Are you and your customers singing the same song?

Music lessons to improve your messaging

Pearl Jam to Rage Against the Machine, then to Enya and – wait – is that Harry Belafonte? The transition was jarring to say the least.

I was listening to a team-compiled Spotify playlist with everyone’s submitted “pump it up” songs—those go-to tracks when you require a boost of productivity, some creative spark, or just an aural version of screaming into your pillow.

I quickly discovered just how vast the divide is between the songs that rev me up and what scratches that itch for everyone else in the office.

But that’s okay…The playlist is a sonic illustration of the diverse personalities we have on board, and it provides a perfect reminder of how every business must uncover the metaphorical earworm with the power to sooth the savage beast for your customers.

And trust me, don’t give them Enya if they need some Eddie Vedder.

Play the right notes to ease the pain

Your customer likely has both business problems and business “pain points.” Your job – and the responsibility of your marketing – is to decipher which is which and address the latter head-on.

Business problems are those areas they’d like to fine-tune but that don’t have a major impact on the day-to-day. Pain points, on the other hand, are issues that keep the CEO up at night, those festering splinters that can cause a larger infection if not addressed.

Dan Tyre elaborates on this kind of pain for HubSpot:

“True business pain isn’t a problem where the solution is a nice-to-have. It’s a budgeted, pull-your-hair-out, have-to-get-it-solved, discussed-at-the-board-level kind of problem. Business pain points affect a company’s bottom line and must be solved in order for them to grow and function successfully.”

Once you identify those pain points, it’s time to create marketing messages customized just for them. That takes time and effort, but it pays off. But how do you do that?

Use the right language

Lizzo and Jason Isbell: Both communicate with their words and music, but everyone can agree the language is quite different. Think about how your customers “speak” through their personality traits, their wants and needs, their values. Are they looking for insightful poetry or something more instinctual? Make sure your message is speaking in that same tongue.

Mix emotion and logic

Remember the last mix tape you created? You spent hours poring over song choice and order, curating the perfect track list that communicated your exact message. The songs brought the emotion, sure, but they had to be the right songs, in the right spot, to carry the listener on the journey from start to finish.

Your marketing message is more than just what you’re communicating; it’s also how you say it. Humans may think logically and with our brains, but we often make decisions from the heart, based in emotional response. Be sure your message is playing to both sides appropriately.

Make it about them

Bob Dylan’s biographical anthem, “Hurricane,” is a brilliant piece of protest, but unless you also happen to be a champion boxer who was falsely imprisoned, it’s hard to put yourself into the song. But “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”? We’ve all had that relationship. We don’t need to know the backstory of that song – the tale of the woman who done Bob wrong – to feel that tune in our soul.

Celinne Da Costa writes in Forbes why it’s so important to “make the audience the hero”:

“Your audience’s primary concern is not how impressive you are. It is how you can make their life better, and your story serves as the evidence that you have the expertise to do that for them. When crafting your message, remember that you are not the hero: your audience is.”

Unfortunately, it happens all too often: Companies become so enamored with their own product or service that they spend all their time talking about themselves—how good their tech is, how innovative their idea is, how smart they all are. Unless your customer can clearly (and quickly) envision how they fit into your solution, they’ll keep looking somewhere else.

As a business owner, remember why you got into the business in the first place. It likely wasn’t because of the shiny product or service but rather to fill a need—to add value for your customer and to somehow make their lives easier. When you keep that in focus, your messaging priority will adjust accordingly.

Tunes for every taste

In a world increasingly defined by niches, it’s important to define not only who your customer is but how your message should be created to break through the noise. There’s still plenty of room for broad, mass messaging, of course – I still love me some FM radio even with Pandora and Spotify – but when your customers are actively making a request for that one specific song, you better have it on deck.

That way, when you find each other, you can make beautiful music together.

Matt Smithmier is VP of Content for Crux KC, Kansas City’s first “un-agency.” Got a favorite tune that kick-starts your day? Let us know on LinkedIn, Facebook or on Twitter @FindYourCrux.

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Author: Matt Smithmier

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