July 25, 2022

A Simple Guide to Getting Your Message-Market-Fit

Author Profile Picture
Marvin Tekautschitz
Partner @ Demandbay

Your message-market-fit depends on how well your messaging resonates with your customers. In an ideal situation, the main message of your brand will be instantly appealing to a customer and get them interested in your product. Therefore, getting your marketing message right will get you to the next step more easily - product-market fit. You can’t have one without the other. 

venn digram showing the intersection between market, message and product

Product, message, market - they are all connected. Making sure that customers like your product is crucial to a business succeeding. However, how you talk about the product is equally important. Let’s see what exactly can a market message do for you and how to achieve it.

Why is message-market-fit Important 

Your company’s message is more important than ever. No matter what industry you are in, there is competition. What sets you apart is how you talk about what you sell. Here are several things your message-market-fit will do to help you sell your product/service:

  • Talk directly to your specific audience and attract the right people for your product
  • Engage your potential customer, make them interested in the product so much that they want to know more
  • Make your marketing efforts more effective

Your main goal is to create demand for your product. But you can’t do that by just focusing on product features. You need to tell a story that customers can identify with. The story that clicks with your customers will convince them. Let's look at how a market message should look like.

Elements of a Good message-market-fit

The winning combination for a good market-message fit is a message that contains the following:

  1. Value for the customer - What problem are you solving?
  2. Unique value - What sets your solution apart from the other ones?
  3. Point of view - What are your values? 

When answered in the right way, these three points will speak to your customers. As you can see, there’s a word that keeps repeating - value. It’s not the features of your product. It’s not a description of how it works. But the value it brings to your customer. According to Harvard Business Review survey, 64% of customers list shared values as a reason they develop a relationship with a brand. So use that. Show them you understand. You need to switch from feature-speak to benefit-speak.

Bonus tip:

Keep your message short and easy to understand. Focus on just one or two concepts and don’t overexplain. Make sure that the value is clearly conveyed. Stay original!

Deconstructing Real-Life Examples

Learning through examples is a lot easier. Let’s analyze what these companies convey with their messages. The first group of examples contains auto repair shops messaging. 

Example 1 - Be specific

Banner advertisement example for an unspecific claim

Source: https://www.autotechservicedc.com/

This message contains value for the customer - auto repair. Customers know what they get. But is there a unique value presented without buzz words? Just saying your business should be trusted is not enough for a customer to actually trust you. This message could be enhanced by actually explicitly stating why this company is “the choice for auto repair” by pointing out (for example) speedy service, cost, number of serviced vehicles so far etc.

Example 2 - Messaging is not your ‘about us’ 

Banner advertisement example for "not your about us"

Source: https://www.donsservicecenter.com/

This company doesn’t have their messaging stated clearly on their website. The first message you see talks about their experience and values. Although experience is important for a car shop, and we all appreciate a tradition of family businesses, their customers don’t know what they will get. The message should talk to your customer and explain solutions for them. You should express how exactly you will meet their needs. Save talking about your company for an ‘About us’ page.  

Example 3: Less is better

Banner advertisement example for an overly long claim

Source: https://www.honest1alexandria.com/

This company has a very indicative name, containing the word ‘honest’. We expect their messaging to reflect their values in a way that draws customers in. However, they haven’t managed to relay that in a short and concise way to their customers. They describe what they stand for on their website - quick service, trustworthy experts, complete dedication to customers' problems, affordability, accuracy and simplicity of the process. To create a message-market-fit, they should create several one-liners and test it with their potential customers to see exactly which one of these solutions is most important to them.

Example 4: Implicitly stating value can work

Banner advertisement example for implicitly stating value

Source: ​​https://www.tichiautomotive.ca/

This message is a perfect example of implicitly stated unique value. ‘One-stop shop’ means that customers can get everything done for their vehicle at this place. They will save their time. The entire experience will be hassle free - no driving to multiple places to get their auto repair needs met. ‘All makes and models’ just reinforces the idea that everyone is welcome and no matter what, you can find a solution for your vehicle here.

Example 5: Nailed it!

Banner advertisement example for a good mechanics claim

Source: ​​https://wrench.com

Finally, this message reflects everything a perfect message-market-fit needs to be. ‘Mechanics’ indicates the value for the customer, but ‘mobile mechanics’ indicates unique value. Not only are their customers getting their vehicles fixed, they are getting the service at their doors. Additionally, this company doesn’t just state the benefit clearly. They tie this benefit to a feeling, an experience for their customer - ‘peace of mind’. They never have to worry about being late for work when their car doesn’t start in the morning. Remember, feelings sell. If you manage to convey a unique experience for your customer, they will always choose you. 

The next set of examples refers to products, more specifically - office furniture. Let’s look at how these companies are getting their customers to choose them and not their competitors. 

