Videos

Message makeover training

Ready to sharpen your message to grow your business? Whether you are preparing to attend a Message Matrix workshop or trying to do it yourself, here’s a live basic training in doing a message makeover.


WHAT MARKETING QUESTIONS DOES THIS VIDEO ANSWER?
  • Why is creating a clear brand message so hard?
  • How does the Message Matrix structure help?
  • What role should differentiation play in my brand message?
  • …and much more?


TRANSCRIPT
(AI-generated. Please forgive any errors.)
Jeffrey Pease:
Okay, off we go. Well thank you all for coming and thank you for consenting to be the live studio to uh, an occasional shot of you may turn up in a video. Um, let me know if you need to be blurred. I'm hoping you don't. So we are going to talk today about giving your messaging a makeover, specifically about using a system called the message matrix to make your messaging and positioning short and sharp and compelling. And did I mention short? Short is extraordinarily important because it's really hard to do sharp and compelling without it. So what are you going to learn today in exchange for an hour of your precious attention?
Maybe the most precious thing that you have to offer. What are you going to learn? Well first you are going to learn how a message and another word for messages, story turns raw information into meaning. Second, you are going to learn three easy tests to determine how strong your messaging is today from a selling perspective, how much it's helping you reach and connect with your customers. Finally, you're going to learn a structure, a system that I call the message matrix that is kind of a forcing function to help you boil your value down into a set of very simple messages that are easy for everyone to communicate and that will help you connect with whoever your customers are. As a bonus. We're going to talk a little bit about the important topic of differentiation and how to screw it up or conversely, how not to because how differentiated your messaging is is a choice.
It should be a very conscious, deliberate choice that depends on a few factors that we're going to talk about. I'll give you a framework for understanding that, so there are any number of reasons that people might come to a session that's called message makeover. It might be that their positioning was great when they started their business, but maybe your business has grown and changed and you used to do one thing and now you do five things or 12 things and it's become a lot harder to talk about. Or maybe it's just never been a focus. You've been working so hard on developing your product, on hiring the right people on, you know, if you're in tech, the engineering challenges alone are enormous. It just may not have been a focus area for you. Or maybe you're a leader of marketing because a number of you in this room are, and maybe you even know what the short sharp messaging should be for your business. It's just really hard to get everybody else to agree on it because there are so many other voices. There are any number of reasons why somebody might come to a session called message makeover, but the only one that really matters is yours. So if you haven't already, I want you to take a minute and I want you to write yours down. Why are you here

Jeffrey Pease:
So go ahead and do that now. We'll take one minute, two minutes. If you decide you need more time and just answer the question, what are you hoping to get out of today? I'll just give you until most of the pens have stopped moving.
Jeffrey Pease:
Okay. Lookslike most people have got it. So if you would be so kind, I'd ask a few people to share their reasons. And what I'd ask you to do is just give your name, the company you're with, even if it's your own business. And then just tell us what are you hoping to get out of today's session? Just put your hand up if you're willing to share. Otherwise I'm going to start pointing. Yeah. Okay. Please.

Krista:
I'm Krista Ragaini. I Work for Cohn Rehznik, a large accounting firm. And I think for me, I just as like a general broad goal is just to kind of understand your tips and exercises for creating, you know, directing, you know, clear compelling messages. Okay. And simplifying and getting rid of all that fluff. Okay. Terrific. Okay.
Jeffrey Pease:
And are there any special challenges that come up for you? Um, and it's okay if you have once you don't want to share, but that you're willing to share in doing that in your particular company.


Krista:
I think there's a lot of messages and so I'm figuring out which messages have the most importance and how to differentiate to make those messages more important for our audience.


Jeffrey Pease:
Yeah, yeah. Like I used to work in the database and reporting world and we used to refer to this problem as the single sources of the truths problem. Great. Okay. Fantastic. Thank you Krista. Uh, who else is willing to share please.


Meredith:
Hi, I'm Meredith. I work with the marketing manager in Tech Company started up, um, so noticed that our team is really struggling with having an understanding of a clear message when it comes to marketing, whether it's social media or campaigns. And I will have to understand better how to really develop a matrix that will remind our whole team and really have us develop a clean, consistent, clear in nature of what our messages.


Jeffrey Pease:
Okay. Terrific. Thank you. Um, maybe one or two more. One more person. Share. What's your,


Hannah:
Um, I'm Hannah and with Ambra health and in the sales team, there. So a big part of what I do is communincate the value proposition. So that's really my goal is to learn how to better communicate that value.


Jeffrey Pease:
Okay. Okay. Terrific. Well thank you for coming and thanks to all of you, uh, who wrote down your reasons. We'll hope to address all of them and afterwards when we have pizza, if anything is unaddressed or you want additional, you know, input, feel free to come to me and we'll talk.


Jeffrey Pease:
All right. So now that you've told me how you came to be here, I guess I probably am obligated tell you how I came to be here and since most profile and biography slides are like unbelievably boring, uh, I've developed an alternative. This is my career in shoes. So I started out with a bachelor's in psych, but the Birkenstock years actually started before that. I actually dropped out of high school when I was 15 years old. Got into kind of a holistic alternative health stuff that led me into what is now called coaching. But we didn't have a term for coaching outside. If you know football and basketball back at the time that I was growing up, so we didn't call it that, but that's really what it was. And then that led me eventually somehow to wander my way through several colleges and wind up getting a bachelor's in psych at Cornell.


