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#12: Using a Message Wheel to Get Your Point Across

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I am a believer in laying out the logical argument of why and exactly how my services will make the client's condition better. This sometimes works and sometimes seems to miss the mark. Am I missing something?

IMC has a lot of experienced marketing and communication experts who could answer this in more detail but there are a few points every consultant should know about messaging. A classic is the "message wheel" developed by Richard Vaughn, one version of which is called the FCB Grid. It was one of the first characterizations of separating how communication effectiveness varies with the audience. In this model, people are influenced by thinking and feeling, and by how involved you are personally. It is important to understand how your client sees the buying decision before you craft your marketing approach and sales pitch.

For example, in the high involvement case, the decision is critical, with a lot to lose if the decision is wrong. This is different from the low involvement decision, where the decision is not as important, can be made quickly, and there is little downside if the client picks the wrong consultant. Thinking and feeling are self explanatory, but you can see the impact on your pitch. A client who a year ago might have been in the feeling, low involvement cell would have easily made a decision with little thought, or consequences, of a bad decision. Under more duress, he or she may now be squarely in the thinking, high involvement cell, where engagement and perceived risks are high. It is a different buying environment.

Tip: This is one of many models proposed to explain how advertising, communication and messaging work, each of which has its adherents. Do a little research and pick one or more to define what is most likely motivating your prospects to purchase your services and tailor your pitch accordingly.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  communication  marketing 

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