WAYS TO EVALUATE
PUBLISHED BY: ONMESSAGE,
A MESSAGING INFUSION COMPANY
Companies with sales forces who understand the messaging
platform will outperform the market by a substantial margin,
both in revenue, market share and profitability.
- CMO Council Report
Over 65% of sales leaders feel they’re losing business because
they don’t have a compelling value proposition.
- Miller Heiman, Sales Best Practice Study
Conversations with employees make up 53% of the reason why
customers choose a company over the competition.
- CSO Insights Survey
We believe … messaging is strategic and intrinsically linked to
We believe … messaging must be woven into the fabric of the
organization and delivered consistently throughout the customer
We believe … messaging management is a journey that requires
the unwavering support of leadership. There are no short cuts.
Messaging effectiveness can
be measured along six key
dimensions. In this executive
brief we examine each of these
dimensions and how you can
improve the impact messaging
has on the performance of
6 Ways to Evaluate your Corporate Story 6
As companies evolve and change, messaging often
remains static or becomes fragmented and inconsistent
with the desired direction of the business. When a gap
exists between your go-to-market strategy and the way
you describe your business (who you are, what you do
and the value you deliver) — you have a messaging
Most often, alignment issues happen gradually,
over time, as elements of the business change, such
as launching new products/services, expanding
target markets or acquiring new companies. While
the executive team may speak to these changes
when communicating with specific audiences, the
majority of oral and written communication across
the organization does not follow suit. Even worse,
messaging modifications are made in an ad hoc or
sporadic fashion — not in a consistent, thorough
manner. When this happens, your messaging no
longer serves as a catalyst for growth but a deterrent.
To assess your company’s messaging effectiveness
along the Alignment Dimension, ask yourself
(or better yet, your entire management team) the
> Have we updated and documented our
business goals/strategies to reflect our
current/planned go-to-market strategy? If
so, does our messaging accurately reflect
> Do we know where we expect to grow and
what areas of the business will decline? Is
our messaging layered appropriately based
on these plans?
> Have specific roles in the buying process
changed based on our current product/
service mix (economic decision maker,
technical decision maker, influencers,
sponsors, etc.)? Does our messaging reflect
> Does our messaging address new products/
services or areas where we have expanded
> Have we entered new markets, or do we plan
to target new segments? Does our messaging
speak to these markets/targets? Do we need
to speak to these audiences differently?
These are just a few, pointed questions that will
quickly enable you to assess the alignment between
your business strategy and your story.
How closely aligned is our messaging with
our business strategy?
6 Ways to Evaluate your Corporate Story 8
Customers purchase your product or service because
it solves a problem and helps their business grow.
You capture their attention and interest when your
message resonates with them and is relevant to their
life or business.
Too often messaging fails to connect with your
audience because it doesn’t resonate at a fundamental
level. The reasons can be many: it doesn’t quickly link
your “solution” with the target audience’s pain points
or needs; it is based on incorrect or faulty assumptions
about what is most important to your audience; or it
doesn’t utilize the language and terminology that are
meaningful to your audience. The result is prospective
customers who can’t identify with your proposed
solution or are not convinced that your solution will
solve their problem/challenge.
Speaking to your target audience in a relevant and
meaningful way requires a deep understanding of your
prospective customer and what is most important
to them. To assess your company’s messaging
effectiveness in the Relevance Dimension, ask yourself
the following questions:
> Who are the decision makers and influencers
we must connect with to close the sale? What
do we know about their roles, pain points
> How clearly and consistently does our
messaging speak to their needs and pain
points? Have their needs evolved? Have
business or market trends changed their
view of the problem/situation they are
trying to address?
> Do we understand the decision-making
process and criteria they use when
purchasing a solution like ours? Does our
messaging address key objections/barriers in
the mind of our target audience?
> What is the customers’ attitude and
awareness of our company? What perception
do they have about our company/product/
service? Does our messaging overcome
negative perceptions that exist?
> Have we captured a detailed profile
of our target audience (demographic/
> Are we speaking in our target audience’s
Ensuring your messaging is relevant to your target
market is one of the most critical dimensions of
messaging effectiveness. So don’t assume your
messaging resonates with them … ask them.
