Making the Main Thing the Main Thing in Your Marketing Message

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You've probably heard the proverb, "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing." It sounds easy. But when you've got a myriad of potential marketing messages swirling around your mind, it's anything but easy. You know your business like no one else does. You know what services you offer, what benefits you provide-most likely there are many. You know what your mission is, what your goals are, what you're proud of. You may want to mention them all, or at least a few of them.

But studies show that mentioning more than one main idea is actually counterproductive. When it comes to marketing, you want to make the main thing the main thing. Not that you can't have sub-messages that are part of the main message, but you need to have one core idea that you emphasize and flesh out in your marketing pieces. One key concept that you are known for.

For example, Southwest Airlines. What are they known for? Low fares. Are they a quality company? Yes. Do they offer good service? Yes. But if they had tried to emphasize all of these things, they would have diluted their message. What they want to be known for is low fares. People come to them for low fares, and they get the quality and service as a bonus.

So how do you figure out what your Main Thing is? Follow this brainstorm session to get you started:

  • Consider all the ways you benefit your customers.
  • What main benefit are you providing them that you do better than your competitors?
  • What is it that your loyal customers rave about?
  • What do you do that speaks most powerfully to your customers' needs and/or desires?
  • If someone asked you why he or she should choose to do business with you rather than with your competitors, what would you say?
  • What is your company's passion? What makes you unique?

Finding and sticking to your Main Thing has two key benefits: it helps people to remember your message and spread it more easily, and it helps you to make good decisions because you won't get sidetracked by the "good but not best."

People in today's world of digital media have short attention spans. According to, they encounter an average of 2000 advertising messages each day. No one is going to remember a complicated message, or a message with multiple emphases. In order for your message to be remembered, it must be simple. And you don't want people to only remember your message-they key to invaluable word-of-mouth is to make your message easy to pass along. So, make your message a single core idea.

Sticking to your Main Thing also serves as a guide to help you make good decisions. Back to Southwest-at one point, they were approached by a customer who wanted them to serve chicken salad on flights. She was a frequent flyer, and a good customer. Southwest has a policy of listening, so they took her suggestion seriously. Ultimately, guided by their Main Thing of being "The Low-Fare Airline," they decided against offering chicken salad because offering meals would mean that they would have to raise their fares significantly. If they hadn't known and stuck to their Main Thing, they could have gotten off on a tangent and lost their unique marketing advantage.

So if you want your message to be remembered and passed along, if you want to be known for your uniqueness, find you Main Thing and stick to it. You'll find your business growing as a result.

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Laura MacPherson has 1 articles online

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Making the Main Thing the Main Thing in Your Marketing Message

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This article was published on 2010/04/01