Welcome to Marketing Smarter #2 – the second in my series on the Messaging Platform. This describes the elements of the Messaging Platform – the document that drives your marketing efforts. My essential messaging platform includes a small, simple handful of elements:

Research Elements (the parts I dig up)

Current Situation
Includes information on the state of your market, current marketing efforts, trends, and your competition. I sometimes use a simple SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) to draw this information out of clients.

Product Pros & Cons
An honest appraisal of your product from the market’s standpoint. Where does it succeed? Where does it fail to your competition? Are you gaining ground or losing it?

Business Goals
A critical, yet often-overlooked element. Your business goals drive your marketing – so why would anyone not include them in a messaging platform? I have no idea…

Creative Elements (the parts I write)

Product Benefits
These are the key product or service benefits – derived from client interviews and market research. Those who play in multiple markets could have multiple “key” benefits.

Marketing Theme
These are the themes that will underly your marketing messaging. Stylish, yet functional, these themes encapsulate your key benefits, but allow some creative wiggle room.

The words at the root of all your marketing. Everything springs from this; taglines, campaign themes, headlines, Web copy, PR boilerplate…

Want to see how it works?

We’ll use Chris Raine – who hand -crafts bamboo fly rods – as an example. Because Chris’ bamboo fly rods are hollowbuilt – an unusual style of building that offers some performance benefits – his key product differentiator was also his key benefit: his rods outperform other bamboo fly rods.

His Marketing Theme was: My high-performance bamboo fly rods outperform others.

How did this translate to his marketing? You can see it played out on his Dunsmuir Rod Company Web site.