Marketing 101: Developing a Core Message

When it comes to communicating to consumers, your core message is the one thing that has the ability to set you apart from your competitors. On a business landscape that is filled with businesses whose products and services are similar, the business that is best able to communicate how it is different from the other players in the marketplace will position itself for continued growth in a sector where every business is not able to succeed. The method through which a business communicates its differences is through its core message. A business’s core message allows it to quickly communicate what separates it from its peers and competitors.

The process for developing a core message begins with the belief that the market values the difference. If the market does not value the difference the marketing campaign and core message will fall upon deaf ears. There are three aspects from which a business can separate itself: product, service, or market niche.


When it comes to the core message, a business must remember that its customers always know best. Gathering information from them will help you uncover what it is about your business, industry, and competition from the people you value most. Finding out why they hired you and what separated you from your competitors is good information to know. You should also find out some perceptions they have of your industry and ways you can bring value to them.


It should be noted that your competition can also clue you in on some very valuable information. What are they offering that you have ignored? Are there some obvious differences between you and them? In your competitors you will be able to see buying patterns that may be different from yours. Their client base may be more mature than yours and therefore more consistent. They may have departed from their focus on one thing in order to fully invest themselves in something else. All that information is valuable for you in crafting your message to consumers.


When you begin to craft your core message take time to discover what you really sell. There is a perception in the minds of consumers of what they expect to get in their purchases. This perception has value. The core message is not for your clients. The message is based on information that is valuable to you. It is the basis for all your marketing and consumer service activity. It also will help you filter every marketing decision that you make. The primary motivating factor for some businesses is competition or beating an enemy. A great way to press the envelope is to identify and focus on beating something or someone or creating and communicating a reason for being that trumps competition.


When it comes to your message, that one sentence that conveys so much to potential customers a variant of the talking logo could be employed. The talking logo is a communications technique used to market a very specific point to consumers. Imagine someone asking you what you did for a living. Most of us would answer that question based on a title or short job description. When it comes to your customers, that information is useless. What they want to know is what you do to bring value to someone else. Your core message should communicate the latter not the former.


A core message can be broken down into two parts or steps. The first step is the message itself. It is typically one sentence long and no more than ten words or so. It is quick and to the point. At the same time, its power is evident and it grabs the attention of whoever hears it. A core message could be something as simple as: I equip men and women to live life to the fullest. The core message has three sections to it. They are the action verb which stages the message, the target market, and then the how-to at the end. Take a look at this core message: I teach entrepreneurs to manage their business better. For companies, their core message could be: We partner with small businesses to make their businesses grow.


Now upon hearing any of those core messages the potential customer is going to be unable to simply walk away. The goal is to get them to ask how you fulfill your message. That opens the door for part or step two in the core message process and that is a short to the point answer that conveys how you do what you just said. For the life coach who was the first message above he may have said: By creating practical tools and hosting motivational events I am able to give people the nuts and bolts needed to build the life they always dreamed.


The core message has tremendous potential if used properly. What has happened is small business owners have been so consumed with running or maintaining their business they have been unable to focus on value-driven actions such as developing a core message. By taking the time and putting the work in to craft a core message that hits home to your consumers you will have an easier time converting them because they will buy-in based on your core message alone.


Your strategy for growing your business will be based largely on your ability to communicate what you do that separates you from every Tom, Dick, and Harry business operating today. Your core message is a quick, simple way of telling consumers not only are you different but if that you do business with their success in mind. And that message will always be heard.