Does anyone actually know if a message has ever been sent in a bottle the way Daniel Defoe would have us believe in Robinson Crusoe?  What is the feasibility of it actually reaching anywhere, let alone the right place, without sinking?

I’m sure there are a few clever boffins out there that will take wind speed, ocean current and other climate related factors into account and then develop a mathematical equation to map the estimated route of said bobbing receptacle culminating in a fairly accurate result, but that’s all a little complicated and doesn’t really answer the real question – In a sea of marketing messages how do you avoid drowning and ensure that your rolled up bit of paper reaches dry, inhabited land – metaphorically speaking of course?!

So, in keeping with last week’s blog we are going to look at the same five points you used to identify your place in the market and show how each one contributes to your message becoming a whole.

  • Product

  • Points of difference

  • Service

  • Price

  • Perception

I find that a good way to understand how all these points fit together is to think of them as a structure you would build, kind of like a jenga tower, if you take one or more away you are going to weaken the structure (aka message) and it will not fulfil its purpose.  We have talked a lot about having a purpose, or aim, when beginning any marketing activity and this week is no different I’m afraid, you must know your aim before you can go any further – or at least any further successfully.

So where do we start?  Well, as luck would have it (that’s a reshuffle to you and me) these points are in the right order for building a structured message.  You need to start with your strongest foundation before you can move on;  your product.

I’ve decided that it might be easier for me to explain using a “flowchart”, or series of “flowcharts”.  Please bare with me as these will be unlike any flowcharts you have seen before but they should hopefully get my message across

Okay, here goes…

Product > Points of difference > service > price > perception

My example

Shoe > comfiest ever > added value > what will people pay > perception

Okay, so in this example the shoe is my product and the point of difference is that is the comfiest shoe you will ever wear.  Moving on, the service, or added value, section will pertain to what extras you offer the customer.  In this instance it could be a choice of colours, free delivery, free returns, a choice of order method or even a 2 year guarantee.  Next you have the price which should be proportionate to what you expect people to pay for the former three points, i.e the comfiest shoe you will ever wear with free delivery and a guarantee.  And lastly the perception of you will be based on all the aforementioned things.

(This bit is fun, I promise) Right, the next step in this exercise is to systematically remove each point one by one and see how it will affect your message.  For example:

Remove the added value:  Shoe > comfiest ever > what will people pay > perception

A customer may say now “Okay, you claim to have the comfiest shoes and you’ve just hit me with a price, how is that price justified?  I don’t think your product lives up to its claims or its price is justified…”.


Remove the points of difference: Shoe > added value > what will people pay > perception

A customer might now say “Well why should I buy it from you, other stores offer the same added value, what is so great about your shoe?”


Remove the price point: Shoe > comfiest >added value > perception

A customer could think “Hmmm this shoe promises great things, it is probably out of my price range, I’m going to go somewhere else” or “that seems awfully cheap/dear for what is on offer, I’m wary now…”

So you can see how all these factors will have a bearing on a customer’s perception and at the end of the day, your customers have the ability to make or break you, their perceptions are very influential.   Speaking of influential and other ways that customers will form a perception of you, next week will talk about your brand and brand image.

P.S. I would just like to point out that if you try and buy just one shoe in a shop, the chances of you getting funny looks will be quite high.

Is your message in a Bottleneck?

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