Example 6: Sometimes all customers look at is 1 sentence

Banner advertisement example for an unclear claim

Source: https://bluespaceinteriors.com/

Messaging of this company is very motivating. They evoke inspirational feelings to make customers excited about their new investment. You can notice right away that you don’t exactly know what they are talking about. Company’s name is indicative, but if you’re just looking at this message, you’re not aware they’re talking about office furniture. Although this message fits perfectly with content on their website, when forming your message, try to look at it independently from other content on your website. This will ensure that your messaging is clear even when taken out of context. 

Example 7: Don’t forget your unique selling point

Banner advertisement example for an undifferentiated claim

Source: ​​https://traderboys.com/

Beyond the basic value for the customer, we don’t see much. Many stores carry office furniture and they can make it or customize it. This company is focusing more on themselves, instead of what they can do for their customers’ specific needs. This market message is missing their unique selling point.  

Example 8 and 9: Products are boring, experiences are fun

Banner advertisement example for product-centric claims

Source: https://deskdepot.net/

Second banner advertisement example for a product-centric claim

Source: humanscale

Focusing on products you offer is simply not enough to attract customers. These companies list out their products, but there’s nothing that talks to their audience. Yes, their customers need office furniture, but this is a very wide problem they solve. To get a better message-market-fit, make your offer more specific. Talk to customers' needs on a personal, emotional level.

Example 10: You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, simple works

Banner advertisement example for a clear and simple claim

Source: https://officechairsolutions.com/

Here’s a simple yet effective message. They are speaking to customers in need of an office chair, but on a budget. Their customers aren’t looking for premium, luxury furniture. They want to get an affordable solution. This message resonates with them.

Example 11: Nailed it again!

Another banner example for a specific and clear claim

Source: https://www.branchfurniture.com/

The unique value this company offers is ‘affordable office furniture which doesn’t look like that’. They cater to customers who enjoy beautiful spaces and productivity that arises from them. Their message is: get our office furniture and you’ll enjoy it so much that your experience working will become better - and do it for a fraction of the price! Mix of benefits and experiences is what makes this message-market-fit work.

How to Get Your message-market-fit

Knowing what a message-market-fit should look like is one thing. But getting your own for your brand is something entirely different. However, in just 5 steps, you can nail down your perfect messaging. 

Get to Know Your Customer

65% of marketers research their audience rarely or never. Don’t fall into this percentage! This is where it all starts. In order to attract a customer that needs your product, you need to know who you’re talking to. There are several things you need to learn. 

First is basic demographics - this will determine your message tone and voice, as well as the register and style you use. Then, understand your customer needs and pain points. You will show how you cater to their needs in your message. 

Finally, find out where you can find your customers. Where do they hang out, what do they read, and which channels you can use to get to them? This will help you learn where you need to place your message to reach them.

How to learn about your audience? There are many ways to learn about your customers. One of the fastest ways to get the data you need is to conduct a survey. You can do so among current customers and your audience, or reach new people via your friends, associates, social media, or with the help from companies who distribute surveys. 

Put Together a Message

Knowing what you do about your audience, it’s time to work on a message. Don’t worry, you may not get it right away (you probably won’t). But writing is a marathon, not a sprint. Focus on your value, unique value and point of view, and keep the needs of your audience in mind at all times.

Testing

Once you have a message that you think will work, you need to confirm that. You’re looking for answers to these questions: 

  • What benefits are customers most interested in?
  • What part of our message resonates the most with them?
  • How do they feel when they first read the message?
  • Do they think we understand their challenges?

There are several ways to test your marketing message. The easiest, but probably the most unreliable way is to put the message in front of your friends, family, acquaintances and staff (who haven't participated in message creation). This can be a good start. You’re looking for people engaging with you and asking to know more about your offer. These conversations should bring you referrals. 

A successful message-market-fit will get people talking about your offer to others. On the other hand, if they just give supportive comments and you don’t get them buzzed for your offer, you may want to work further on it.

A better, more reliable way is conducting A/B testing. You can present one message to one half of potential customers, and a different one to the other. Over time, you’ll see what works better. 

You can also use a testing tool on your website to get more precise data. There are free tools to use, but be prepared for a learning curve. Finally, you can also opt for surveys. Tools like Google Marketing Platform can help, but prepare a budget for this testing type.

Make Versions of Your Message

With the new insights, make several versions of your message. Depending on the answers you get during testing, you will change up different parts of your message. Maybe you need to make it shorter, emphasize the benefits, narrow it down, etc.

Final test

Now that you have multiple versions, it’s time to test again. You’re close to getting your message-market-fit, you just need to nail what works the best.

Key Takeaway

Remember, a message that resonates does all the convincing. Don’t just focus on product-market fit. Walk a mile in your customers’ shoes to really understand them. Then get a pen and paper and describe how your solution will help them.

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