Does our message resonate and connect with
6 Ways to Evaluate your Corporate Story 10
In the B2B world, it can be challenging to develop a
message that illustrates your value, especially one that
clearly shows how that value is distinct or different
from your competitors. Yet it’s vital to illustrating how
and why your business solution is better.
Do you have more experience than your competitors,
or a unique technology or process? Can you provide
cost savings with greater economies of scale?
Demonstrating the value you deliver begins with
identifying and defining the points of differentiation
that your company offers, then making sure these key
differentiators are driving your messaging.
Uniqueness is a dimension that highlights your
company’s strengths and promotes your exclusive
ability to deliver the optimal solution for your
customers. When examining your message in the
Uniqueness Dimension, assess the following:
> How do we differ from the competition in
terms of what we do and how we go about
doing it? Identify and examine all nuances,
from product and service mix to training and
expertise, to unique delivery models or
capabilities. What makes us stronger than
> How do each of these differentiators actually
benefit our customer? Can we distinguish
ourselves in terms of the performance and
results we deliver? Be specific and look deep
here. Does it simply deliver the results our
customers expect and demand, or does it do
something even more significant?
> What makes our differentiators valid and
credible? Can we pinpoint specific examples,
such as levels of inventory, quality standards,
customer service ratings or specialized
training to help illustrate our unique strengths?
> Can we truly own these differences as a
point of uniqueness? Or are there barriers to
overcome in our customers’ perception of
It’s important that your potential customer base clearly
understands how and why you are different, and how
those differences make your offering better. In your
messaging, these distinctions become your audience’s
compelling reasons to choose your offering over the
competitive product or service.
Is our message ownable and truly different
from our competitors?
6 Ways to Evaluate your Corporate Story 12
Today’s messaging environment is more complex
than ever. To be truly effective, messaging must be
delivered consistently throughout the entire customer
experience — from social media to sales presentations,
industry events and customer service phone calls
… even casual conversations in the hallway. Every
interaction is an opportunity to strengthen your
market position or lose market share. And every voice
within your organization must be able to deliver your
message in a consistent and compelling manner.
The development and use of consistent messaging
across all channels helps establish the value of your
product/services in the marketplace and reinforces
the position you want to own in the mind of your
target audience. When executed properly, consistent
messaging turns every connection into a building block
for a cohesive and compelling customer experience.
When evaluating your messaging in the Consistency
Dimension, ask yourself the following questions:
> Does our messaging demonstrate an unwavering
commitment to how we describe who we are,
what we do and the value we deliver?
> Have we clearly documented our “approved”
messaging in one place that everyone can
access and that serves as our platform for all
> How consistently is our messaging being
delivered within our organization? Have we
provided any education or training to our
employees in regard to our messaging? Do all
of our employees understand our key points
of difference and the value we deliver?
> How consistent is the messaging in our
core marketing communications vehicles —
website, brochures, proposals, presentations,
videos, social media profiles, etc.?
> Do our broader advertising and marketing
vehicles include a core set of messages that
align with the day-to-day conversations,
sales tools and marketing materials we use?
> Do sales, customer service and support
conversations include key messages that
consistently support our story?
Consistency exponentially increases the power of
your messaging. When messaging is consistently
infused into your company, culture and customers, it
elicits optimal engagement across all communication
channels and enables you to achieve the highest return
on every connection you make.
How consistently is our message delivered
inside and outside of our organization?
6 Ways to Evaluate your Corporate Story 14
Recall is a critical factor in measuring messaging
effectiveness and determining the success or failure of
audience engagement. Each and every day individuals
are exposed to 3,000 to 20,000 messages, making it
more difficult than ever to break through the noise and
ensure your audience remembers your story. To give
yourself a fighting chance, you must be disciplined at
infusing a clear, compelling and consistent message
into every customer interaction.
Effectiveness along the Recall Dimension can only
be measured based on direct input from your target
audience. So the first question you have to ask is,
“What measures have we taken to evaluate the current
perception of our company within our target market?”
To monitor and improve recall effectiveness, you
must conduct qualitative and/or quantitative surveys
on a regular basis. By taking this step you can gather
the insight you need to evaluate your messaging and
determine where and how it can be improved. In the
end, you’ll be able to answer questions like:
> Does our target understand the core
products/services we offer and what we do?
