Strategy & Marketing

Why A Great Message Isn’t Enough

Most communicators think that having a great message is 90% of the battle. Especially when I talk to people in the non-profit, advocacy, or religious media worlds, they often focus entirely on the message. Their thinking is that if the message is powerful and compelling, it will find the audience. But nothing could be further from the truth. Having a great message is important, but what the advertising world knows that others don’t is that you have to build pathways to your audience. Business leaders understand the concept as building pathways to your customer.

The fact is, having a compelling message matters, but in today’s media-driven, distracted, competitive culture, it’s getting more and more difficult for your audience to find you.

Advertisers know they have to find their audience. That’s why they’re always looking for more effective media tools, from online video to kiosks inside stores to better media buys, or direct mail.  Sometimes it’s about putting their message in the most unusual places.

Start thinking about better pathways to your customer, consumer, donor, or audience. Always be on the alert to tweak those avenues to reach your audience more effectively. Find experts who can help, and listen to their advice.

Make sure your message is right, but that’s only the beginning. Because no matter how life-changing your message may be, if no one’s listening, you’ve failed.

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  1. Being successful in any endeavor that involves customers, clients, donors, etc. requires that you first understand your market.  Then, you must craft a message that will resonate with that market.  And finally the message must be carried to the market through the proper media.  Market-Message-Media, and pretty much in that order.

    In Field of Dreams Kevin Costner was encouraged by the disembodied voice, “If you build it, he will come…”  That might work in the movies or in the land of nirvana, but not too often in the real world.  You do have to build it, but then you have to find your audience.  If it’s something truly remarkable, then word-of-mouth will be a valuable medium.  Media fragmentation (mass media losing its mass) has increased the number and types of bridges needed to “find” the audience. 

    From traditional advertising and media to social networks and Twitter the field(s) of communication now are more complicated and difficult than ever.  But, therein lies the opportunity, eh?

  2. You are so right – to make it simple, even the Amish have commerical now. 

    Jesus had a message and He went to His audience. In your words He made a path.

    Thank you for your writings.     


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