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GO TO MARKET MESSAGING To grab the attention of potential buyers your message needs to be striking, relevant and engaging―otherwise it will get lost in the clutter and noise of everyday life. Consider this: A study by market research firm Yankelovich estimates that a person living in a city 30 years ago saw up to 2,000 advertising messages a day. They estimate the number today to be 5,000. Hard to comprehend isn’t it? Multiple and

Going to market with an

In talking with a technology company

undifferentiated message, or one

about their go-to-market messaging,

that is so generic that it could easily

I asked: "What makes you unique and

describe the service of your

how do you communicate that to the

competitors, is a recipe for getting

market?" Their response: “We’re the

relegated to the marketing margins.

number one provider of data storage

Yet, many companies continue to

services in the greater Los Angeles

pump out messages that immediately

region.” To me that sounds more like

blur to the background. Ask yourself:

a goal, or a mission statement at best.

possibly random marketing messages

How much of the information you

It’s certainly not a compelling message

blasted at your prospects every minute

receive through email, internet, radio

that differentiates them from the

or TV do you actually remember? I’d

crowd. Think of those receiving this

guess on a good day two to three

message, the buyers. Just what does it

messages from that pot of over 5,000

mean to them if you are number one?

―and on a bad day, none. Most of the stuff we receive is immediately trashed!

Better service, lower prices, a higher value engagement? It’s not clear.

they are awake. That’s a horrendous amount information and general nonsense you need to break through in order to get heard.

If your go-to-market message doesn’t show how you solve a business challenge or address a pressing issue, no matter how grand it sounds, it will probably go unnoticed. 1

It’s what keeps your buyers awake at night that really counts Each day, your target buyers face a

Digging into the subjective and the

host of business issues―large and

emotional need not be hard―but those

small, urgent and mundane, problems

in your marketing team are not the best

that need immediate attention and

people to do this. Generally, they are

twenty years. She now works

things that can be placed on the back

too far removed from the everyday problems that your buyers face.

for a huge internet services

To get to the blood-and-guts issues that

would immediately recognize.

keep buyers awake at night you need to

Every working day she deals

talk with the team in the trenches―the

with issues that deeply impact

burner. Task prioritizing takes place in the prospect’s work-a-day-world, of which you get glimpses but can only guess at importance and relevance.

A friend of mine has worked in customer service functions for

company whose name you

To get the attention of your buyer

folks in customer service, your service

you need to understand their most

and support team, and the people who

pressing issues; the problems that

implement your company’s solutions.

the challenges customers face

impact them most. To achieve this you

They are the ones who see buyers at

surpasses almost all in her

must distinguish between the

their most raw. An email written at

company. Yet, in twenty years

objective business issue (the things

4AM, the heated conversation, or the

that happen at work) and the person’s

voice mail left in a moment of extreme

response to these issues (how the

frustration―that’s the material for

issues impact the buyer). If the

messaging. Yet I’ve worked for a number

marketing department met

problem is pressing enough to deeply

of large organizations where the

with her to learn about the real

impact your target buyers, so much so

marketing department didn’t even know

issues faced by the people who

that it keeps them awake at night,

the location of the customer service

chances are you’ll gain their attention

department―where you can find the

if you offer a relevant solution. They’ll

real-life, tell-it-as-it-is material that

customer. That’s a mine of

hear your message and they will remember it.

could launch a thousand successful marketing campaigns!

incredible marketing material

customers. Her experience of

of service and support roles, not once has anyone from the

keep them in business―the

completely wasted.

Many companies miss this point. When creating sound-bites or building content they often focus on the observable, surface business issues and not the impact these issues have on their target buyers―and as a result they remain a step or two away from creating a stellar go-to-market message. Producing content or engaging in a dialogue that recognizes subjective pain points will resonate more powerfully with your buyers than a message aimed at a general business issue. Espresso B2B Marketing


Below is a chart that shows the difference between objective business issues and subjective responses to those issues. Ask yourself―are the messages you send to market aimed at the subjective or the objective realities of business life?



It takes too long to gather all the information needed to produce monthly reports.

I am personally responsible for delivering monthly reports to the Board of Directors. No matter how hard I try, I cannot get it done with the tools and people available. This is driving me crazy.

Our IT costs are constantly rising and service levels are not meeting expectations.

