Guest post by Amir Bazrafshan
“Should I be on TikTok?”.
A question I’ve heard many times of late. But no matter who’s asking me the question, my answer is the same.
TikTok is a booming platform, there’s no doubt about it. But it’s the wrong question. It’s focused on channel and tactics rather than something far more essential.
We’ll dive into exactly what that is, with some better questions to ask later.
But before that you’ll learn about three words that will help to make you a better marketer.
How To Unlock The Potential In Your Business
I get where the TikTok question comes from. We all want to do better marketing. We want results that help us to unlock the potential that we know exists in our business.
But, too often, we dive straight into tactics. Then get frustrated when our efforts have no lasting impact.
Where’s that increase in enquiries and sales that we want? Or that larger audience we’re after?
Random tactics are great at producing frustration.
Results that will grow your brand? Not so much.
But how can we expect this growth if we’re not doing the best kind of ground work first?
The implication of tactics without strategy is waste.
Wasted time. Wasted effort. Wasted money. It means that potential that we know is lurking in our businesses stays locked in.
Can you really afford that?
Trying random tactics is like having a huge bunch of keys and trying them haphazardly in the hope that one will fit.
The correct thing to do is study the lock and fashion a key that’s perfect for it.
You need a strategy and I want to share a powerful principle – those three words I mentioned at the top of the page – to help you fashion one that’s perfect for your brand.
Even if you’ve heard of the principle, I’m confident that it will fast become one of the best tools you have for unlocking potential in your business and enabling highly effective marketing.
These are the three words that could change your approach to marketing forever.
Market. Message. Media.
The 3Ms of Marketing
I first came across this principle in a book by Dan Kennedy (No BS Direct Marketing).
The idea is that you need to match your market to your message and then make sure you’re using the right media.
All three must be in alignment with each other, otherwise you drastically jeopardise the quality of your marketing.
It sounds so simple that you could be fooled into thinking that it’s a pointless exercise.
But think about the different combinations that you could put together. There are many more ways that you can get this wrong than right.
In fact, there are seven ways you can misalign the 3Ms but only one way to get it right.
What’s the cost of misfiring with this principle?
Not getting this right or not considering it at all means that from the outset you’re fighting a losing battle.
Kennedy likes to use the analogy of a three-legged stool. You need each one to be in place.
Remove one of the legs and the stool falls over.
But, put in the effort to get the market, message and media matched and it opens so many possibilities for your marketing.
You’ll start getting the attention of your ideal customer. Engagement will creep up. Your audience will grow. Enquiries and sales will increase.
It’s called Highly Effective Marketing.
You do Highly Effective Marketing when you have a solid strategy.
Getting your market, message and media matched helps you to form that strategy.
Know Your Market, Message and Media
Soon I’m going to share some questions and prompts to help you understand the three areas of this principle so you can start using it yourself.
But first, let’s take a deeper dive into those areas so we have total understanding of this powerful principle.
Your “Market” Is your WHO
Your market is who you are targeting. Ever tried archery blindfolded? This is what you’re doing when you don’t have a clearly defined target market.
Note that I said “clearly defined”. Only using demographics (age/gender) is generally only a fraction of the job. While this might be useful in some cases, what we want to be doing is to go deeper.
By deeper I mean into common problems, needs and desires that your audience has. What beliefs and values do they have in common? This is the realm of psychographics and will pay greater dividends.
Because when you publish content and ads that speak directly to specific beliefs, problems and desires you’re more likely to get those all important building blocks of a relationship: attention and engagement.
Your Message is Signal
Want to catch a fish? Use worms. Not an old boot.
Dan Kennedy calls it “match bait to critter”.
This is his way of saying, make sure your message is one that is appropriate to and will resonate with your audience.
This is where intimate knowledge of your market pays dividends. Once you know exactly who you’re targeting you can design messaging that speaks directly to them.
Such messaging is a signal amongst noise.
Know your market and you can choose language, imagery and tone that stands out to them.
You can talk about results and outcomes that you know they are after.
If this is the upside to knowing your market in greater detail, why wouldn’t you do that work?
Media is a pipe connecting you and your audience
Mark Ritson describes media as a pipe that connects a brand to their market. Your content is what you put through those pipes.
But you need to choose the right pipes. Again, it comes down to knowing your market and having the right messaging.
Potential media are TV ads, radio, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, sponsorships, product placement, TikTok, outdoor ads, email, direct mail.
You get the idea.
There’s such a large pool to choose from. So how do you make sure you’re investing your time and money into the right one?
You look at your market. Where are they?
You look at your message. What’s appropriate?
Then you make a choice based on that important information.
To go back to the question at the very start. TikTok might be the cool new platform, but is your market on there and is your message one that’s appropriate for such a tool?
If not, it is entirely OK to ignore it.
One of the best things about strategy is that it informs us on what not to do.
Just because it’s new and shiny doesn’t mean you have to do it.
Same with Facebook ads – same with print ads – same with podcasting.
If your market isn’t into those things or on those platforms and your messaging doesn’t fit, ignore them.
It’s also important to mention that it is generally best not to stick to just one or two. There are benefits in being on a variety of channels, using several different media. You just need to be sure that they’re apt for your market and the message you’re sending.
Find the media that matches your market and message and focus on them.
How to Align Your Market, Message and Media
This all sounds wonderful. But how do we go about getting that all important market, message, media match?
By asking and answering the right questions. As it happens, I have a few to get you started.
Questions to help define your market:
Who do you ideally want your customer to be?
What are their key problems and needs that you know you can help them with?
Questions to help define your message:
With your market in mind…
What core messaging is most likely to resonate with them?
How do they need to regard your brand in order to be engaged by it?
Questions to help define your media:
With your market and message in mind…
Which platforms is your market most likely to be on (list them all)?
Which media would your message be most impactful on?
Is there any particular type of media your market tends to engage with over another?
While this list of questions isn’t exhaustive, there’s more than enough for you to dig in and get market, message, media match.
In all of my years as a professional marketer and running an agency, the one commonality I’ve found in brands that do great marketing is that they’re willing to put in the ground work.
Brands that struggle? They ignore that and jump ahead to tactics.
That’s the choice between potential staying locked in your business and practicing Highly Effective Marketing.
I’m on Twitter (@apricot_amir) if you have any questions.
Thank you for reading.