Jeffrey Pease:
Thus ended the Birkenstock years now. The wingtip years started when I got to Cornell and fell in love with the Macintosh computer as a writer. I just loved this simplicity and being able to work with uh, technology in that way. And I decided that I wanted to be a technologist, but it only took about one week in cs 101 to make me realize that wasn't going to happen for me as a programmer. So I saw an alternate path and that alternate path turned out being getting an Mba in marketing, which also wound up being at Cornell. So confidently, I took those wing tips out into the world and um, had, uh, both I.T. And marketing jobs, marketing jobs for technology companies in particular, one called business objects where I was launching an analytics product line for the company for the first time. And I was told the bones of this idea of a message. I don't know if Dave Kellogg called it a message matrix or a message tree. He was the CMO of the company. I thought two things when I saw the bones of this structure. One, wow, this is fantastic. If we could get it this short, sharp tight, it would be so good to have no idea how to do that, you know, I mean, really, honestly, nothing in my Mba marketing education had prepared me for doing that kind of messaging and positioning work. So I just didn't know how to do it. But having spent so much time, um, learning and teaching and facilitating workshops in the Birkenstock years, I determined I was going to figure it out and eventually I determined that I was going to teach it to other people. But as in the rest of my life, this was not a straight path. Uh, after I, um, had some, some gains from the work that I'd done, I took a year and a half off to be a songwriter and I studied with a lady named Bonnie Hayes who wrote most of Bonnie rates of bigger songs like have a heart and love letters.


Jeffrey Pease:
And it was fantastic in the sense that if you really want to get schooled on coupling wild creativity with intense structural discipline, try to write a pop song. The first time I put a song in front of an a and R guy, you know, these guys when they still existed that could actually buy songs for record companies. I just got my ass kicked. And what I realized was you got 10 seconds to gain attention and there are no switching costs on the radio. So somehow that clicked something for me that went with the bones of the message matrix work. And I brought that combination of structure and creativity with me back into when I had to get a real job. The real job turned out to be with Oracle. And they hired me over the guy, the Harvard guy and the Stanford Guy. Better schools by most accounts, better resumes by most accounts. Because of this structure, because the test project they gave me, I took it apart, creating a message matrix, put it back together and showed them the structure. And that actually became my brand at Cornell. Excuse me. At Oracle, I had about five different jobs at Oracle and my first run there and then left having created a thing called the oracle messaging team to teach other marketers how to do this work. When off did consulting for a bunch of other companies, Microsoft, Cisco, some startups, went back to Oracle, uh, left as a VP to be a Cmo, got my ass over to New York to do that. Discovered pretty quickly that I liked just doing this better. So the Cole Haans that I wear today are that strange synthesis of all of the shoes I've worn in my career. And that's what puts me in front of you.


Jeffrey Pease:
That's my brand. That and the dog, mostly the dog. So that's how I come to be here. Now, one of the things I learned, I mentioned that there's no switching cost on the radio or in anywhere really for most people these days. So people's attention is really fragile. We are trying to engage a customer and get their attention and generally speaking, if we're successful, we can do that for a very short period of time and a lot of meaning has to get across in that time. How fragile is that attention? Well, it's easy to overestimate how much attention people have available for us, but we can test it because our customers are human beings and we in this room are human beings. We have the same basic wiring. So let's try testing our own attention for a minute. I'm going to show you a video attention tests. Some of you may have seen it before, so take the test silently so everybody else can do it too. Okay. Are you ready? Here we go.


Video Narrator:
The monkey business illusion.

How many times the players wearing white pass the ball?

the correct answer is 16 passes.

Did you spot the gorilla?

For people who haven't seen or heard about a video like this before. About half miss the gorilla. Yeah. If you knew about the gorilla, you probably saw it, but didn't you notice the curtain changing color or the player on the black team leaving the game? Let's rewind and watch it again. Here comes the gorilla and there goes a player and the curtain is changing from red to gold. What they're looking for a gorilla. You often miss other unexpected events. Yeah, that's the monkey business illusion. Learn more about this illusion and the original corela experiment as the invisible gorilla.com.


Jeffrey Pease:
Okay, so I've got to ask how many people saw the gorilla? Okay, so about 50% just a little over. How many people are willing to admit that they didn't see the gorilla? Okay, and how many people had seen something like this before, but maybe miss some of the other changes are, let me just ask, how many people missed the other changes? Yeah, so almost everybody missed the other changes. Yeah. So what do we take away from this? Well, what we take away from this is that there's what the eye sees, which is a lot or the ear hears what the senses perceived and then there's what we can actually attend to at any given moment, which is a whole lot less, so much less in fact that in the space between those two you can hide an entire gorilla. So the more stuff we put in our messaging, basically the more basketballs we throw, the more likely people are to miss your gorilla. And if you're trying to enroll people at your company who want your elevator pitch to require a really tall building, this is an important thing for them to understand. The more balls you throw, the more you're hiding your gorilla. So that little super feature, the uh, automatic receipts thing that you just added that the CEO is dying to tell the whole world about another ball, another missed gorilla. Okay, you really got to get it down to essentials. So that's what we're about here. We're about getting it down to the essentials. And by the way, is the solution to this problem as of attention a technological one. Is there a technological way to cut through the noise? Well, maybe, but kind of, no, I mean, social media is really important in marketing, but it's also a really great example about how, what used to be a way of cutting through the noise is now the noise.