As CIO, I have to provide an agreed level of service to my end users and our customers. That’s not possible when so much of my budget is tied up in keeping the system running.

As Marketing Director, I am responsible for generating leads for the sales force.

If I can’t generate more leads, the company will miss its sales target and people may lose their jobs―myself included. I need to find a way to improve the return we get on marketing investment – and soon.

We’re behind on getting the documents in place for the upcoming merger.

As head of the legal team I’m responsible for finding ways of making my team more productive. We’ve got a backlog of contracts that need reviewing and even if we work 7 days a week, we’re not going to get this done in time.

Organizing the pain points Once you’ve tapped into the personal and pressing pain points of your prospects, start organizing these vignettes of business life into a form that can be used to create a marketing message. Here’s one way of doing this―the sales frame. It’s a standard way of breaking down customer pain points and building tools for both the sales and marketing teams.

Here’s how it works: • Position is your target buyer. This needs to be a specific position within an organization―the CIO, CFO or Head of Sales for example. • Critical Issue is the subjective response to a business issue that we spoke of earlier. • Cause is the reason for the critical issue, or the objective business issue. • Impact refers to how this business issue affects others both inside and outside of the organization. • Vision is what it will take to solve the problem.

Building a sales frame for each of your target buyers will help create a targeted message. The message needs to be personalized and appropriate―as if tailored to the individual. It needs to separate you from the crowd, showing buyers that you can solve their specific critical issues. Espresso B2B Marketing


Saying that you solve critical issues is

Your office location, or locations, may

I recently worked with a company

not enough―you have to convince

put you in a unique position to better

that sells servers and storage in the

the buyer that you do it in a way that’s

serve clients. Years of experience, the

Canadian market. We went through

unique and differentiated. For this you

number of certified experts and the

the process of identifying buyers’ key

need to look deep into your own

geographies that you cover are all

pain points, and used the company's

organization and seek out the assets and resources that differentiate you.

assets that can be configured to build a value proposition that is unique.

assets to build a value proposition. In

In the diagram below are the typical

Most companies I work with use a

corporate assets used to bring a

combination of assets to arrive at a

product or solution to market. There’s

unique value proposition―each asset

your internal team, company specific

used as a building block to create a

business processes, intellectual

complete and unmatched articulation

property rights and the finished

of value. What differentiates you need

products and services you sell.

not be big; it just needs to be relevant

You have a list of existing clients

to your target buyers in their quest to solve business challenges and issues.

and their testimonials that may differentiate you as a provider of top quality services.

the process, we discovered that they were one of only a few that could assemble and stress test solutions in a formal lab environment prior to implementing them at a customer’s site. We also discovered that their labtested solutions failed less than those of the competition. We found the unique differentiator. This became the core of the go-to-market message. Since their customers are mainly hospitals and banks, a well tested and reliable solution is essential. Building a hardware infrastructure in a lab

Think about the messages you currently take to market. Are they

environment and running exhaustive

about you and how well your company performs, the old “we’re

stress tests prior to delivery is a key differentiator.

the number one provider of ….” variety, or do they focus on ways that you uniquely resolve clients’ pressing pain points?

Using your articulation of value to gain the attention of potential buyers is just the first step of the journey. To move them forward you’ll need a series of messages that resonate at each and every step of this journey. Buyers' challenges and issues are not static. They evolve and change as you move through the buying cycle. The questions buyers have of a potential vendor will morph and modify through the process of learning about potential solutions and educating themselves as they move toward a buying decision.

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The changing conversation through the buyer’s journey As mentioned, the pain points and the

Without the advantage of the face-to-

I’ve seen some organizations launch a

buyers' responses to the pain points

face sales engagement you have to

marketing program with a well thought

are the foundation of your value

rely on electronic content to progress

out message, but not update their

proposition and your value proposition

and advance the sales opportunity.

website to reflect that message. Or

the core of your messaging. A

Each touch point with the buyer

they’ll publish blogs that do not tie into

compelling message will get the buyers'

needs to be architected in a way to

the current marketing campaign. This

attention and encourage them to

move the buying process forward.

engage with you. But, while a single

No longer can you simply hurl a white

leads to confusion and sometimes a contradiction of messages.

message will grab your audience’s

paper or a reference story at every opportunity that raises its head!

