Introduction to Message Mapping for Effective Communication

By Wendy Covey | CEO and Co-Founder

A message map is a framework used to create compelling, relevant messages for various audience segments. It also serves as an organizational alignment tool to ensure message consistency. Whether you are launching your company, introducing the next big product, or preparing for other major marketing campaigns, messaging mapping is an important step in communicating effectively.

Faded Fall

There are numerous variations of message map frameworks out there, some very basic and some quite elaborate and complex. For the purpose of this introductory blog, I will cover the basic, core elements of a message map, applying them to a massively-popular fictitious company called Wendy's Widgets (WW).

WW is about to launch a major software upgrade. They have determined the launch date and key marketing activities, leading with an industry trade show. To prepare for these activities, product management, sales, and marketing meet to create a message map. 

5 Steps to Developing Message Mapping

  1. Identify key audience segments. Because the launch coincides with an industry trade show, there are several distinct groups of people that the WW staff will be targeting, including media, investors, existing customers, and potential customers. For a deeper dive, you can break these segment groups down further into audience persona profiles.
  2. Discuss high-level goals for the audience segment. What do we want from the audience? Product sales? Media coverage? Word-of-mouth references? What are potential roadblocks in the path to achieving these goals?
  3. Discuss core messages and speaking points. How can WW software be used? What are major benefits and features of the software? How is the software uniquely differentiated from competitive products? How will this software change the industry landscape? Does the software represent a business shift for WW? Does it have implications to other WW products? What major companies are using this software?
  4. Map key message to audience segments. Existing and potential customers will be more interested in benefits and features, while investors want context, such as how the product enhances the product platform or opens new application spaces for the business.


Snapshot of a Message Map Summary

Once the group has vetted their WW software upgrade message map, they may choose to test their messages with a limited group of their target audiences and with their sales force, which is often leads to some messaging iteration. The completed message map will be leveraged across multiple marketing activities, such as PR, email marketing, advertising, and presentations. It will also be distributed to sales to gain full alignment behind messages.

As the WW software launch is underway, marketing will measure results of individual activities and gather input from sales. This may lead to further messaging enhancements.

Way to go, Wendy's Widgets, in using message maps to develop and hone messages, forge organizational alignment, and ultimately grow software revenue.

Developing message maps requires knowing your business goals, buyers and key differentiators. Start developing your marketing foundation by downloading our ebook, "Smart Messaging for Engineers."

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Wendy Covey

CEO and Co-Founder

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