Brand messaging is everywhere. From TV commercials to social media marketing, brands are always trying to connect with their target market. And while these key messages are often short and sweet, they still manage to pack a powerful punch — or, at least, the effective ones do.
What is a marketing message, how can you create one that results in better lead generation and what should you avoid in the process? Let’s look into it.
Why Is a Powerful Marketing Message So Important?
First things first: What exactly is a marketing message? Unlike your standard-fare promotional message (which can refer to any old promo), a marketing message is your brand’s way of telling your target audience what your organization is and why they should do business with you.
Essentially, you can think of your brand messaging as an opportunity to briefly and quickly influence a consumer’s purchasing decision — like an elevator pitch but for your brand as opposed to a specific product).
There are two keywords in this definition: briefly and quickly.
Your marketing message is not a 30-minute infomercial reviewing your company’s history and all of its extensive capabilities — it’s one sentence. Yes, you read that right: A marketing message is only one sentence.
And, it’s not a long-winded, run-on sentence, either; it’s a clear and concise phrase that informs and convinces your target market why they should choose your product or service (with “your” being the operative word here; as opposed to “product or service”). Most importantly, it delivers a brand promise to potential customers, which makes it different from a tagline.
With that in mind, your marketing message is one of your most powerful advertising tools. It’s your chance to:
- Grab the attention of a potential customer.
- Relay how you will solve their problem.
- Explain why they can trust your company.
The takeaway: A good marketing message does a lot in a short amount of time. It’s a powerful tool that you can use as part of a brand awareness campaign or overarching marketing strategy to improve lead generation, boost sales, convey your brand story and keep your business growing.
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7 of Our Favorite Marketing Message Examples
So now that you know what a marketing message is, here are a few examples of real-life ones to inspire your brand:
1. Ulta Made Buying Cosmetics Beautiful Again
The message: “The possibilities are beautiful.”
Why we love it: Creating a marketing message when you specialize in beauty supplies is challenging. How do you tell your target audience that they need your products without making them feel self-conscious? With this carefully structured message, Ulta acknowledges there are many beauty products to choose from, and even more ways to be beautiful, but all of its choices (and customers!) are equally beautiful.
2. Spotify Appealed to the Masses
The message: “Music for every mood.”
Why we love it: Spotify had their hands full creating a marketing message because their target audience is pretty much the entire world of music lovers. But the brand was able to come up with a four-word sentence that tells us, no matter what type of genre you want to hear, Spotify has you covered.
3. Cards Against Humanity Gets Bold
The message: “Steal the game.”
Why we love it: On brand for a company that sells an outlandish and often dirty-minded card game, the makers of Cards Against Humanity encourage website visitors to “steal” their game. Of course, you’re not actually stealing it, but it’s a fun and funny way to let your audience know that, if they cannot or do not want to buy it, they can print off a PDF version for free.
4. Wayfair Says You Can Have Nice Things
The message: “You can have nice things.”
Why we love it: This one is a bit more subtle — I mean, aside from the fact that Kelly Clarkson actually says this in the ad. It’s also printed in text on a pillow. As part of a recent marketing effort, Wayfair enticed potential customers with a message that encourages viewers to treat themselves (and perhaps even more subtly, that they have permission to treat themselves). “You can have nice things” is short, sweet and to the point — and true! You can have nice things. Thanks, Kelly 😉.
5. TikTok Acknowledged Its Resourcefulness
The message: “Search it, learn it, do it with TikTok.”
Why we love it: TikTok is popular. There’s no doubt about that. With more than 834 million monthly active users on the platform, there’s bound to be a diverse range of content. From viral dances and challenges to DIYs and life hacks, you can watch pretty much anything you want. In one of its recent ads, the short-form video giant flashes a quick marketing message at the end that lets viewers know just how practical the platform can be. In 8 words, TikTok communicates that, if there’s something you want to learn how to do, you can find a video on the platform that will teach you.
6. Nike Asks, “What the… Football?”
The message: What the football.
