Messaging and mushy peas

baby food on the floor

At times, trying to get your message to market can feel like trying to get your 14-month-old to eat his supper. You take great care to prepare something that the audience will love and often go the extra mile to prepare it just the way you think they’ll like it. Or, in my case, to ensure he gets the proper amounts of protein, calcium and vitamins that he needs. But the truth is, if you don’t take into account HOW they’d like to get the message (or the vitamin C) chances are, they won’t.

Here are a few tips for ensuring your hard work and important message don’t get thrown out with the dinner scraps.

Identify HOW your audience prefers to receive information. What good is that protein-packed salmon and bean casserole going to do if you can’t get your child to take the first bite? Take time to learn your customers’ preferences. Do they prefer e-communication? Would a direct mail piece that they can put their hands on be more impactful? Perhaps an easy-to-use online calculator that serves up useful money-saving information about your product is best. It’s not just about giving the audience what you want them to have, but doing it in a way that gives your message the very best chance of being received.

Segment your audience, as needed. Remember that every audience member is not the same. In other words, one casserole doesn’t fit all. Once you know how different audience members prefer to receive your message, develop a method for reaching each of them. Which leads me to…

Tailor the message. Working to combine multiple messages, hoping that something (anything?) will resonate with the recipient requires more time, effort and money. And after all that, it can often end up confusing and frustrating the customer. That’s exactly what happened to me this morning as I offered (unsuccessfully) seven — yes seven — different breakfast items to my son. All were wonderful, delicious and nutritious. But by the end of breakfast he was unhappy and ready to RUN out of the highchair. Be sure the right message doesn’t get lost among the others.

The bottom line is if you give your audience something they don’t want, they’re going to swat it away like a spoonful of peas. It’s that simple.

Effective messaging is about putting the right tools to work for the right audience members. Remember to be targeted in your approach, and you’ll decrease your chances of ending up with crumbs and mushed up banana all over the floor.

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