What’s In A Message?

Advertising and marketing are tricky businesses.  Specifically in terms of creating an appropriate message, the decisions that go into a well crafted piece of text are practically endless.  Who is my audience?  What do they like?  Who might be offended by this?  Who might we be alienating?  What is the purpose of this message in the first place?

Ultimately, the best message is one that delivers on what it was designed to do.  Whether it is designed to increase sales or spark interest in the community, a well tailored message has the potential of being the best piece of marketing any organization can utilize.

The question of course, is; what goes into an effective message?

As alluded to previously, the answer to this question is rooted in a number of different questions.  Based on the direction, purpose, and design of a marketing campaign an effective message can take many forms.  Still, there are a few pieces of information that can generally be considered universal.

1)      Brevity

Studies have shown that the more a consumer has to read of a message, the higher the likelihood that he/she will lose interest and move on.  As interesting as it may be, the longer a message is the greater the risk will be for dismissal.  The ideal message will provide as much information as is necessary, but not everything.  Leave the consumer hanging just a little, in hopes that he/she will be intrigued enough to engage further.

2)      Bigger is not necessarily better

Though many signs in this world would have you believe that the more exclamations points and uppercase lettering you have the better, that is not necessarily the case.  Consumers are becoming smarter, and as a result are less likely to fall victim to this type of marketing.  Ironically, the purpose of these tactics is to stand out from the crowd, yet when every business does it – who is really standing out?  Try a calmer, more straight forward approach and you may experience a better result.

3)      Audience

One of the first lessons in Advertising 101 is that you can’t make everyone happy.  There will never exist a message that is completely accepted by all viewers, all the time.  As a marketer or business owner, is it your job to find the best message for the largest or most important audience(s).  Dropping a particular sub-set of your audience may be a regrettable loss, but still in the best interest for business.  Consider your options before placing any publicly displayed message to make sure that it portrays what you want it to, to the people you want.  Additionally, consider what it will mean to others, and if there are any potentially dangerous side effects.