> Do they clearly understand the value
> How well-recognized is our brand? What are
we most known for? How does that compare
to the competition?
> Where are the gaps between audience
perceptions and the messaging we are using
in the market?
> How well have our employees absorbed our
messaging? Are they able to quickly and
easily “play back” our story in prospect and
Just because you are sending messages into the
marketplace does not mean that they are being heard.
Determine what messages are breaking through, those
that are not and, most importantly, the messages that
your target audience remembers about what you do
and the value you deliver. This is the key to maximizing
Is the message we are sending really what our
audience hears and remembers?
6 Ways to Evaluate your Corporate Story 16
Too often we see the same issue detracting from
messaging effectiveness: features and benefits taking
precedence over the deeper, more meaningful value
that your product or service provides to customers.
Value belongs at the forefront of nearly every client
conversation, and needs to be absolutely clear and
compelling to your target audience. When you only
have seconds to make a connection, it’s essential that
you highlight the real and overarching value that your
solution provides in a way that resonates with your
target. Speaking to the key issue that is most valuable
to your target audience grabs their attention and keeps
them engaged as you tell the rest of your story.
Certainly features and benefits are important, but these
aspects to your messaging are more appropriately
conveyed later in the conversation and become the
reasons your customers will believe in your ability
to deliver the value promised. For example, a car
manufacturer isn’t selling anti-lock brakes; they’re
selling a safer driving experience. The inner workings
of the anti-lock brakes substantiate the value: safety.
To ensure messaging communicates value in a clear
and compelling way, ask yourself these critical
> Have we fully inventoried our services,
products, capabilities and all other aspects of
what we do? Have we captured the supporting
reasons to believe in each of these areas?
> Based on this inventory, what is the “collective
or most meaningful value” that we provide
our customers? Have we captured and
elevated that single, overarching value in the
way we currently deliver our message?
> Have we validated that this value is, in fact,
“meaningful” to our customers? Is that value
something that connects with our target
audience in a personal way? Does it connect
in a way that drives action?
> Does our messaging then incorporate and
substantiate that value through relevant
features and proof points to ensure the target
believes in our ability to deliver it?
> When we engage a prospect or customer, do
we put this value at the forefront of every
conversation and interaction as a key driver
within our messaging?
> Have our employees been trained to make
accurate distinctions between features,
benefits and value, and to utilize them
properly in delivering our messaging?
> Can every employee articulate our value
proposition in a clear and consistent manner?
Value represents that deepest and most meaningful
advantage that your customer will derive from your
solution. Messaging that clearly communicates your
value is the cornerstone to ensuring that you are
making the most of every communication investment.
Is the value we deliver clear and compelling to
our target audience?
Corporate messaging is a strategic weapon
and competitive advantage in the market
when companies deploy effective messaging,
by 25% and increase customer win rates by
more than 20%.
6 Ways to Evaluate your Corporate Story 18
So make sure you ask the hard questions
and improve your messaging across all
ALIGNMENT: How closely aligned is your messaging
with your business strategy? Your messaging should
not remain static, or become fragmented over time.
All companies evolve and change; your message needs
to keep pace with your go-to-market strategy, product
mix and services.
RELEVANCE: Does your message resonate and
connect with customer needs? Cultivate a deep
understanding of your prospective customer and
what is most important to them. Then make sure
your messaging links your “solution” with the target
audience’s pain points or needs.
UNIQUENESS: Is your message ownable and
truly different from your competitors? Your message
should clearly highlight your company’s strengths and
promote your exclusive ability to deliver the optimal
solution for your customers.
CONSISTENCY: How consistently is your message
delivered inside and outside of your organization?
Ensure consistent application throughout the entire
customer experience — from social media to sales
presentations, industry events and customer service
phone calls … even casual conversations in the hallway.
RECALL: Is the message you are sending really
what your audience hears? Continuously monitor
your messaging recall factor by conducting customer
surveys on a regular basis. Then use this insight to
adjust your messaging for optimal comprehension and
VALUE: Is the value you deliver clear and compelling
to your target audience? Use your message to highlight
the real and overarching value that your solution
provides in a way that resonates with your target.
If you do — your message will stand out from the
competition, you’ll engage your target audience at a
higher level and increase the financial performance of