Optimize My Brand

Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

Marketing message: stop with the “needs”!

Craft a marketing message that’s clear and concise. “Needs” is not what people are looking for!

Say it in a husky, breathy voice and roll your eyes … “do you have needs?” Oh yeah, I have automotive needs, and financial needs, and … fill in the blank.

“Needs” is the default word used by many companies in their advertising … “call us for all of your insurance needs!” Puuhleeeze … it’s ridiculous! It’s a marketing message that MUST be replaced with clear, direct, specific words. And yes I’m ranting … it bugs the H out of me every time I hear it.

Because really, what does that mean? There’s power in specificity.

What do they want from you?

Develop your marketing message from your audience’s point of view, not yours. They don’t have needs. (Or maybe they have the kind you don’t want to talk about.) They’re looking for (pick any one) …

  • An answer to a question
  • A solution to a problem
  • A way to meet their goals
  • Services that will make their life better/easier
  • Options they can choose from
  • Results they can expect
  • Explanations that will help them make a choice
  • A service that exceeds their expectations

You get the idea.

Whatever you think their “needs” are … they’re thinking about something else that is personal, that addresses their concerns, challenges and questions. They want a result, an outcome.

Frame your marketing message from your audiences’ point of view. Choose a brand promise that’s the promise of what they can expect. Clearly state the value you offer. Then you’ll relate to your people, the ones who want what you offer, on a higher level.

When you relate to them, when they understand the value you offer (not just the “stuff”) they’ll choose your services, products or company, instead of another.

marketing messageRemember, it’s about WIIFM … “what’s in it for me?”

Your marketing message is not a list of products or services that covers all the possible “needs” … (I certainly hope not!)

The answer to WIIFM is what you’re going to do for each customer, your target audience. Not just what they get, but what that means to them on an emotional, personal level.

  • It could be how you work with them, the relationship.
  • It might be the result they get when they use your product or service.
  • Or it’s how they feel about themselves, their family, their job when the transaction is complete.

Choose the words that connect

Crafting a marketing message that reaches to the hearts and minds of your audiences is tougher than it seems. It’s easy to fall back on default words. After all, everyone says they have great service (who’s going to say they have lousy service?), but what does “great service” mean to the buyer or user?

Enough rant. A marketing message must resonate. And “needs” doesn’t do it.

Stop. Using. It. Okay?

More thoughts on designing messaging that resonates with your target audience:


About the author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer's four decades of work in the industry, starting as a designer and adding marketing, copywriting and digital marketing, has generated response for clients since 1978.

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