Categorized | Down to Business, Marketing

Are you talking to me?

Creating effective and meaningful sales messages to help gain strategic partnerships

By Jeffrey Spear

Experience tells us the most-effective marketing strategies are those that generate an emotional response and appeal directly to the senses. Whether you satisfy a need, eliminate a problem, grant a wish, or offer a reward, understanding your audience and telling him or her exactly what they want to hear in a way that evokes a positive emotional reaction can be extremely powerful, compelling, and persuasive.

The approach described above answers that all-important question, “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM). When your pitch is developed in response to a fully identified audience, anticipates their needs, and tells them exactly what your product or service will do for them, the likelihood of meaningful outcomes increases significantly.

Don’t state the obvious

How many times has a business been asked, “What is it that makes your product/service special?” only to provide the answer that the primary attribute is “quality.” If you think about it, any producer of a product who cannot make this simplest of claims is in real trouble.

The next attribute of effective sales messages is to avoid making statements that evoke the response, “I should hope so!” When you make generic claims such as top quality, reliable service and/or on-time delivery, they can all be answered with “I should hope so!”

If your goal is to improve perceptions of credibility, desirability, and value and offset competitive challenges, your key messages need to do more than state the obvious.

Get creative

Keep in mind that these sales statements are not tag lines. While tag lines will also resonate with customers and enhance brand impact, their job is to create visibility, memorability, and cut through.

When developing sales messages, and asking buyers to choose your product over all others, you have to say more than “Just do it.” (Nike), “I’m lovin’ it.” (McDonald’s) or “Open happiness.” (CocaCola).

Arguably, the most important attribute associated with effective sales statements is appealing to the senses—creating positive emotional links between brand and buyer. Matter-of-fact statements such as “low sodium,” “ready to eat,” or “all natural,” while important features, fail to generate any sort of meaningful or lasting response.

On the other hand, statements such as “Hard working. Easy drinking.” (Full Throttle energy drink); “Soup that eats like a meal.” (Campbell’s Chunky soup); and “A wickedly delicious relish.” (Wickles pickle products) are all examples of just how emotionally charged brand messages can be.

Tailor your message

Before you upgrade and launch a new marketing campaign, make sure your messages are tailored, engaging, appropriate, and relevant. If you’ve answered the question, “What’s in it for me?” in a meaningful, creative, and emotionally appealing manner, success is right around the corner.

Jeffrey Spear is president of Studio Spear, a leading national marketing consultancy whose sole objective is to effectively position your company, your brand, your products, and your services way ahead of the rest. He can be reached at 866-787-8761,, or through

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