Enticing plot, captivating characters, and spellbinding world-building are all examples of what may come to mind when thinking about what we love most in a good television show. These elements are carefully crafted by screenwriters in the writer’s room who meet and brainstorm how to deliver the most engaging story. B2B marketers could learn a thing or two from these writers, especially when it comes to building and enabling effective messaging. The messaging process is complex, strategic, and intentional — just like screenwriting. While we will not dive into how to craft the next hit TV series, here are three ideas to help you develop effective messaging that’s a hit with your audience.
1) Focus On Buying Groups First, Then Address Individual Buyers
TV shows often follow multiple storylines. There is the A storyline (the main plot) and the B (and sometimes C) storyline, which make up the mini plots that characters experience individually. This A and B storyline structure does a fantastic job moving the plot forward while keeping viewers invested in the characters and their journeys.
Just like the writers create various plot points that connect and make for an entertaining viewing experience, we as marketers must start the message development process by focusing on our own A storyline: the buying group. Understanding who makes up the buying group and their needs is vital to messaging because it lays the foundation for the story we are trying to tell.
Our recent research shows that B2B buying processes have become increasingly more complex, as buying groups expand and become more important to engage. Only after portfolio marketers understand which roles make up the buying group and the business problem the group is trying to solve can they shift focus to their B and C storylines: individual buyers and their specific needs.
2) Move Beyond The Value Proposition
Think of the value proposition like an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is great for capturing the subject matter in a quick and high-level manner, but it doesn’t dive into any nuances and complexities.
For example, an elevator pitch for the show “Friends” might be “If you think your friends are funny, wait until you get a load of this cast of characters! Watch this group of friends navigate love, relationships, and life in NYC.” Like this pitch, the value proposition should inform and be engaging enough to encourage a buyer to learn more.
Effective messaging takes it one step further, however, as it utilizes the value proposition as the connective tissue between all the messages. Elevator pitches and value propositions have utility, but they aren’t the end-all and be-all. Use the value proposition as a centering mechanism that orients the organization around the messaging and fundamentally sets the tone and scene for it. The value proposition should engage the buyer and draw them into the buying process, but it doesn’t provide enough information to move them all the way through to a purchase decision.
3) Enable Across The Organization
Screenwriters may be the backbone of a TV show, but it takes a village to turn the script into the production it should be. When the script is complete is when the work truly begins. For example, actors need the script, the camera people need directions, the lighting crew needs to know where to place lights and the tone they’re trying to set, etc.
In a portfolio marketer’s case, the work doesn’t stop when the messaging is built. It’s essential to enable the people who are responsible for key buyer interactions across the organization as part of the messaging development process. Everyone — whether they be in sales, customer success, etc. — is involved in the storytelling process. And to do so effectively, each team needs to know which part of the story they are responsible for telling and how they should tell it. Only then can we consider the messaging development process complete (for now).
Creating messaging that attracts and engages buyers is critical to a portfolio marketer’s success. Compelling messaging moves buyers forward and encourages them to act. If you’re interested in learning more about our approach to creating comprehensive and enthralling messaging, check out the Forrester report, The Messaging Nautilus®: Buyer’s Journey. If you’re not a current client, learn more about the Forrester Decisions for Portfolio Marketing service here.