Three Steps to Generating Value Messaging That Will Resonate
By Lisa Benson
March 21, 2022
You may be asking: What is value messaging, and why should I care? Simply stated, the right value-focused message can move you closer to making a sale. When we talk about messaging in this context, we mean what you communicate to your customers and prospects about your business, products, and services with the goal of creating a sale. The messaging could be verbal or written, online or offline. Your message plays a significant role in converting prospects to customers.
When you talk to prospects or generate content aimed at them, are you talking only about capabilities such as printing ability, equipment, customization, or box sizes you offer? Many do. Unfortunately, if you are leading with capabilities or services, your messaging will become part of the pervasive messaging “noise” people are bombarded with daily. This noise is often ignored. This is where value messaging plays a vital role.
Creating dynamic value messaging can help you better connect with your customers. It is about understanding your customers and meeting them where they are with real value that will positively impact their businesses.
Creating impactful value messaging isn’t hard, but it does take effort and time. Below we provide three steps to help you create value messaging that will resonate with your prospects and assist you with converting them to customers.
Know Your Audience
The first step to creating value messaging is to know your audience. This two-pronged step entails gathering knowledge about the targeted person and the industry. This should be done after you have built your target market profile to narrow your focus to the types of accounts best suited for your business.
With regard to the person, you may have heard this referred to as a buyer persona. This isn’t an actual individual but a representative example of the person. You will likely have a different persona for each job title and possibly each industry. This is important because the purchasing manager will have different perspectives and goals than a marketing manager, who will differ from a shipping manager. However, this doesn’t mean you should overwhelm yourself with a dozen personas. Keep it reasonable.
It is also crucial that you understand the industries. A produce distributor will have much different concerns and needs than a luxury brand or a pharmaceutical company.
Answering the following questions can help you better understand your target audience:
- Who is buying your packaging?
- What packaging solutions are they buying, and what is important to the person or required by the industry (e.g., SFI certification, ISTA testing, food-safe materials, tamper resistance)? What motivates them to buy or not buy (e.g., the purchasing manager may get a bonus based on savings, a shipping manager may be tasked with reducing damage and returns, a C-suite executive may be looking to improve the bottom line)?
- Why are they buying your packaging solutions, and equally important, why aren’t they buying them?
- When in the sales journey are they coming to you or investigating packaging?
- Where are they going for information, and what sources do they trust (e.g., blogs, word of mouth, industry organizations)?
- How do they buy (e.g., who is involved in the decisions, what impacts those decisions, what is the process)?
Take the time to answer these questions from the customer’s perspective and not from your perspective, meaning if you are making assumptions, your messaging might be off target. You can gather information by asking your current customers, conducting surveys, attending the events that they attend, etc. Your CRM and your sales team may give you additional insight into some of the questions.
Understand Your Audiences’ Pains and Costs Associated
Understanding your audiences’ pains goes a bit deeper than knowing your audience. It involves defining the pains and understanding the cost and impact on your prospect. These may be different for each audience. This information can be gained in the same manner as in the previous step.
When we talk about pains, we are talking about challenges they are facing, the things that keep them up at night, the things that motivate them to seek a solution. Be sure that you are not looking at your solutions and creating a pain around them. For example, a company has a water-resistant product and then creates messaging around preventing product damage from using the wrong packaging in wet conditions. This company should have data to back up its assumptions. If this isn’t a widespread issue, the company loses an opportunity to address a real pain and risks putting off some prospects by assuming they are using unsuitable cartons. This is a simplified example, but it’s used to demonstrate the importance of knowing your audience.
Sometimes the pain may be an industry pain, like current supply chain constraints. Or the pain may be impacting one persona more than another, such as the impact of price increases on the purchasing manager or the effect of long lead times on a production manager. Again, understanding your audience will help you better pinpoint their pains.
Once you have the pains listed, prioritize them to the extent possible and then determine what these pains are costing your prospects in terms of money and productivity. A basic example is a prospect that needs small runs, but their current supplier requires minimum quantities. What is the cost of this to them? It might include the cost of the extra unused boxes; costs related to storage, maintenance, and disposal; costs associated with holding off or eliminating programs; or revenue loss and damaged product costs from using the wrong packaging to avoid buying a large quantity. One way to get this information is to have your sales team ask prospects, when they speak with them, about their pains, then have your team share the feedback with sales and marketing so messaging can be refined if needed.
Describe How You Alleviate Those Pains
Many companies, across all industries, will say the value they bring in is their people or their quality. It is true; most companies hire good people and have a quality system in place. These are usually a given. The point of understanding your prospect’s pains and the costs of those pains is to offer a solution to address them that brings value and differs from your competition.
Once you have the list of pains, assign examples of how you have solved them with current customers, including the value your solution brought to them. Your solution should provide value in terms of operational efficiency or increased productivity, cost reduction, or an increase in market share or sales growth. With the example above of a prospect needing small quantities and using the wrong box size to make do, by offering them optimized packaging in quantities they can use, there is direct cost-savings as well as potential to reduce costs from damaged products or by eliminating excess packaging.
Putting It All Together to Create Value Messaging That Resonates
The three steps above will have provided you with the information you need to create your value messaging. Remember, prospects will be asking, “What’s in it for me?” When your prospect sees that they will reduce costs, increase productivity, or see sales retention and growth because you can resolve the pains challenging them, you will more likely convert them to a sale.
Todd M. Zielinski is managing director and CEO at Athena SWC LLC. He can be reached at 716-250-5547 or email@example.com.
Lisa Benson is senior marketing content consultant at Athena SWC LLC. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.