What is the role of Messaging and Positioning in a Communications Strategy
Ensuring your communications development process covers both these critcal and foundational elements.
B2B product marketers have to think about both positioning and messaging when developing marketing content, training sales and working with influencer groups. Your messaging and positioning needs to be developed with these uses in mind and has to
be effective when used both in conversation and in written communications.
The terms messaging and positioning are quite often used together and at times interchangeably, but if you think about
them in this manner and don’t make sure to account for both of these elements in your communications strategy you will decrease your effectiveness.
Here's what each means:
There is often a debate about what positioning is, and what it is not. (see Your not special (yet) post) but for the purpose of drawing a contrast we'll go with the following:
- Positioning defines how you want your audience think about your service, while
- Messaging is a set of specific statements crafted to establish and reinforce your positioning.
Think of positioning as your “big idea”— what you’d say if you had just 15 seconds.
Positioning can and should be about your key benefits but — since it’s often the case in many market situations where we need to steal share to grow — it’s also about how you are different and better than your key competitors. So positioning often begins with an “unlike” negative statement against which to contrast your product's benefits.
At the same time your messaging needs to address the questions “what does your product do, and why should I care” in enough detail to develop an ongoing dialog with the prospect throughout they buying cycle -from getting their attention until you gain their commitment to your offering.
Developing Messaging and Positioning - Similar but different
So, while a lot of the same inputs are required when developing both of these communications elements there are key areas where they diverge. Some product offerings address different market segments and while the product may be used in the same way it may be delivering completely different value. Where this is the case you may have more than one positioning statement, with each statement designed to align to that buyer segment’s unique needs.
Similarly, messaging is often built in a matrix of audiences and key points as well. And since many purchasing decisions involve multiple stakeholders and influences it’s vitally important to develop messaging that best speaks to the intended audience.
But it requires discipline and process
Following a disciplined development process will ensure that your messaging and positioning support each other properly and work to resonate with prospects and set you apart from the completion.
Sounds easy but there’s a lot more to it. You need a way to evaluate your positioning strategy and much more. For additional guidance download these guides