1. 10 Steps to Help You Construct Your Message
Review your customer list and identify the ones who really represent the type of customer you
want to build your business around.
Select at least five customers you believe will meet with you and be blunt about your services.
Take each out for coffee or lunch. Ask them what they value most about your service, what
specific problems you solve and what problems they have experienced with previous contractors.
Look for the common threads. Find the pains they can’t stand and appear willing to pay a
premium price to get rid of those pains.
Identify your target’s most emotional problem—the bull’s eye you’re trying to hit. Discuss it
with your team.
When it’s time to choose which problem to place your bets on, it’s your call. This is your
business, and it’s your money. Go with your gut feeling even if it disagrees with everyone else in
Lock your team up in the conference room and start brainstorming about catchy marketing
messages. If you are going to use a marketing consultant, include him or her in this meeting.
Now’s the time for your consultant to earn his or her fees.
Think of the benefits of removing your customer’s common pain (i.e., what your customer gains
when you remove the pain).
Look through the yellow pages and search the Internet is a great place to start). Look at the
wording used by other companies who perform your trade. Jot down any that apply to the
problem you’re addressing.
Create a list of headlines that may invoke interest and intrigue—headlines that grab people’s
attention. Everything falls out of the headline. Your marketing consultant better be able to come
up with several headlines and catch phrases.
Have Fun with the Message
Here’s a tip that I’ve always found helpful: Have fun! For example, when I was coming up with
a name for my website, I purposely started goofing around with crazy names until I hit on.
Hardly anybody forgets it once they’ve heard it. I never would have thought of it if I hadn’t
purposely gotten a little stupid.
So, let your hair down—no holds barred. Throw out a bunch of zany ideas, then sort through
them. Come up with three or four you think might work and test them.
2. To give you an inkling of the importance of testing, marketing experts will be the first to tell you
that the right headline will improve prospect response by a factor of ten! In other words, if one
out of 100 is responding to your present headline and you tweak it just right, ten out of 100 will
start responding. That means the return on your advertising investment is suddenly ten times
Here are a couple of insider secrets you should keep in mind as you work on your advertising
You know your customers better than your advertising consultant knows them.
Look beyond the quality of work. Focus your interviews on your customer’s building experience.
Once you’ve got a handful of candidate messages: test, test, test.
Advertising agencies want you to believe the key to advertising success is creativity—fat chance.
The key to advertising success is methodically figuring out what your customers’ top priority is
and constructing a message that triggers an emotional response to pick up the phone and call
Let’s look at an example and take on one of the most difficult businesses to differentiate:
Assume you are a commercial general
- See more at: http://www.constructionbusinessowner.com/topics/marketing/construction-
3. Message Construction
Some imptactics to constructa message forAd
Come up with a catchy, snappy tagline. Keep it short and sweet; the average product needs no
more than six or seven words. If you say it out loud and it sounds like a mouthful, edit it down.
Whatever it is, it should grab the consumer's attention and convince him or her that your product
is different from everyone else’s. Consider using:
Rhyme – “Do you Yahoo?”
Humor – “Dirty mouth? Clean it with Orbit chewing gum!”
A play on words – “Every kiss begins with ‘Kay’”
Creative imagery – Yellow Pages: “Let your fingers do the walking”
Metaphor – “Red Bull gives you wings”
Alliteration – “Intel Inside”
A personal pledge – Motel 6: “We leave the light on for you”
Dry understatement – Carlsberg beer has a big sign in downtown Copenhagen that reads,
“Probably the best beer in town”.
Avoid the same old. The key to a good advertisement is being memorable. The second your ad
borrows a familiar advertising phrase (for example, “new and improved,” “guaranteed,” or “free
gift” — is there any other kind?), it becomes interchangeable with thousands of others. What’s
more, listeners are so used to ad clichés that they don’t even hear them anymore. (Just listen to
Tom Waits’s Step Right Up to hear how meaningless clichés sound when strung together.)
Startling the reader into paying attention is especially useful if you have a lot to say. For
example, this long, environmentally-oriented announcement wouldn’t turn many heads if
it weren’t for the unusual, confrontational tagline; if the reader wants to get the joke, she
or he has to read more.
