B2B Messaging Platform — Don’t Bother Cuz It’s Likely a Waste of Time
Do you know what a Messaging Platform (aka Messaging Framework) is?
In this context a Messaging Platform is a guide to help people in a company or people working on content (whether spoken or written) ‘sing to the same hymnal’ when it comes to talking about the company’s value proposition and offering.
It usually includes insights about the target audience, the company’s brand strategy (positioning, brand promise, offer overview, etc.), messaging approach inc. rules & policies (aka do’s and don’ts), and sometimes suggested sales angles and calls-to-action as well approved answers to customer frequently asked questions.
A Messaging Platform is used by marketers, sales reps, executives, writers, human resource personnel, designers, videographers, etc. Everyone will have a different way of using it, but the main purpose of having a Messaging Platform is to have an ongoing resource that all stakeholders can use when creating sales/marketing messaging and content on behalf of the company. It is supposed to be a tool for creating communications.
The problem is: Many growing B2B companies invest a lot of money for a consultant or agency to develop a messaging platform because they know it’s important. But then it never gets used. I’ve seen it happen many times; people just forget about it or they work in silos and use their own ideas as time goes by.
If you want to create a messaging framework but never intend to use it, I’d say “why bother?”. You could put that money towards something else.
That said, below are a few examples for where a pre-planned messaging strategy comes in handy. This may not only help you decide whether or not to create a Messaging Platform, but also to motivate you to USE it.
Keep in mind: A Messaging Platform is not exact copy or scripts. It’s a guide to show the general idea of what needs to be communicated as well as the company’s tone, approved terminology, etc.
You: “I want you to revise the content on our website.”
Web agency: “No problem, please send us information about your brand and content strategy, relevant analytics, as well as your Messaging Platform (so that we can figure out good copy angles and images).
You: “We don’t have a Messaging Platform, but I can tell you in general what we want to say.”
Be careful. Your website may be the first thing people rely on to understand why they should care about you. This is a great example of where a strategic messaging approach can come in handy (your creative staff will love you and you’ll get projects like these done faster).
2. Sales Presentations and Collateral
You: “I was able to get a meeting with the executive team at ABC, Inc. to pitch our story and solutions. I could sure use some help from the marketing team to put together the presentation; and I need it in 3 days please.”
Marketing partner: “I’d be happy to do it. I suggest we confirm the story and come up with a tight message so it flows well and engages them.”
You: “Great, let’s get started. We can work late so that we meet the deadline.”
Both you and the marketing team would be better off if the general approach to a sales presentation was figured out long before a deadline. That way everyone could use the same template and just customize it for various situations. A Messaging Platform (that people know about and use) can help reduce content development fire-drills like this; not to mention it helps ensure consistency in how the company is being positioned by the sales team.
3. Tradeshows and Conferences
You: “I will be speaking at a large conference about the benefits of our solution. I need some feedback on my presentation.”
Colleague: “The presentation seems all over the place. I don’t see any statements or angles that mirror the company’s Messaging Platform.”
You: “That’s because I just came up with it on the fly, based on what I know and think.”
Hmmm, so in an instance like this where a Messaging Platform actually exists, seems that the $10,000 spent on research and time to create it was a bit of a waste.
The point is: Investing in a messaging platform is a great idea, but not so much if you spend good money and never use it.
Also check out 4 Tips to Develop Effective Sales and Marketing Messaging