Messaging might sound like one of those marketing concepts that isn’t as weighty or important as say branding. But the truth is that messaging is the cornerstone of a sound marketing strategy: understanding the competition in the marketplace, your audiences, the goal behind your message and how this all relates back to a measurable return on investment.
Understanding Levels of Market Sophistication
If you’re a student of direct response pioneer Eugene Schwartz, you’ll recall his concept from Breakthrough Advertising, the five levels of market sophistication. The idea behind market sophistication is simple: a market’s level of sophistication is directly proportional to the amount of competition at a given moment in time.
When it comes to your telehealth offering, are you a pioneer in uncharted territory – or are you competing for a share of voice in an already crowded space?
Understanding the level of awareness your patient prospects possess will give you the foundation for what type of messaging strategy will be appropriate.
For example, in a saturated market like telehealth apps, your messaging strategy would not have to do the heavy lifting of educating your audience on the fundamentals of what apps do. Yours is the task of differentiation and defining your relevance and positioning amongst the competition.
On the other hand, if you’re developing a new med-tech device that is a one-of-a-kind offering, your first milestone will be getting the word out by educating prospective patients on the existence and purpose of your product and additionally qualifying its relevance.
Conducting Audience Segmentation
Hand-in-hand with market sophistication, it’s imperative that you define your audiences before you put marketing dollars behind a message. And if you don’t know which audiences will resonate best with your telehealth service, this is a great opportunity to begin testing and segmenting based on your results – whether it’s based on location, age, gender or online behavior.
The goal of testing segments, defining and refining is straightforward – put the right message in front of the right person at the right time. This will boost the performance of your KPIs and ultimately save you money by directing your advertising at better-qualified traffic.
Defining Messaging Goals & Marketing Channels
Before you launch any campaign, define your goals. Are you aiming for the top of your marketing funnel – creating that first touch with new prospective patients by exposing them to content? Are you retargeting audiences who’ve already seen your ads? Craft your messaging with the goal in mind based on funnel stage.
Millennial and Gen-Z audiences consume information in fundamentally different ways than their Baby Boomer elders. So if your target audience is an older population segment, Instagram Stories, SnapChat or TikTok might not be a great fit – but Facebook and YouTube might be a home run. And if your target audience is specialty audiences like doctors, there are ways of targeting them as well through niche platforms like Doximity and other specialty vendors.
Bringing it Together
By now, you should have an idea of:
- The current level of market sophistication
- How you could segment your audience
- Your messaging goal
- Which marketing channels will be most relevant
With these keys in hand, you can work with your marketing team on a messaging campaign to address the market through a specific audience with a particular goal in mind using the most relevant marketing channels.
Messaging doesn’t have to be complicated, but that doesn’t make it easy. So often, marketers rely on the spaghetti test – throw everything against the wall, see what sticks and then assume they’ve cracked the code.
It makes sense – in the struggle to fly, we try and flap our arms harder and faster, never realizing that our “wings” weren’t engineered for flight. Leveraging direct response principles doesn’t mean you need hard-line “sales-y” messages – it means you need to get scientific about your approach to creating and testing messages.
Don’t just flap your wings and leave the outcome to chance.
If you’re working through a messaging strategy and need help with any of these strategies that work to build a strong, effective plan, let me know where you’re at in the process. And as always, if you need help, let’s talk and see if it makes sense for us to collaborate!