Is Your Message Fragmented?

I attend a monthly meet-up held at the William & Mary Technology & Business Incubator that is designed as a resource for entrepreneurs to meet potential investors and collaborators, to share ideas and to learn from experienced entrepreneurs, academics and start-up professionals from Richmond to Virginia Beach. I hadn’t gone for a while, but made the commitment to attend the last two meetings. I can say that, aside from the free beer and pizza, what I learned in these two meetings

At the most recent meet-up, the presenter was Todd A. Mooradian, PhD, a professor at the Mason School of Business.  His presentation on business models and marketing strategy was captivating and eye opening. His talk focused largely on how businesses executives don’t spend enough time on their business model and marketing strategy, but spend more time on profit and loss, pleasing investors (and smaller businesses working in their business instead of on their business). I have always tried to find ways to gain perspective by removing myself from the day-to-day and thinking about the big picture, but I understand how hard it is for business leaders to do this.ngs was well worth the time.

After Dr. Mooradian’s presentation, one of the attendees asked him in which area businesses tend to make the most mistakes. As I looked at his model on the screen, I could not think of one particular area that I was aware of and an a clear answer wasn’t given that defined one area over any others as a problem for business executives and their teams.  After the meeting, I had the pleasure of talking with Dr. Mooradian and discussing the model we use at Proximo Marketing to guide our clients to develop a marketing strategy and devise a clear path for executing their strategy. Through our conversation, we were able to pinpoint a good answer to the question of where businesses often struggle the most: delivering a concise and unified message.

To understand how we came to this conclusion, first understand the model we use at Proximo. It is the 21st Century; we believe that a company’s website is likely it’s best and cheapest resource to disseminate information and deliver its message, soour model uses a company’s website as it’s hub or center.  The rest of the model looks like a wheel – the spokes leading to the hub are all of the mediums with which a business advertises or shares information. For instance, a company may buy ad space in a newspaper, airtime on the radio and invest in pay-per-click advertising on the Internet. They likely also network in the business community, volunteer in a civic club and submit pictures or press releases about their business to the media. In all of these cases, there are limited amounts of time and space to get their message across, so it’s wise to encourage the audience to learn more by visiting that company’s website.  Here they can clearly share their message and have a call to action that engages website visitors. The business has a tremendous amount of control over what a visitor sees and how they engage on the site.

Beyond the hub and spokes of the wheel, there is one more critical piece: the rim. In our model, the rim is the integration or the unification of the message across all platforms. In my experience, many businesses will buy an ad in the newspaper with one message, buy time on  the radio with another message and tell people with whom they network something else entirely. While businesses have an interest in sharing as much about their business as possible, having a fragmented message eliminates the ability of a business to have controls that allow for a successful experiment in marketing. By delivering a unified message, a business can achieve several impressions for the same people on multiple platforms, leading to an amplification of their message. But more importantly, they are also able to measure which platform worked the best for that message.

Outside of the benefits of the marketing impact that comes from a unified message, it also introduces efficiencies into the business. The person who is in charge of marketing only needs to craft one message at any given time, not several. Over time, the message will likely change as different promotions are introduced or as the business learns about the response from a particular campaign. Additionally, the media platforms used to communicate various messages will also change based on what is learned from the results of previous campaigns. In all cases, businesses do less work, are better able to track their performance  and will have a greater reach and impact as a result of unifying their message.

Coming from several years of business administration, I know how hard it is to take the 30,000 foot view, especially when you have to serve clients, pay bills, track financial performance and everything else you must to do to keep a business afloat, but don’t underestimate the importance of taking this view. No matter what is going on, take the time to understand and plan. Save time and measure the performance of marketing campaigns better by tying together what you say on your website, on the radio, in email and in the community. My experience tells me that your efforts will pay off.

If you’re interested in learning more about the marketing strategy model that we use at Proximo Marketing Strategies, please contact us here. If you would like more information about the Meet-Up at the Technology and Business Incubator, contact Bill Bean at webean@wm.edu or 757-221-7825.

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