Why we love it: Perhaps on the more nuanced end of the marketing message spectrum, Nike’s advertising has caught the public eye once again. Beyond the play on words and the video’s use of novel visuals, the video and its messaging does an excellent job at tying together the brand’s role as a leading provider of sports gear, apparel and sponsorship with a highlight on women’s football — further uplifted by its comedic touch!
7. Adobe Acrobat Lets You Know They’ve Got It
The message: Adobe’s got it.
Why we love it: Whether you’re as enthusiastic about the digital era as the video’s protagonist, there’s no denying the timeliness of this ad’s messaging given the widespread move toward a more digital workspace. And with more and more businesses placing manual systems in the past, Adobe — through this upbeat, comedic, yet persuasive ad — has let us know that they’ve got the transition covered.
How To Build (and Nurture) Your Marketing Message
Now that you’ve seen the role promotional messages play in your marketing campaign — and a few examples of highly effective ones — let’s review how to create a marketing message that’s clear, concise and resonates with your target audience.
Step 1: Make Your Target Market the Central Focus
Before writing a marketing message, you need to have a distinct idea of who your target audience is. Here are some examples of questions you can ask to understand your target demographic better:
- What problems are your target audience currently facing?
- How does your ideal consumer make purchase decisions?
- What type of tone or language does your target market use?
The better you understand your target demographic, the easier it’ll be to create a message that captures their attention, appeals to their emotions and convinces them to learn more about your company. It can be difficult to craft compelling marketing messages; fortunately, though, ChatGPT 4 and other AI copywriting tools have made it much easier with the ideation process.
Step 2: Allude to the Solution You Provide
Your message should convey that your business has the capabilities to resolve your target audience’s problem. But remember — since your message is only one crisp sentence, you might not always have the bandwidth to explicitly state the problem. Instead, you can allude to the problem, which your target audience may already be aware of so that you keep the message concise and ensure you hold your target audience’s attention.
Step 3: Keep It Simple
Keep things simple to avoid creating a bad company message. Overly complex messages do not get remembered — but short and sweet ones do. Case in point: “Just do it” by Nike is one of the most influential and recognized marketing messages in the world. Why? It’s three words, straight to the point and easy to remember and directly tied to the brand’s ethos..
Step 4: Differentiate When Possible
When explaining how your product or service solves your target audience’s problem, try to include what makes your business different from competitors. For example, Walmart offers similar products to Target and other big-box stores. But its differentiator is that it provides these products at a cheaper price, which Walmart includes in its message: “Save money, live better.”
But when including a differentiator, be sure to not waste space in your message by repeating something that your loyal customer base already knows. A prime example of this is a grocery store claiming it offers a large variety of products — which most grocery stores do. Instead, the store should mention how it features international brands or provides fresh deli meats daily, as these are things that not every supermarket can provide.
Step 5: Avoid Jargon
A marketing message, at least the kind we’re talking about here, should be punchy. Marketers are all too familiar with industry jargon and the types of businesses that seem to be obsessed with using it. However, your target audience may not always understand what you’re trying to say when you use terminology that they’re not familiar with.
More than that, complex or unclear words don’t really have a place in marketing. Our goal is to resonate with customers and, hopefully, make our message as memorable as possible. These become more difficult to achieve when your marketing campaign is riddled with jargon.
Step 6: Add Humor (If Appropriate)
Like the Cards Against Humanity example we shared, using humor as part of your messaging or marketing effort is a fan favorite. For that particular brand, it makes total sense to use jarring humor because their game is meant to be funny and edgy.
That said, take this step with a grain of salt. Make sure you understand your target audience thoroughly and, once you know for sure that using humor makes sense for your brand image and content marketing strategy, have at it!
Ready To Build a Powerful Marketing Message?
With so many best practices to keep in mind, developing a strong marketing message can seem overwhelming. But by focusing on your target audience and keeping your message short and sweet, you can generate quality leads. And if you’re feeling stuck, use the steps and inspiration above to guide you through the creation process.
There are a million different ways to create a marketing message. And just because you already have one doesn’t mean you can’t edit it as your business and customer base evolve.
Editor’s Note: Updated October 2023.