Jeffrey Pease:
Like how many of you can remember a time when Facebook seemed like a cool, almost quasi-intimate way to keep in touch with your friends? Yeah. Yeah. Uh, that was a while ago. It's really even hard to remember that now. So now we have just a deluge. We have a crap storm of notifications and things pulling at our attention and it just makes the difficulty of securing people's attention for 10 seconds that much worse. So when you do do it, you better use those 10 seconds to really, well. The gorilla experiment was done in the late nineties or early two thousands originally. So no iPhones, you know, the social media, all of the stuff that pulls at us now didn't exist then. And still half of the people missed the gorilla. So if you want people's attention, you really need to hone it down and if the answer isn't something new, like a technology, maybe it's something really old. The one of the oldest things in human communication in fact, and that is a story. A story goes something like once upon a time and then conflict. Then there was a big bad wolf and then they lived happily ever after in the message matrix, we'll focus primarily on the happily ever after peace, even though we still need to probe in any salesperson knows they need to explore people's pain and base their messaging work initially on it, but we'll focus primarily and they happily ever after. Now Mckenzie, the consulting firm has made a huge amount of money by rebranding this as situation complication resolution and they use Chris Black and white graphics instead of Little Red Riding Hood. But it's the same thing. The brothers Grimm was 300 years ahead of these guys and various sales methodologies will have their own terminology for the underlying situation, the conflict and the happily ever after that your product is designed to produce, but it's all the same thing.


Jeffrey Pease:
It all goes back to this basic human need. That goes back to when we were drawing on the walls of caves. Every parent knows this. Tell me a story, Daddy. Tell me a story, mommy. It's one of the first human impulses.

There are a lot of reasons why stories are so powerful. One of them though is they turn raw data. Just stuff features, information into meaning. So a story is greater than data. So let's say that I said to you, Krista, Hey, I'm going to take this handful of pearls. I'm going to roll them out randomly on the floor and look at them. Take as long as you want. Now I am going to say, cover your eyes and point to the location of each one. Would you be able to do that? It's random numbers, right? Um, back in the early days of psychology, there was a researcher who experimented on himself by memorizing increasingly long strings of random meaningless numbers. He got pretty far. But I think he wound up in an asylum because our minds do not like meaningless data. What we do like is meaningful information. So if I were to take these same pearls and put a string through him, half a cent worth of fishing line. All of a sudden magically it's not a bunch of pearls anymore. It's one necklace. It's one meaningful thing. And if I put it on the table or on the ground and said, look at at Crista, close your eyes and pick it up, you'd be able to do it like that. So many becomes one stuff. Data becomes meaning. That's part of the function of a story.


So what's your story? So I'd like you to go back to your worksheet or some of you might've brought it as homework and write just one to three sentences of how you describe your value, how you market your business today. Now if it feels to you like there are multiple ones, especially if they conflict, just jot down a couple because it's important to know that that conflict exists.


So let's just spend a minute or two doing that.


Okay. [inaudible] when I ask people to share the best capture your can of that, I know it's not easy.


Give you just a little more time for the last pens to stop writing.


This is important. So I want to give you the time you need.


Okay. It Looks like most people are finished at this point. Uh, great.


Jeffrey Pease:
So, um, who is willing to share the way they described their value prop today? Would you be willing to give it a shot?


Audience Member:
We are a restaurant company specialize in investing with lobbying and managing restaurant concept and we bring in those concepts from Europe, from Europe, us.


Jeffrey Pease:
Okay. Terrific. Great. Thank you.


Jeffrey Pease:
And someone else go. Preferably someone that hasn't spoken previously.


Audience Member:
I can go. Um, so okay. Is a SAS company that provides precaution spices in recyclable aluminum blister packs to help modern people make food and eat it. We use food science to keep splices molecularly fresher


Jeffrey Pease:
Actually. Damn good. You like it? Yeah, I do. I, you know, there's always sharpening to do. Yeah, it's long. But there, but there's something there that's distinct. Great. Thank you. Okay. Um, who else? One or two more people go.


Jolene:
So we are a cloud based Iot technology company that focuses on asset management and tracking for all sizes of equipment from small tools to heavy equipment to vehicles and fleet.


Jeffrey Pease:
Great. Terrific.

So one more person want to share. Yes, please.


Liz:
We are making Acupuncture more accessible by modernizing the brand, clarifying the language and lowering the cost. But I'm here because I don't know if that's a message to a business person or consumer.


