The Importance of a Unified Marketing Message

When it comes to developing a Marketing and Advertising campaign, it’s easy to do too much, too often. It’s something we’ve witnessed businesses do quite frequently as we make our way through our inboxes sifting through email blasts. Businesses are excited to sell their product and driven to create more demand from the consumer. They launch full-scale multi-level campaigns that integrate diverse messaging that targets extremely small percentages of their customer base or by blanketing all customers. In other words they spam your inbox with many messages. In the end it’s an attempt to be everything to everyone and that’s virtually impossible. By doing this, a business may gain or lose customers. However, at its worst it may cause a multiple personality disorder and they may lose their true identity all together. The voices from the campaigns compete and confuse.

Let’s say your business sells fruits and vegetables, and let’s suggest that 75% of all your business is in apples. Although you are known for your apples, you only possess a portion of the industry. Thus apples account for 75% of your business but your customers don’t purchase 100% of their apples from you. Let’s say you also sell grapes which account for 1% of your business as well as peaches, carrots, corn and 21 other products that equally account for small percentages of sales. Here lies the problem. Often times more than not, a business markets to the product lines that are struggling, rather than what they are good at, what they are known for and more importantly what they are actually profiting from. It’s in our nature to want to fix things.

So you develop a campaign around carrots. This includes print advertising, email blasts, websites, electronic advertising and pay-per click search ads. The message is clear, “we are the place to buy carrots”. This may work in gathering some new carrot customers but meanwhile you may be alienating your existing customers. I mean after all, they want to hear about apples. However you’re incredibly smart, you start targeting your carrot marketing to your carrot customers. This creates another issue as you’re now spending your time, resources and ad dollars promoting something that is only 1% of your sales.

My example may be far too simple but demonstrates why a business really needs to create a “Unified Marketing Message”. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Walmart? Well, besides the people shopping in sweat pants and braziers outside of their shirts. The answer is “Low Prices”. Walmart knows this is what they are good at and everything they do is focused upon sending this message. Given, Walmart probably has a small percentage of customers that feel they are high quality (believe me, they’re out there). It would be a mistake for Walmart to advertise the quality message to this small percentage as their customers expect value and it would be in competition to their “Low Price” message. Another great example is Geico. They have a very diverse feel to their marketing from the Gecko to the Cavemen but they have one unified message and that is saving money.

How do you create a unified marketing message? To begin you really need to discover what you are good at and why you are good at it. What is the thing that sets you apart from your competition? If it isn’t quality, than perhaps price? If it isn’t price, than perhaps it’s customer service? Is it a specific product? Find out whatever it may be and focus your marketing on it. It’s not particularly terrible to market items that are not your top sellers, but know when this may be working against you. Have the courage to drop a product that may not be delivering. Do you have the resources available to remain a top contender in the product line you are great at while marketing in other product lines? Examine your business and listen to your customers, they will tell you exactly why they shop with you.