So you’ve decided you're ready to build a messaging and positioning framework (MPF) - let’s help you get started.
As we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, an MPF is a document that describes your product or service’s unique value propositions and differentiators, as well as the tone and positioning your marketing will take. It even defines specific wording you’ll use in your content, and features of your product or service most important to promote. Without it, your customer-facing business materials can lack alignment and focus which will diminish even the most robust marketing strategy. We’re here to help. In seven steps, you can build an effective MPF that will set your business up for success.
Here are the seven steps to building an MPF:
Review materials you already have
Hear what people say already
Draft your document
Step away from it and come back later
Review with your team
Edit, review, edit, review
Get it approved
Step 1: Review your existing materials
First, do research within your own company. Look at marketing collateral you find on existing websites, it might include product or service information, data sheets, explainer videos, or even support articles. Research your customer testimonials, ebooks, support notes, and case studies to determine what your clients value and what pain points they’re experiencing. It can also be helpful to reach out to leadership for a better understanding of where the company is headed in the future. Don’t forget about external research. Look up how-to articles, read examples, see what competitors are doing. With the internet at our disposal, there are a plethora of options for external research when getting started - take advantage of it in order to get familiar with the outside perspective.
Step 2: Notice words people are already using
The research doesn’t end in step one; to build an effective messaging and positioning framework you need to be constantly searching for inspiration around you. When talking to leadership and co-workers, pay attention to the words they use to describe the brand. Are there some common words or phrases you are noticing? If so, jot that down - you could be onto something. An MPF isn’t a one person show, it’s important to listen to what others think about the brand and where it’s headed. That way, you can build an MPF that resonates with the entire company and more easily get their full support when it’s time to get approval.
Step 3: Write it down
Now that you’ve collected your research and inspiration, it’s time to start writing. Everyone’s writing process is different, but I recommend letting all of your thoughts out first -- whether they’re full sentences or not. Getting those ideas on paper will ensure you don’t forget them. Additionally, it will serve as a great starting point when organizing the structure of the MPF. While the structure of an MPF may vary, it will typically begin at the top of the funnel with high level messaging. Start with an internal background for company use that will help set up the stage such as market landscape and customer needs. Next, develop brand language, brand messaging, value propositioning, and key features that pertain to your audience -- all of which will be used externally. As you go further into the document, the messaging will narrow down as you begin to develop individual brand messaging for each target persona.
Step 4: Step away and come back later
Your MPF isn’t going to be perfect in your first draft. That’s why I always recommend stepping away from it so you can get a fresh perspective once you come back to it. Don’t get stuck on the minor details - just focus on getting your main points across. There will be plenty of time for peer review to hash out the specifics as drafting carries on.
Step 5: Review with your team
Once you’ve got a solid first draft, it’s time to share with your team for review. Ideally, you’ll want to select cross-functional team members who are senior enough to make the final approval list when the time comes. When you share your first draft, make sure to set expectations for feedback and let everyone know this is a safe space to exchange ideas or suggestions. This may take time, but remember this step is crucial if you want to make an MPF that your team will love.
Step 6: Edit, review, edit, review
As you’re editing, keep the goal of the MPF in mind and make sure any edits are in alignment with that goal. The editing process may feel like the longest step, but be patient. Continue with revisions until everyone on the key stakeholder team is confident about the finished product.
Step 7: Get it approved
Approval lists will look different by organization, but you’ll want to make sure your most invested members of leadership sign off on the final MPF. Getting executive buy-in can be daunting, but there are ways to make the process efficient for both parties. By including a pre-read that establishes the point of the document, its intended use, its many benefits, and expected shelf life - you can make sure everything they need to know is front and center. I also recommend adding a section in the pre-read that clarifies by signing off on this copy, it’s approved to be copied and pasted and used as written in customer-facing marketing materials.
There you have it - you are ready to begin writing your messaging and positioning framework.
If you’d like to tackle building an MPF for your company and need a hand, we’d love to help. Let’s Chat.
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