Jeffrey Pease:
Yeah, that's a really good question, right? There's always the question of to who to whom is the message for, um, ideally you have some consistency. Uh, it may need to be tweaked between say an investor and a customer, but you don't want to be a completely different person or a completely different business for those two audiences. So it's best if they tie, uh, and then you can either, you know, sort of nuance or select according to the audience. That's really, that's good. All right.


Jeffrey Pease:
Um, now the next step is to apply some tests to the messaging that you've just written down. So the three tests are these. First is it clear? People can't be compelled by your messaging unless they know what the hell you're talking about. And too much technical jargon, um, too many unfamiliar terms, just too many words can actually put you in the position where people literally do not understand what you're offering. So the first question you want to apply as you look at the messaging you've just written is, is it clear? Would my potential customer understand it? That's the most important test. Would my mom understand it is a bonus, right? Because ideally you would want anybody to understand your business, but there are businesses where necessarily your client is not the person off the street. So is it clear? Would my potential customer understand whether they like it or not? Would they understand exactly what it is that I'm offering? That second test? Is it compelling? Do customers see value in what you're offering?


Jeffrey Pease:
Now if you clear the clarity hurdle and get the compelling Geoffrey Moore who wrote books like crossing the chasm has a great definition of compelling, it goes like this. Compelling means that if you can really, if I believe you can really do for me what you say and I understand what it is, then I would be compelled to act like it solves some pain for me or provides some benefit for me that is so compelling that it would literally be irresponsible for me not to. Now we don't always reach that gold standard of compelling that that is what we're going for is that visceral grab that says, I've got to have this and preferably I've got to have this from you. So that's what we're going for. Now, consistent is a little bit different. Consistent is a blanket term that covers everything from consistency of execution within your own marketing and sales organization. All the way to consistency with your existing brand, with information people get from the press, even office politics, even consistency among the way that different people in your business talk about it. So let me give you a few examples of each. Oops, I jumped ahead. A few examples of each. So first level of consistency is uh, does for example, your website match what your salespeople are saying match. Um, you know, the, uh, the little blurb that occurs at the end of your press releases, does everything that you produce hang together and convey a single consistent message that's hard enough. But it's actually the easiest form of consistency. The second form of consistency is, is it consistent with what people already know about your brand and with information that they're getting from channels you don't control such as the press. So inconsistent brand stuff would be, for example, the new cheap Mercedes or um, the cuddly folks at Oracle, we were known to be a lot of things. I see people that have been around tech or laughing at that one. We had a reputation for a lot of things. Many of them good but nice and cuddly was never really on the list. Right? So if we tried to rebrand as Oracle, the fluffy, cuddly company, people just would not buy it. Now, there are brands that deliberately go against what people already know about their brand, but it takes a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money and you really got to decide that you're up for that challenge and that the prize is worth it. If you win. Very often it's better to just go with and sharpen and clarify the brand equity that you've already built up. There is also one other kind of consistency around channels you don't control. And this is something you just have to be aware of. You don't control it, but you have to accommodate it, which is information people get from other places. So for example, if I said to you, Hey Michelle, you should invest in my Jeffrey Pease hedge funds cause I'll give you a great return and it will be safe. Don't worry about it. And then let's say you see an article in the Wall Street Journal that says, I'm being investigated for securities fraud. I'm not. But just for instance, um, that's very inconsistent information that is not going to inspire confidence. You're likely to feel at risk and you're likely to move on. So if there's information out there about you that you don't control, you need to know what it is and you need to work with it or work very deliberately against it. So consistent covers a lot of stuff.


Jeffrey Pease:
So go ahead and test the story you've just written down. Go ahead and jot down, does it pass that test of being clear of being consistent.

And while you're at it, there is one little exercise above it that you can do very quickly, which is you've written down what you think the value prop description of your business is today. Check a box as to whether you think other people would describe it the same way. Cause that also touches consistency.

all right, and to respect your time, we're not going to share on this one. We're just gonna keep on going. But you know how clear, compelling and consistent you feel you are. So I think probably you've noticed as you've gone through this, as you've written down how you describe your business today and put it to some tests that this isn't easy. What makes it hard and how do we make it not easy but easy or, well, there are a lot of reasons. It's hard. Multiple Voices in the company. Um, you know, crowded markets, all kinds of things. But I'll tell you what, the number one reason that it's difficult to get your message is clear, compelling, consistent, and short is like they used to say in the old spy movies, you'll know too much and it works like this. You know so much about your offering, that the natural tendency is everything goes in and we are all standing at a vantage point where our business in large part is the center of our worlds, certainly the center of our working worlds.


Jeffrey Pease:
So details that we might consider fascinating or especially that, for example, your head, a product might consider fascinating, maybe completely irrelevant to making that first connection and that first sale. But from that constrained view, it's very hard to see that. So the natural tendency is everything goes in and you wind up with an elevator pitch that requires a 100 story building to deliver. It's really, really common. So how do we get out of that? Well, we kind of force it and the forcing function that I use is this structure called the message matrix. And it's designed to take you and boil your value down to very simple messages that cell and in it's more complete form, which goes with you know, oh, whole workshop process, uh, that it also aligns your team and gets them to invest in building and understanding the need for a short sharp message so that when it's however painful it was to come up with, you can all just march on it and execute on it. So we get from this long and dull to this short and sharp.


