Messaging Frameworks: Learn To Speak Their Language

In the new book “The Marketer’s Playbook -- the CMO’s Guide to Modern Marketing,” authors Tony Quin and Kevin Smith advocate that brands need to do marketing basics consistently well, which requires a systematic approach. Here’s an edited excerpt:

The mission is to create a system that puts content in front of a consumer at just the right moment. But all your work stands or falls on what happens then, and success is no accident. It’s the result of delivering content that communicates exactly the right message, for that particular consumer, at that moment in time. Helping to set the stage for this is your messaging framework. 

Messaging frameworks are part of your overall marketing plan. Your plan will tell you whom to target, which channels to use and when to engage them. But that’s when everything stands or falls with what the brand says and does in that moment. Messaging frameworks gives you the answers. 



Messaging frameworks are used to understand how to be more persuasive. Just as good salespeople learn the most effective pitch and practice it for that critical time with a prospect, so too do organizations have to study their audiences to know exactly what to say, to get them to take the desired action.  

But they are only as good as their inputs, and these need to be focused on the persona or segment that you are targeting. The messaging for a retired couple contemplating buying an SUV will clearly be different from a young couple with kids. 

Each target audience needs its own messaging framework. This will allow teams to move quickly in producing work that is not only consistent but shaped to have the maximum impact on the psychology of the audience.

A framework brings together the four messaging components that should shape your content. It’s a guide for your creative and marketing teams as they turn your strategies into tactics. Some of the framework you may have already, some may be understood, but not well articulated, and you may still have some work left to do. 

Messaging Framework:

Brand Messaging: Brand promise, positioning, mission, tagline, and overall voice & tone.

Value Proposition: Product sales pillars -- the big idea and evidence that supports claims.

Persona Messaging: Approach for each specific target segment. 

Tactical Modifiers: How context and channel modify a message. 

The framework pulls together much of the work you have done in understanding and defining your brand. This is to ensure that you have a consistent brand in every interaction. It also clarifies the key elements of the brand value proposition to make sure you are focused on what is important to that particular persona.

It then shows how messaging needs to be modified for different persona psychology, as well as different stages of the consumer journey and different contexts for interactions.

This integration of all these critical influences results in clear, effective personalized messaging for maximum impact -- which becomes the starting place for your creative team to translate these insights into what your target will see and experience.

A solid messaging framework reflects how well you know your brand, your consumers and your competitive marketplace. All messages, regardless of channel or persona, should ladder back to it. It’s the underpinnings of your content strategy, and can make the difference between content that resonates and content that lands with a thud.

1 comment about "Messaging Frameworks: Learn To Speak Their Language".
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  1. Martin Pavey from Flashtalking, August 31, 2018 at 7:58 a.m.

    Fully support the ideas here, messaging frameworks form a vital strategic component for developing personalised advertising programmes. They're a key part of our 'New Creative Brief for Marketers' where we describe them as messaging architectures.

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