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Key Message Blunders

Part Three: Promoting Features That Do Not Provide Compelling Benefits


3. Promoting Features That Do Not Provide Compelling Benefits

In promoting their company or its products and services, many people choose to present their achievements rather than how they solve their market’s problems. In doing this, they place unimportant distractions where a simple, relevant key message would be more effective at advancing their promotional efforts.

Consider these examples:

  1. Award-winning graphic design on all promotional material of a graphic design agency.
  2. Proud of what we do in the advertisements of an accounting and management-consulting firm.
  3. Laboratory tested on the package of a skin-care product.

The unimportance of such statements is intuitive to anybody but their authors.

For instance, a prospective client for the renewal of a website might respond to example 1, “How does your having won awards address my needs?”

The same would apply for people who would respond to example 2: “Does your pride somehow lead to me getting a good deal?”

When encountering example 3, one might ask, “Shouldn’t I assume the laboratory testing of any skin-care product before it appears on store shelves?”

The crux of the problem is that many businesses are proud of their accomplishments and lose focus away from clearly communicating how their market can rely on them to provide great value.

Yes, example 3 could offer comforting reassurance to first-time buyers. Still, that would probably not be critical in attracting first-time or repeat buyers in great numbers. The same space on the product label might be better occupied by a key message proven compelling to people who buy skin-care products.

Unless a promoter can present to their market a simple, relevant, compelling promise to satisfy their market’s needs, they should not promote features that do not provide valued benefits.

The awards you’ve won or the professional designations of your key people might provide reassurance after the buying decision has occurred. Yet, for any enterprise to acquire new clients and maintain their loyalty, its key messages ought to focus on uniquely resolving problems that the market faces. Ideally, a company's key messages meaningfully position its products and services as irreplaceable.


- Glenn R. Harrington, Articulate Consultants Inc.


Click for Key Message Blunders 1

Click for Key Message Blunders 2

Click for Key Message Blunders 4

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Click for three reasons why independent businesses need key messages to succeed

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