Your buyer will most likely be

You need to share different types of

sources not just the email you send or

In recent years, buyers spend more

information at different stages of the

the white paper you write. The

time on the internet researching

buying process. The content you

following diagram illustrates this. A

products and services, and less time

share needs to be appropriate and in

consistent value proposition must be

face-to-face with a sales person.

step with the stage in the buying

presented through whatever channel

Marketing analysts, CSO Insights,

process, and at each stage you need

found that buyers progress through as

to be imparting the same core value proposition.

you take to market. To do otherwise would simply confuse the buyer.

attention, it’s a dialogue that will move them toward a sales win.

much as 80% of the buying cycle

evaluating you through multiple

without contacting a sales person. The bulk of the decision making process takes place before a sales person gets the opportunity for a face-to-face conversation.

Today, the power lunch and the in-person PowerPoint presentation has been replaced by websites, blog publications, social media discussions, white papers and ebooks as the main form of communication during the early stages of the sales cycle.

Espresso B2B Marketing


Think about the purchasing process in a

These are:

Matching the information you share with

complex B2B environment. The buyer

• Loosening the status quo

the stage in the journey is at the heart of

goes through a number of stages:

• Committing to change

lead nurturing. Giving the right information

acceptance of a problem, agreement to

• Exploring solutions

at the right time will establish you in a

explore solutions, examination of

• Committing to solutions

various solutions, assessment of one or

• Justifying the decision

thought leadership position and in a strong position to win the business.

two solutions in detail, proof of concept,

• Making the selection

and finally a selection. Each stage in the buyer’s journey requires a different type of message.

To simplify things, Espresso B2B

At each step of the journey, the

recommends a simple four-step

buyer is faced with a new set of

journey―as seen in the diagram below.

questions and a new set of issues.

Each stage of the journey is represented by a distinct content “milestone”.

SiriusDecisions, a marketing research

The content you use and the

and services provider, identifies six stages in the buyer’s journey.

messages you send need to reflect the changing interests of the buyer.



• Acknowledge problem

• Probe pain points and identify business need

• Explore Solutions

• Create vision with educational content

• Selection

• Solution definition

• Finalizing the decision

• Value proposition and ROI

Espresso B2B Marketing


Mapping the journey Imagine the buyer’s journey as a

For the buyer’s journey to be successful

digital conversation you might have

your electronic conversation needs two

with a potential customer. Walk

components―the conversation

through that conversation considering

(content shared) and provocation to

the types of questions the buyer might

move the buyer to take the next step

ask at each leg of the journey. This will

(the call to action). We’ve found it

help you develop the right content for the right step in that journey.

extremely helpful to map the whole journey out in a draft mode before

building the content map and the journey provocation points. A tool that I’ve found effective is borrowed from the movie industry ―the cinematographer’s story board. Sketching out the whole journey ahead of time is a great way to build a digital conversation with the buyer.

More information on this can be found in one of our recent blogs:

Espresso B2B Marketing


A final few words With widespread use of the internet,

Seeking sellers who provide thought

today’s buyer has access to an

leadership and guidance, buyers will

immense amount of information. In

reward them with their business.

fact, it’s an overwhelming amount of

Thought leadership, a unique value

information―think back to those

proposition linked to buyer’s

5,000 marketing messages that bombard them every day.

challenges and issues will prevail.

Sifting through this mass of information, your prospective buyers

According to one source, thought leaders win the business more than 70% of the time. It does pay off!

are looking to be informed and educated. They are looking for solutions to the problems they wrestle with in the day, and that keep them awake at night. They care little about chest-slapping claims to fame by vendors, or the speed and feeds about your products; instead they look at the value of your solution.

About Espresso B2B Marketing Going to market with an undifferentiated message will invariably produce mediocre returns. Espresso B2B Marketing works with clients throughout the complete lead-to-win cycle enabling organizations to create a unique value proposition that separates them from the crowd. As a result of working with us, organizations ranging from small businesses to global corporations have improved marketing ROI, increased revenue and improved sales win rates. To learn more visit us at: or download our e-book: Seven Steps to Marketing Success

Stages in the Buyers Journey (our thanks go to Ardath Albee author of eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale for help with the buying stages.)

Espresso B2B Marketing


Go to Market Messaging  

To grab the attention of potential buyers your message needs to be striking, relevant and engaging―otherwise it will get lost in the clutter...

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