Know how to walk the line between controversial and entertaining. Pushing the limits of
good taste to help your ad grab attention is common practice, but don't go too far — you
want your product to be recognized on its own merits, not because it was tied to a
Use a persuasive technique. There are tried and true methods that advertisers rely on to make
their ads stick. These include:
Common sense:Challenging the consumer to think of a good reason why not to purchase
a product or service.
Humor: Making the consumer laugh, thereby making yourself more likeable and
memorable. This pairs especially well with refreshing honesty. Not the most successful
business in your class? Advertise that your lines are shorter.
Repetition: Getting your product to stick by repeating key elements. Jingles are the most
obvious way to do this, but unless they’re very good, they’re also the most annoying. If
you go this route, brainstorm a more creative, less obvious repetition technique such as
4. the one that was used in the Budweiser frog commercials (“bud-weis-er-bud-weis-er-bud-
Exigency: Convincing the consumer that time is of the essence. Limited-time only offers,
fire sales, and the like are the commonest ways to do this, but again, avoid meaningless
phrases that will slip under your customers’ radar.
Know the customer. Even the cleverest ad won’t work if it doesn't appeal to the target audience.
Are you looking for a certain age group? Do you want people with a set income level? Or maybe
you're looking for a population with a special interest? Whatever it is, try to get a clear picture of
who your dream consumer is and why he or she would be interested in what you're advertising.
Keep your target consumer in mind when you're developing the tone and look of your ad.
Remember: it needs to appeal to your audience as much as possible and avoid offending
or talking down to them. Kids tend to be over-stimulated, meaning you will need to grab
their attention on multiple levels (color, sound, imagery). Young adults appreciate humor
and tend to respond to trendiness and peer influence. Adults will be more discerning and
respond to quality, sophisticated humor, and value.
Find a way to connect the desires of consumers to what you're advertising. Think of it this
way: the ad should be a bridge between what your dream consumer wants or needs and your
Brainstorm about what your consumer would want, as well as some of the suggestions
below. Don't edit your ideas immediately, just write them down — you'll have plenty of
time to pick over them later.
Ask yourself if your product or event is aspirational. Are you selling something that
people would buy in order to feel better about their social or economic status? For
instance, you might be selling tickets to a benefit gala that is designed to feel elegant and
luxurious, even if the ticket price is well below what most wealthy people would be able
to pay. If you are selling an aspirational product, try to make your advertisement exude
an air of indulgence.
Determine whether or not your product is for practical means. If you're selling something
like a vacuum cleaner, designed to perform common tasks or make life easier for the
consumer, spin it in a different direction. Instead of emphasizing luxury, focus on how
the product or event will provide relaxation and peace of mind to your consumer.
Focus on the most appealing aspect of your product. Why should it entice people? What
sets it apart from other similar products? What do you like best about it? These can all be
good starting points for an advertisement.
Is there an unmet desire or need, any frustration in the mind of your consumer, that will
create a market for your particular product? Assess the need gap that exists for the
product or service
Try to make sure your advertisementwill age well. You don'twant people lookingbackatyour ad in10
yearsand beingshockedatitscontent.For goodexamplesof how commonsocial tropescanlook
terrible inolderads,searchforcigarette or dietpill adsfromthe 1950s and '60s.
5. Make sure all the relevantinformationis included. If yourconsumerneedstoknow yourlocation,
phone number,orwebsite (orall three) inordertohave accessto your product,provide this
informationsomewhere inthe ad.If you're advertisinganevent,include the location,date,timeand
Decide where and when to advertise. If you're advertisingforanevent,startpromotingitat least6 to 8
weeksbeforehandif it'sgoingtoaccommodate more than100 people;if it'slessthan that,start
advertising3to 4 weeksahead.If you're advertisingaproduct,thinkaboutthe time of yearwhen
people are more aptto buy whatyou're selling.Forinstance,if you're promotingavacuumcleaner,it
mightsell betterinthe spring,whenpeople are undertakingspringcleaning.