Jeffrey Pease:
Now the structure is simple and consistent because it has only three pieces. It has a positioning statement, which is literally one sentence that splits into three key messages. And then those are proven by nine proof points. And literally that is it. It has to be it. I've seen much more complicated messaging structures in use. What usually happens with them is one, they never get finished and to the execution becomes very inconsistent. But because they're so long that everybody can see what they want in it, you know, if the peace treaty is one page long, everybody knows what it says. If it's 50 pages long, everybody can interpret it as they will and we don't want that. So this structure here, it is kind of diagrammatically literally fits on one slide. Now, I would never recommend you show a customer a slide like this. When you're done filling it out, it's going to be way too dense. There'll be a hundred words, but those hundred words can drive your entire business. They can drive your sales presentation, they can drive your website, they can, you know, drive a lot of your campaigns and sales execution.


Jeffrey Pease:
How do you, how do you think of this when you're in a large organization with multiple products and multiple solutions? Uh, such a good question. Ideally you do one for the company and then for very large products or divisions, you may end up splitting down and doing sub trees. Also, if you go to market very differently or you have very different customers, you are likely to define that and do a matrix for, for that purpose. For example, um, I was hired by Microsoft to do the positioning for the release of one of their Erp suites. Now I didn't have Bill Gates in the room, I wasn't re messaged or Steve Vollmer, I wasn't remessaging Microsoft, but in a product launch, a version for a company of that size, there are millions at stake. So it was worth it to them to do it literally just to theme that release. Um, more commonly if it's a small company, we'll do a matrix for the company initially. Um, if it is a large enough company that there really are these serious divisions or distinctions, um, sometimes I'm hired to do it for the company and then work down, but there'll be other times where it's literally one area and we're just doing it for that. That's where the appetite is. That's where the need is. That's where the confusion is. Maybe everything else is great. Does that make sense? Yeah. Okay.


Jeffrey Pease:
So if you are able to achieve this, it's really good for marketing because everything kind of hangs together and marketing as those of you that are in that business, no already has enough work to do. So it's not only more effective, it's also more labor efficient.


Jeffrey Pease:
It's also good for sales, and this might seem like a paradox, but it's absolutely not. So sales is paid to connect with and empathize with customers. That means they're looking for that customer's individual pain. That means at some point a degree of exploration and improvisation, but if you want them to sell things you actually make as opposed to sell things and then find out if you can make them. It needs to be based on something. And so if you have the message matrix in place, what happens is that it's like the song melody that a Jazz Combo can improvise from. So they go off in the directions they need to go off, but it's always underpinned. It always starts with the melody. It always ends with the melody and hopefully the sales force will be in a position where they can select the pieces of the message matrix that are of interest to a particular customer, give the customer a map to navigate down instead of just making crap up. So that's why a message matrix is also really good for the sales team.


Jeffrey Pease:
Now what are the pieces, because you guys are gonna go off and try to build one? Well, here are the elements of the message matrix. The first, the hardest, the most important is called the positioning statement. And so what the positioning statement does is it names you're offering. It gives a category which helps the customer navigate, helps them know what you are, and then it makes the claim that claim is either a big benefit of which all other benefits are subsidiary or it's a big differentiating claim that a big differentiator, a big leadership claim that you're then going to support. Now, which of these it's going to be is a little bit down the line when we talk about differentiation. Now once you make this claim, you have to start to support it and you have to give the customer a map through which they can navigate to what they're most interested in. And that's where the key messages come. Yet you are going to have three single sentence key messages. So these are still largish benefit claims or differentiation claims, but they are smaller than and supporting of your one big claim at the top. These, the three legs of the stool. Now why does this have three legs and not four, not five. I'll tell you in a minute, but let me just give you an example. So when I was at Oracle, the first thing I had to message was our advanced procurement product. It was not considered a leader in the market Ariba was a leader in that particular market. So we made a benefit claim rather than a differentiation claim.


Jeffrey Pease:
And we said it drastically reduces all of your supply management costs. Now that is a very big claim and people would be welcome to challenge it. But what we would be able to do then is say, okay, ms procurement person, as you know, you've got the cost of stuff you buy, you've got the process costs of buying it, and you've got the costs of people ripping you off or locking it down so they can't rip you off. And we have stuff that helps all those. Now we haven't yet said what that stuff is that comes in proof points, but we've taken a very large pizza of value and we've put it into three slices. Now again, why three? Because a lot of companies have say four key messages, five key messages, top 10 list.


