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Sharpening the Messaging Axe

September 16, 2014 | By Rachel Young

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” 

Messaging Nautilus

This quotation, widely attributed to Abraham Lincoln, refers to the importance of thoroughly preparing in order to achieve the desired results.

I think of this concept often as I engage with clients on the topic of messaging. As b-to-b organizations seek growth through new markets and new buyers, it is more critical than ever for them to create messaging and content that connect with buyers. A major misstep is to begin the messaging development process by writing. This is the equivalent of chopping the tree without sharpening the axe!

The SiriusDecisions Messaging Nautilus is a proprietary methodology with eight arcs, or steps, designed to transform the way marketers create effective messaging. Writing the messaging doesn’t even begin until midway through the methodology.

Here are three best practices from the Messaging Nautilus™ that marketers can adopt to “sharpen the axe” for better messaging creation:

  1. Prioritize the target audience. Define target customer segments (e.g. industry, geography, organization type, buying center, persona) for the offering and gain agreement from sales, marketing and product leaders on the best growth opportunities.
  2. Develop buyer persona insight. Ultimately, messaging is created to connect with buyers and compel their progression through the buyer’s journey. Understanding buyer personas’ needs, interests, buying behavior and preferences in the language that they use is critical to creating messaging that resonates.
  3. Determine the demand type. Messaging must align to the market situation where the offer is being extended. The messaging strategy or intent depends on demand type. Messaging for new concept offerings should evangelize and educate, messaging for new paradigm offerings should provoke and reframe, and messaging for established market offerings should compete and differentiate.

Since its introduction, the Messaging Nautilus™ has been widely accepted by b-to-b marketers and praised for its strategic and logical sequence to developing messaging. Best practice messaging creation is more than just writing; it requires  preparing audience insight (sharpening the axe) and leveraging it to create audience-centric messaging that fuels connected conversations with the target buyers. Click here to download the Messaging Nautilus™ information guide.

Rachel Young

Rachel Young is a Senior Research Director of Portfolio Marketing at SiriusDecisions. She has more than 20 years of experience in product and solution marketing, demand generation and communications. Follow Rachel on Twitter at @rpyoung_.

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