How do you get your audience to pay attention to your brand in a sea of competitors? This is one of the most important questions a marketing team can ask. But it’s also one of the most difficult to answer. There are plenty of strategies and tools available to provide answers to this question, but you have to know how to use them to get the best data and results. Today, we’re looking at two similar marketing strategies: value messaging vs value positioning and exploring what they can do to help you better convince your audience of your brand’s benefits:
Value messaging is the actual words, phrases, or slogans you use to convince your audience that your product, service, or brand solves any of their pain points or problems. Your messages are what the audience reads, hears, or sees when they engage with your content on various channels. For example, insurance company GEICO puts its value message right in its slogan: “Fifteen minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.” The value message combines your brand’s unique selling proposition (USP) and its positioning to reach your audience in a way that appeals to and resonates with them.
Value positioning is a group of marketing statements that share the value proposition with unique audience segments. While your value proposition doesn’t change—because it’s the main selling point or points of your brand, product, or service—the positioning varies based on which audience segment you’re targeting. The value positioning statement always aligns with a specific audience segment’s challenges, needs, or wants. This marketing statement helps you make your leads and existing customers understand why your product, service, or brand is the right choice for their individual needs.
Value messaging and value positioning actually work together, along with a value proposition, to sway the purchasing decisions of your audience, by individual segment. Creating the value proposition typically comes first. In this step, you determine what makes your brand unique and how those standout features or benefits affect your audience. From your value proposition, you can create value positioning statements. In this step, you determine which elements of your value propositions resonate with each of your target audience segments.
For example, a clothing brand may find that its value proposition is using organic, locally sourced materials to create all of its products. But the way they position the unique features varies by audience. For its environmentally conscious leads, the brand puts positioning emphasis on the organic elements of its products. An audience segment that loves to shop small and support local businesses may care most about the locally sourced side of the value proposition. Value messaging ties both explanations together in slogans, content, and other marketing materials.
Continuing with our clothing brand example, the company may create value messaging through content. The content team could develop videos visiting local farms where it sources materials to give the audience a behind-the-scenes look at the buying and development process. For the organic positioning, the team may develop interactive infographics for its website, comparing organic clothing benefits to the downsides of synthetic clothing. All three elements work together to bring the audience a finished piece of content and convince them your brand is the best choice for their wants or needs.
Image via Unsplash by @jdent
Though value messaging and value positioning sound similar, the only thing they really have in common is pushing targeted value propositions at specific audience segments. Messaging and positioning are two distinct elements that work together to achieve the same goal. In most marketing or strategy campaigns, positioning often gets lumped into messaging rather than acting as its own step in the value development process.
But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, or it’s the same thing as messaging. In fact, once you see the differences between value messaging vs value positioning, you might never see them as the same step in the process again.
Here are some of the key differences between value messaging vs value positioning:
Value positioning is part of your content strategy. It has two main purposes:
But value positioning doesn’t show up in your content itself. It just guides the decisions you make when developing content. Messaging, in contrast, is your content marketing. It’s stories, slogans, and calls to action to get your audience to do whatever it is you want them to do next. With value messages, you share the main points of your value proposition with the audience segments you defined during positioning.
Value positioning only matters to your internal teams. Marketing, strategy, and sales departments care a lot about your market standing and your audience segments. But outside of those groups, the data doesn’t particularly matter. On the other hand, you write value messages for your external audience segments. When developing messages, you’re using the data you collected and conclusions you drew during value positioning to think like your audience. What do they want to know about your brand? What’s going to matter to them?
Finding your positioning always comes before writing your messages. If you don’t know your value position, you won’t know who to craft the messages for or what they want to hear. Determining the positioning for a product or service often happens before its launch or after an update or rebrand. It lays the foundation for all other marketing campaigns and strategies you plan.
After you’ve identified the positioning, then you can develop your messaging. Developing the messages is an ongoing process. They appear in all your content, from website copy to social media posts and videos. The more content you develop, the more you may tweak your messages to better align with your audience segments and the way they consume content on each channel.
Because positioning is more of a strategy activity than messaging, the final product is easier to fit into a nice, neat formula. If you’re stuck trying to decide just what your positioning is for any product or service, consider filling in the blanks of this template:
You can take your positioning statement further by adding a comparative element that addresses your competition. Consider a second sentence in the template like:
A completed value positioning statement may look something like this:
Value messaging doesn’t fit into neat little boxes as positioning can. They’re personalized to the audience segments based on demographics, psychographics, and content channels. Each message should be unique and focus on how to convince the audience that your brand solves their problems.
Learning exactly what catches your audience’s eye and pulls them closer to your brand is not only one of the most crucial elements of marketing, but it’s also one of the biggest head-scratchers. Analyzing your current value messages, positioning, and content marketing materials gives you more insight into what works and what doesn’t. Check out our latest eBook, How To Analyze Your Content and Craft a Winning Strategy for 2023, to get the fast track to the insider secrets of content strategy.
Learn everything you need to know about kick-starting your next content campaign from our Director of Content Analysis, Jeremy Rivera. Then, schedule your first no-obligation strategy session with our team to discover how a partnership with CopyPress takes marketing stress off of your internal team and replaces it with high-quality results and more peace of mind.
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