Jeffrey Pease:
Why is it three? Well, I have multiple authorities for this. My best authorities are Monty python and the three stooges. Now there is something about the number three that is a natural and hardwired number. If you're a parent and you throw your kid into the air, you don't do go one, two, it's one, two, three. Here we go. Right there is the three act movie. Uh, the three act play, the three real movie. Um, there's plenty of cognitive research that says there's a breakpoint in memory at three. I can remember three I have trouble remembering for, even if I want to remember the beetles who are literally the most famous for some of all time, I will go John and Paul, George and Ringo. I've used a mental trick. I've said it into two sets of two. So what happens if you go beyond three people will remember something, probably about three things in fact, but you have lost control of which three they will be. And that's a disservice to your customer because you've, you have deprived them of a mental map to navigate to their areas of interest. And it's a disservice to you because as a salesperson in particularly, you want it to be your map, you know, choose your own adventure. But please choose it on my map so I have something to sell you for it. Um, all of that can be summed up though. In one simple phrase, nobody remembers the fourth stooge. How many people know the names of the three stooges? Uh, well actually they're on here. So how many people before that knew the names of the three stages? Okay. Uh, how many people knew the name of the forest? Stooge cause there was one. Okay, so zero in this room, uh, in some rooms I get up to a 20% chimp count. But you do not want 20% of people to remember what you're claiming. You want them all of them to remember all of that. So a chimp, chimp and the fifth was curly Joe and I'm not sure I should be proud of knowing that, but I do. So if you want people to remember what you say, then no matter how hard it is, no matter how much selection and aggregation you have to do to make it work, get it to three key messages. If you take nothing away from today and you do that, I swear to God you will be better off, I promise. Okay. Now, proof points, features, capabilities, those are relatively easy because chances are in your business, you have a hundred of them. The trick is getting it down. So what you're going to do, Anna, can I ask you to just close that door?


Jeffrey Pease:
So how do you boil all of the wonderfulness of what you do down to a few proof points? Well that's not easy and it's going to take more time than we have. But let me tell you a guideline for selection.


Jeffrey Pease:
You are proving the claims you have made in the key messages. And what that does is it magically transforms in the language of many sales methodologies. It magically transforms features which are boring into capabilities, which are fascinating. Now there's only one difference in all kinds of sales methodologies between a feature and a capability, a capability as a feature that answers a problem the customer is admitted having. So if you talk to a procurement person about costs of their stuff, about um, process costs and about compliance costs, and they just see us on the compliance costs cause they just got embezzled, uh, then everything that proves out the other two key messages is a feature and you can just leave it alone. Everything that proves out compliance has been magically transformed into a capability and the customer will listen with attention to the capability.


Jeffrey Pease:
So when it actually comes time to do these, you can do them as smaller feature benefit statements that support your key message. Or you can just state the feature at that point if the feature actually proves out your key message. Either way you will have secured your customer's interest and there's a lot more detail about constructing proof points that we could talk about over pizza. But honestly for most companies, proof points are the easy part. The hard part is getting it down, which means that key messages are harder than proof points. And in turn, the positioning statement is the hardest of all. In fact, when we do this as a two day executive workshop, we usually wind up spending roughly a day to get to the point where we can agree on a, on a positioning statement or as one of my clients recently said when they were rolling out to their company, we spent about an hour a word. So compared to that, honestly, proof points are easy. Don't worry too much about them yet.


Audience Member:
Isn't it ever that you could come up with a fruit like maybe as a team come up with proof points first and work with your way up? 

Jeffrey Pease:
Yeah, I have, I have a um, a colleague who actually likes to work that way. I tend to like, like to sorta swallow the big fraud first because um, it's usually because a lot of, um, team alignment issues are why the messaging isn't already done and you surface those most quickly by working on this is what we are. But yes, it's completely legitimate. What you usually do then is you assemble a bucket of 10, 20, 50 proof points and then you seek out natural groupings and you can start to think about those as maybe you're, you know, if you can kind of say that's what's in the can, what's the label that might wind up being one of your key messages. So yes, it's absolutely a legitimate way of working and you can try it out and see what works best for you.


Jeffrey Pease:
Cool. All right. Now the last thing that we're going to learn about is differentiation. Because this has a great influence on how you do your messaging because even though the structure is 100% the same every time, the content varies tremendously and it mostly varies according to differentiation. Differentiation. You've probably never heard this from any marketing person before. Differentiation can kill you. Differentiation is a loaded gun, and depending on how you handle it, it's either pointed at your competition or your own head. It's pretty clear which you want. So whether you even focus on differentiation should depend on what customers already know about your market and what they already know about you. Let me give you a clear example. Let's say that it is 120 years ago, and you're a farmer in Iowa who has never seen an automobile before. Go with me on this. Will you be a farmer in Iowa 120 years ago? Great. All right. I'm Henry Ford. Hi, I'm Henry Ford and this is the first car you've ever seen. You should buy my automobile because it has the most efficient carburetor of any automobile on the market. Please respond.


Audience Member:
What is it?


Jeffrey Pease:
Yeah, yeah, that's exactly the universal response. What is an automobile? Um, what does a get out of my Horse Barn? So I have missed you. I've gone too far ahead. I've gone over your head. Um, it is the hundred and 20 years ago version of tech speak jargon. So what should I be doing? I should not be selling you a afford. I should be selling you a car. Hi, I'm Henry Ford. I have this thing. In fact, just for your convenience, I'll call it a horseless carriage cause you already know what a carriage is and horses and it goes faster and you don't have to scoop the poop up. The response is likely to be quite different. Now, I'm not selling you a Ford yet. I'm selling you a car. But if you buy into the benefits of carness or buy into the benefits of customer relationship management software, cause Siebel use this strategy to build themselves in the CRM market at the same time. Um, then it's very convenient for both of us that I'm standing here with a Ford to sell you and you're likely to buy it from me. So that is the education phase. If people don't know what you're selling, be kind enough to tell them.


