Marketing Message: How to Appeal to Your Audience

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Marketing Plan" by William Luther. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you have a product that you’re proud of? How should you use a marketing message to sell that product to a certain audience?

A marketing message conveys the benefits of your product to your target audience. William M. Luther gives great advice on how to deliver your marketing message effectively in The Marketing Plan.

Continue reading to find out how to create and deliver your marketing message.

Target and Reinforce Your Marketing Message

For each of your products and services, Luther argues that your marketing message should focus on the unique benefits that you’re offering in a way that appeals to your target market. This requires engaging in demographic and psychographic research to figure out what your potential customers’ interests and priorities are. Aligning your message in this way ensures two things: that your target audience will pay attention to your marketing message, and that they’ll immediately understand why your offer is superior to others in the market.

Once you’ve defined your marketing message, you should target the media that your potential customers engage with the most often. You should also ensure that all of your marketing materials reinforce the same benefits. According to Luther, reinforcing your message this way guarantees that customers will automatically associate your product or service with the fulfillment of their needs—thus forgetting your competitors.

(Shortform note: While reinforcing your marketing message will make it more memorable, one drawback is that you’ll find it difficult to reposition or reframe the benefits—something you’ll need to do if you intend to introduce your offer into different markets.)

Advice on Appealing to Your Target Market

Marketing experts expand on Luther’s advice to target your marketing message with a more in-depth explanation of what influences consumer decisions. They identify four influential factors to help you better understand and appeal to your target market.

  • Individual factors: This includes a person’s occupation, age, economic status, lifestyle, personality, and preferences. 
  • Psychological factors: This includes their drive to meet a certain emotional need, such as comfort, how susceptible they are to external influence, how skilled and knowledgeable they are, their attitudes and beliefs, and their prior experience with similar products and services. 
  • Social factors: This includes what their culture, social class, religion, family, or the type of people they want to associate with think about the products and services in question. 
  • Cognitive factors: This includes how willing they are to expose themselves to new and relevant information. 

Once you understand what influences your potential customers, the next step is to craft a marketing message that provokes a feeling of need. The authors of Positioning suggest that you can achieve this by over-simplifying the value you intend to offer so that your customers can immediately understand the benefits they’ll receive. For example, if you sell stylish office wear, focus on a simple benefit your customers get from buying your designs—such as colleagues complimenting them, perceiving them as capable, and automatically respecting them more.

Finally, management experts suggest tracking, collecting, and integrating data—such as demographic, psychographic, or clickstream—about potential customers and the circumstances in which they make purchases of similar products and services. This will help you test how effective your marketing message is and will narrow down what media to target.

Marketing Message: How to Appeal to Your Audience

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of William Luther's "The Marketing Plan" at Shortform .

Here's what you'll find in our full The Marketing Plan summary :

  • How to build a team and motivate them to work together
  • How to hire the right people—and keep them
  • How to share and reinforce your vision

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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