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Messaging Matters, and Communication is Key: Yes. They’re Two Different Things

Today's marketing messages are different, in case you haven’t noticed.

Going back as far as the 1960’s, the “immediacy” of live television brought an entirely new realm of ad efficacy into the advertising fray of billboards, radio and print. This was when Marshall McCluhan astutely declared that “The media is the message.”

McCluhan’s concern was based around the influence on American youth of a new-fangled concept called “television”. For its time, it was “state of the art”: incredibly fast-paced, and promising unprecedented impact.

As a one-way medium, it ultimately offered only carefully crafted visual representations of a more romantic and surreal pseudo-reality. This reality was carefully crafted: a message that producers and advertisers tightly controlled. For example, Fred and Wilma Flintstone slept in separate beds. Lucy and Ricky Ricardo gave birth to a baby boy who magically appeared, proved remarkably behaved, and only cried on cue. 1960’s housewives in perfectly coiffed bouffants cheerfully made cocktails for their briefcased husbands after a “day at the office”, despite spending their day cooking from scratch, washing cloth diapers, and pushing around a forty-something-pound Electrolux (proud sponsor of tonight’s programming!) vacuum.

Things are a little more complicated than that, now.

The Classic Concept of “Three Pillars of Advertising” Still Hold-But They Do So Across Dimensions

Consumers of today demand not only full control of their media experience (which must be fast and flawless), but they also demand a level of intimacy and immediacy in the brands they trust.

Despite this vastly different dynamic, the fundamental paradigm known as the “Three Pillars of Marketing” (Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning)--are still fundamental to crafting a businesses’ presence. Essentially, these pillars represent identifying the key demographic, targeting it, and positioning the marketing message to meet the needs and expectations of the prospective client.

Sounds simple, right? And for a long time, it really was.

The World Has Moved On

21st century media goes well beyond simple, outbound tropes with a good hook. Modern media is a vibrant, dynamic, fluid, and interactive proposition. Through work, school, and everyday life, the average consumer spends roughly 12 hours of his or her day immersed in it, so the expectations are high. Immediate interactions and media mobility through the advent of apps and devices means that—sure: the media is the message, but communication of that message across myriad digital landscapes is key.

The very concept of “media”--as a product--far exceeds that once two-dimensional, one-way communication and tightly controlled messaging between a producer and his audience. Those days of outward bound, arms-length interactions with the customer are long gone, and this has many businesses scrambling.

For today’s marketers, zeroing in on client segmentation poses unique challenges presented by sophisticated algorithms that control and group their search results and exposure. So rather than advertising with one or two mediums - such as television and print - marketers have to adapt the messaging to several platforms that have varying degrees of influence and reach. Those platforms frequently change the way they do business, and their users integrate with them in untold and unique ways.

According to The Washington Post (10/26/21), Facebook uses shifting algorithms and more than a thousand data points to favor–or all but cannibalize–a given post, depending on the company’s view of its contribution to the community. Google’s algorithms control the availability or viewability in search engine rankings. The list goes on. The algorithms vary, but all of them are personalized: every person may see different things for the same search or scroll. Yet the result is the same. In some way, all Big Tech platforms make segmentation, as a marketing concept, tricky.

The trickle down to how those segmented populations are targeted, and the market and message positioning, are thus exponentially affected with each added platform.

And that, ladies and gentlemen… is why research matters.

Enter UX Research and The Full-Service Agency

Messaging is deeply affected by the communication of those messages across platforms. Thus, these are two very distinct things. Think of messaging as a glass sphere of influence pitched across a broad and jagged digital communication landscape. If you toss that imaginary sphere with some degree of accuracy, it may just reach the intended target. Pitch off the mark… and your message can crash and burn.

Where effectively communicated, your marketing message can bring your company tremendous success. Where ineffectively communicated, the message may be on point, but little heard… if at all.

The concepts of presence and perception are really vital to establishing your brand online. How you reach your clients—those whom you’ve established, and those you’d like to bring on board—depends on your knowledge of their needs, and how you can communicate your ability to meet those needs. User Research (known as UX Research) mines that data…and puts it on steroids.

UX Research is based on problems and perceptions: what problem does your client/potential client have… and how does s/he perceive your ability to solve it?

To address that dynamic, you need a team that stays with you throughout the discovery and development process. At Heirographx, we engage in a unique approach to building your brand. The integrated dynamics of our gold-star research and development team can help you convert apps, websites, graphic arts, content and marketing into a sphere of interactive influence across that jagged and often unpredictable digital plane.

With messaging that is relevant, consistent, and flawlessly delivered, consumer confidence in your brand is a given. Thus, you’re more apt to focus on what you do best: closing those clients. The full-service development and marketing agency that serves your needs best will always be the one that relieves the burden of tailoring your company voice to multiple platforms–while developing fresh, interactive content to meet your clients’ needs. At Heirographx… we do that.

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