Jeffrey Pease:
Maybe you're not Ford 120 years ago, maybe your Hyundai entering the US auto market in the 1980s people know what a car is. They don't know you. What do you do then you need to let people know you exist. You need to get consideration. Actually, a lot of the claims you make will be very similar to in the education. You just attach them a little more to you and you use the fact that people already know what a car is high, I'm Hyundai. I make a car. It's a nice car. Please stop by on your way to the Toyota Lot. If you do that, if you do that relatively undifferentiated consideration messaging upfront, then when people do stop on your car lot, you'll have the opportunity to differentiate in the actual sales situation. You always end up having to differentiate. It just may be further down the line.


Jeffrey Pease:
Let's say though, you're one of the lucky ones or one of the really hard working ones. Let's say you're a Mercedes or a Tesla in today's auto market, then you don't have to tell people what a car is and guess what, you don't have to tell them who you are either. Out of the 98% of cars that are all the same, you can focus on the 2% that make you distinctly different. Leadership is a great position to be in if you're actually in it. The actions you would take though in a leadership differentiation messaging are really stupid. If you're not, then you're pointing the gun at your own head instead of the competition or you're just missing your customers entirely. So as you approached the final exercise, I just want to give you a couple of examples of how a positioning statement might be different according to that.


Jeffrey Pease:
If you're in phase one hey horseless carriage that outperforms animal based transportation, but you are at least using your brand name as well as category to help people navigate phase two. I'm Oracle, the market of procurement as well known. I'm not well known. I'm going to make a pretty bold claim. I'm not saying nobody else does it, but I'm saying I do it loud and proud and then I'm going to prove it to you like crazy. Phase three, oops, jumped a little ahead. Phase three Roadmaster is the world's leading winter road weather. Yeah, software solution. You guys may not know what that is, but if you owned, we're in a city government that puts salt on roads in the winter, right? You would. So here I can just make my leadership claim. It's obviously better if it's true. There are some tricks if you have to nuance it a bit, but I can just loud and proud.


Jeffrey Pease:
Say I'm the best that there is at this thing. Come challenge me to prove it. And then your key messages will be just that. Just the same port for that. So in your final exercise, in your final exercise, you are going to do something in a couple of minutes that usually takes two days and your entire executive team. So it may not be the very final one that you come up with, but I want you to take a shot. Positioning statement name is the category that benefit or differentiator. And do that mindfully by first checking the box that says I'm in education, consideration or differentiation, then you can turn over and see the exercise on the positioning statement, I believe is on the other side.


Audience Member:


Hmm.


Jeffrey Pease:


The other exercises will be homework.


Audience Member:


Yes. Yeah, yeah. Now, yeah.


Jeffrey Pease:
Do it imperfectly. Do it as best you can. Literally. This normally takes a couple of days worth of work with the executive team of a company. So this is like the opening dollar bid on Ebay. Get something out there. Don't worry if it's long, don't worry if it's imperfect. Just start.


Audience Member:
Yeah.


Jeffrey Pease:
I see some people looking at their company's website to see what the positioning is.


Audience Member:
Yeah.


Jeffrey Pease:
If it were a short and clean as we want it to be, you'd already know. I always just like steal one line from it. So that's why I was just curious. Yeah. And to me that one line may be the good one. Yeah. Um, I think people just like fire things out to make them sound really sexy. Absolutely. And it's a mistake. Yeah. It's a mistake. You want it to be punchy, you want it to be cool, but you want to make a claim that grabs people in 10 seconds or 10 words. Most businesses could describe their value very well in a thousand words, but nobody's got a thousand words worth of attention to spare for you. Sorry.


Audience Member:
Okay.


Jeffrey Pease:
By the way, it's one o'clock. We'll probably go to pizza about one 10 if anybody has to catch a flight. I won't be offended if you leave.


Audience Member:
Okay. Thank you.


Audience Member:
And I think it's tricky for us. We offer, we have so many different terms that that's why I also wanted to peek at it because Ah, so we different industries, right? Yes. So many different services. And I think when people hear accounting, their immediate thought is tax, right and advisory, right? Or maybe not even as much advisory as we have the consulting side. So I think that for me is how do I share with, we don't want in our, is that I can be a commercial real estate, financial services technology. I can really be anywhere. Yeah. Industry and I can provide a service to you better than someone else.


Jeffrey Pease:
So if we were doing it for the company, I would focus on that. I would make versatility, um, and, and coverage the claim, it's very much like an enterprise software company covering an entire businesses needs. Um, if we were focusing on some specific area and we were doing a workshop around that, the very first thing we would do with the group is determined for what? For, you know, before we can decide what the messaging is, we have to decide for what, what level of the company, what branch, you know, are we doing? Is it the whole restaurant or one dish?


