Archive for September 4th, 2007

Not presenting the right message to the right audience can be costly

A client had a case study need which we were able to solve. Here’s some background.


The client had tried on two previous (and very hi-priced) engagements with a US marketing firm to create new sales materials. Yet they seemed no further ahead with new sales or leads despite quite a bit of effort and some glossy materials. They did not really know much about the persons they were trying to target. They had zero market presence, so the targets did not know the company (and its services) existed. As a consequence targets were loath to take their calls/approaches. A tough one. We were recommended by one of their consultants.

Our approach

During Discovery we pointed out that the client website had multiple (11) “messages” which forced it to try to occupy numerous value positions with the target audience. Sales scripts and materials used the shotgun approach which assumed that all targets wanted to know all the information and/or that they would read materials with lots of information to find what they want. These sales materials also carried multiple messages.

Our research shows that this combination is a good way to “kill” any lead generation and it really slows down the sales cycle (increasing the cost of sales). Targets want to know that you know their problems, speak like them and have solved their core issue for people like themselves (down to having similar jobs and job titles). And they neither have little patience nor time to do all the reading. Researchers and most very technical people will often read everything, but they are rarely all the people involved in the buy decision.

We researched the client preliminary prospect lists to find that the target decision makers could be segmented into two types, companies where the highest rank was a Director (operations) and those that had a titled VP (planning/strategy) in the area of interest.

Further work led us to believe that the companies in the segment that had a titled VP were the most likely to have budget for the services offered. We further segmented the companies with VP list, through web research, into a list of companies that had experienced certain corporate “trigger events” which would increase demand for our client’s offerings and a list of those who had not. (This is to make sure we separate migraine headache clients from oil change clients, since we sell pain reliever)

As part of our process, we broke down the VP with trigger events list into three different smaller segments in order to create distinct core value statements for each of these final target segments. These three separate core values would have the best call to action with these targets since it would tie directly into key trigger events and the day to day pressures of the executive involved.

Each of the following three core values were used to create a different case study:

Study 1. Save money

Study 2. Extend reach

Study 3. Increase revenue.

These case studies formed key client evidence for the next phases of the project, which included a lead generation campaign, sales responses and follow-up. These case studies were then also re-purposed in educational presentations to present clients in order to solicit work in new areas.

Results were extraordinary. A projected six week campaign achieved its goals in less than sixty hours.


Not presenting the right message to the right audience can be costly (in lost time, opportunity, effort and money). A well defined, researched process ensures that that clients are precise in their audience selection and messaging. We identify the market segments with the most to gain from the offer presented. The offer is crafted with segment specific messages to trigger action. All messages are backed up with trusted proof. This becomes part of a highly targeted repeatable lead generation program.

By clearly presenting each message in its simplest form, you also allow the target to self-serve for the evidence they want. Sometimes, but not always, they will pick up on a second supporting message during the sales cycle. Often, another individual enters the discussion that has a different concern, requiring different proof. By paying very close attention to the details of your targets’ behavior, you can be both effective and efficient in your sales and marketing efforts.

Truth. The new rules for marketing in a skeptical world. Lynn Upshaw

Truth. The new rules for marketing in a skeptical world. Lynn Upshaw. 2007. ISBN 978-0-8144-7376-4. Another Amacom book. Since at our firm we use truth based marketing, the title of this book caught my eye. You could also call this Integrity based marketing. However you say it this book delivers in a big way. It is so incredibly thorough and right that at times the paragraphs seem to jump out and smack you in the head. One of so many lines that made too much sense,” marketing needs to ….inject customer needs into the product development process….help develop more competitive products….help transform products into agents of integrity. A servant provides what a customer wants, a partner provides what a customer needs. ” If you have anything to do with marketing in your company this is a must read book.