Messaging and positioning are the most underrated tasks in marketing. Worse, crafting messaging is just not as much fun as creative development, storytelling, or content creation. I know.
Yet, messaging is a crucial and vital foundation for external communications and internal sales training.
What is a Messaging Framework?
A messaging framework is a logical and structured representation of your products’ and services’ unique promises and differentiation.
It’s an essential document to guide the creation of creative briefs, content, and sales training.
So, if messaging is done right, it provides strategic guidance and consistency to PR, external marketing communications, sales, and can even be used for internal sales and employee training.
As boring as it may sound, I absolutely LOVE creating messaging frameworks for clients!
How to Create a Messaging Framework
Here are the steps you can take to create a solid messaging framework.
Step 1: Engage with your product team
You need to engage your product team and subject matter experts to have them explain key features of new and existing products to you. Most of the time, product managers or engineers can explain the technical features well, but it’s a marketers’ job to “translate” them to the benefits that end-users can relate.
Step 2: Draft the messaging using template and vet it with your product team
Once you create a draft of the messaging framework, you need to vet it with the product team to make sure that features and benefits are presented ACCURATELY. Please bear in mind: Messaging is NOT copywriting. Essentially, messaging is the prelude to content creation and copywriting. The messaging framework provides guidance for content creators, copywriters, and designers. Therefore, the messaging framework needs to present features and benefits accurately so that writers can sprinkle their magic on it to create the final content. This is especially true in B2B marketing, given key content pieces may also need Legal’s approval.
Step 3: Test with your sales and customers
After several rounds of revisions working with the product team and subject matter experts, you’ll need to test the latest messaging framework with your sales team and get their feedback. If you have the budget, you can also test the messaging with select customers or using AB testing online. Bringing your sales and customer feedback into the conversation will validate what messaging pillars or statements work better and further refine your messaging.
Step 4: Finalize and approval by the product team and Legal
The last step is to finalize your messaging framework based on data from testing, sales, and product team. In B2B marketing and technology sales, you many use benchmark and performance data to support your claims. Therefore, Legal review is essential, in some cases, before you publish the messaging framework.
Additional hidden benefits of creating a messaging framework
By working through the process of reading product materials, interviewing subject matter experts and researching keywords, it helps me:
- Connect the dots with key business objectives and buyers’ personas
- Help you understand your products more deeply
- Identify optimal words to use for product differentiation
- Expand your ability to position products in the context of sales and marketing communications
- Pave the way for content strategy and editorial planning
Through years of working with clients, I’ve created several easy-to-follow and simple messaging templates that my clients love to use to brief their sales teams, marketing teams, and agencies, including content creators, copywriters, media and search agencies.
The process of developing a strategic messaging framework is time-consuming and lengthy. Start early if you have new product launches ahead.
I have two popular templates my clients rave about
One is product-specific, the other one focuses on thought-leadership. The messaging hierarchy is structured in a logical manner from one to another.
Just send a twitter message to @pamdidner with “send me the messaging framework.” I’ll send you the link.
I’ll share more templates in the future podcast. Stay tuned.
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Before you leave, make sure to check out the previous podcast episodes!
Have a great day!