary research started with qualitative interviews with more than 50 b-to-b marketers. In the process of uncovering several compelling examples of best practice value propositions and messaging, Marisa also found plenty of messaging templates that she described as broken.

The creators of these documents came from well-known large b-to-b enterprises. They were skilled, smart marketers, but their organization’s process was flawed. “When you write to a generic audience, the message is generic – it doesn’t resonate with anybody,” Marisa explained.

How was all this research incorporated into the framework?
As she analyzed corporate Web sites and marketing materials and spoke to clients, Marisa made an interesting discovery: Many of the creators of the most successful examples of b-to-b messaging came from b-to-c backgrounds.

While the b-to-b buying process, of course, is quite different, marketers who had developed consumer-centric b-to-c marketing often successfully translated that formula to messaging in a buyer-centric b-to-b context.  This finding led to further research and the development of the audience-centric Messaging Nautilus™.

Research also involved studying hundreds of value propositions. Marisa highlighted common elements of the most successful value propositions and interviewed their creators to learn more about their development. This fed the creation of SiriusDecisions’ five components of a successful value proposition (audience, needs, assertion, outcome, and “special sauce” or distinction) – a key part of the Messaging Nautilus™.

What has the client response been so far?
Since the Messaging Nautilus™ was released, Marisa has built out an eight-lesson workshop toolkit that clients have used to apply the framework to their own unique situations.

Moving to the approach spelled out in the Messaging Nautilus™ is no simple process, Marisa noted. For a marketer accustomed to the traditional offering-centric process, transforming messaging is more than just reskilling; it requires complete de-programming.

If that sounds intimidating, rest assured that the Nautilus is not an inflexible, one-size-fits-all framework. “This is something clients can take and use as the basis for re-engineering their templates,” Marisa said.

Finally… why a nautilus shell?
The swirling progression of the eight arcs in the Nautilus is based on a Fibonacci series, in which pairs of numbers are successively added (e.g. 1+1 =2, 1+2 =3, 2+3=5).  This type of sequence perfectly suits the prescribed messaging process, which relies on additive inputs.

And there’s another reason: Organic imagery in b-to-b communications gets noticed, Marisa said. In a world where quadrants, Venn diagrams and stick-figure businessmen are ubiquitous, a huge blue shell stands out.

Jessica Lillian

Jessica F. Lillian is a senior editor at SiriusDecisions and has more than seven years of b-to-b editorial experience, including five years as the editor of national b-to-b magazines. Follow Jessica on Twitter @jessica_lillian

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