Audience Member:
Great. Good, good. Yeah.


Jeffrey Pease:
And sometimes just doing that, nevermind the messaging is very clarifying.


Audience Member:
Okay.


Jeffrey Pease:
So I think in another minute or so, everybody will have something they may not be something they're satisfied with. Honestly, I'd be disappointed if everybody was completely satisfied with what they come out with an hour since. I usually spend days on this, but it's a start and hopefully it's sharper than what you already have today. Sometimes it may just be a piece of what you already have today. And now your job is to get everybody aligned around it, which is kind of the last little bonus topic we'll talk about.


Audience Member:
All right,


Jeffrey Pease:
just going to give people a few more seconds cause I still see pens moving 
and we'll go into our wrap up. Okay.

Does everybody have something? All right. So the last little topic here. I'm a marketer so if I didn't include this then those of you who are also marketers would think me very deficient. I'm very open about sharing my approach and technique and in fact I will be happy to share with you guys cause you attended the lecture. Um, I'm willing to share a pdf of the slides if you want that I'm willing to share the structure as I've done today. I'm even willing to share a video of the entire talk if there's something you want to look at. Again. Um, that's my approach. There are occasions when you can do this yourself and you should, I want you to take the structuring, use it cause I want more sharpness and clarity in the world. Now there are occasions when you might find it valuable to seek help and there are some triggers for that. So the last thing I'm going to do is share those with you and make an offer of assistance if it's useful. So a few reasons why you might need a little bit of outside assistance. One is hoarding. I'm assuming all of you are completely enrolled in this idea of short and sharp and clean and willing to work it and work it until your messaging is really there. That requires the painful work of leaving stuff out. Now, folks that were not in this room and didn't have this training may be a little less inclined to do that than you are. Especially for example, if the head of product has some really cool features that he or she really wants to talk about, or perhaps there's what we call the chameleon on plaid problem. Uh, maybe individual salespeople or even the head of sales takes whatever worked with the last customer, whatever the last customer bid on and then adds that to the stack for the new customer. One of my clients in India recently said, yeah, if something worked well for one person, we added that and said that also for the next person, but we didn't take anything out and pretty soon we were talking more than our customers, which of course those of you that are in sales roles know that talking more than your customers is death to a sale and death to a customer relationship. Like I clicked again by accident. There is the too many cooks problem. Maybe you know exactly what the messaging and positioning should be. Maybe not that. Maybe you do. The trick is the same message matrix is completely different in execution if everybody worked on it or at least if key opinion leaders worked on it than if you just made it up. Okay. So literally the same words because there are two products of working on a message matrix and you can do some of this yourself and you should, you should be aware of that one product of a message matrix process is the message matrix itself. Ideas compressed to black hole intensity and words on a page. That's one product. The second product is the alignment that comes when multiple people work on it together. This is sometimes referred to as the Ikea effect. I like that shelf cause man it took four hours to put that sucker together. Or I like that House that we built for habitat for humanity because we all spent the whole weekend on it. Yeah, that looks really good. I wasn't sure about that piece color, but now I love it. Right? So there's something about the bonding that happens when everybody feels heard and when everybody's ideas are either represented or they understand why those particular ideas couldn't make the cut. Um, one of my clients said you don't herd cats, you heard lions, which with executive teams is often what you're dealing with. So one other reason you might want assistance would be if lion hurting is involved in getting to the right outcoming your messaging. And then finally, and I say this because there are many strong marketing leaders or heads of marketing in this room, sometimes no matter how good your chops are, you just need a fresh perspective. Sometimes it helps you to be able to be a participant instead of a facilitator and sometimes politically speaking, an expert is somebody from out of town. Maybe you're the generalists Cmo, you bring in somebody that's branded as a messaging expert. It's a different kind of perspective. Maybe a little bit different by it. So if it might be useful or even if you're not sure, what I'll offer to each of you that chose to show up today and be my studio audience is I'd be very happy if you have questions or review that goes beyond pizza. We can set a separate time and I'd be very happy to offer you a free consultation where we look at the current state of your messaging as well as what you've worked through in this workshop. We talk about your goals and maybe I can help. Maybe I just give you some ideas and you go off and do it yourself, but you get a little bit further down the road. So I've actually never made that offer to an audience before, but since you guys showed up for this and you're willing to be filmed, I'd be really happy to do it. So just let me know by either over pizza or by email and we'll find a time in the next few weeks for it.


Jeffrey Pease
In any case, this is what I leave you with. If you want to make a point, you literally make a point, keep chipping bits of stone away, keep taking material down until what's left is very thin, very sharp, very pointy, goes right to your company is first your employees and then your customer's heart

If you do that, you'll wind up with something that actually fits in this little tiny aperture of attention that people have for you. In fact, it be a barbed point. It'll widen it for you because that first claim will make you interesting and people will pay a little more attention and a little more attention until you can give them the detail they need to make a decision.

In doing that, less is almost always more so my exhortation to you, my missionary plea is go create your less.


Jeffrey Pease:
Thank you very much for coming.


Audience:
[Applause]