Avoid One-Size-Fits-All Messaging

“All-purpose ads serve all purposes poorly,” columnist Bob Donath once wrote in Marketing News.

The columnist cited a technology company marketing director who produced a slick new ad campaign designed to increase inquiries and Web site traffic. The ads — with identical headlines and copy — were placed in three different trade publications.

As you might guess, the campaign didn’t increase response.

“In competitive markets, wishy-washy or generalized claims fade into the background as well-targeted messages capture attention, spark a desire to learn more about a product, and put a brand atop the buyer’s preference list,” Donath advised.

Products and services often appeal to multiple audiences — but for different reasons. To increase response, the messaging must fit the audience. Otherwise pretty ads and marketing materialsare, well, pretty useless.

For example, purchasing agents want price and performance; design engineers focus on features and reliability; and
distributors care about inventory turns and profits.

And if budget is an issue — and it often is — craft messaging for highest-priority audiences. Unless you’re marketing something as universal as milk, avoid one-size-fits-all messaging at all costs.


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