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One of your primary responsibilities as a product manager is to work with the marketing communications (marcom) department to formulate the key messages for marketing programs. The goal is to establish associations in customers' minds between your product and messages that will persuade them to buy.

The messages you formulate find their way into...

  • Advertisements
  • Brochures
  • Web sites
  • Tag lines
  • Press releases
  • Sales pitches

The following three approaches typically determine the key messages for successful marketing programs.

1. Portray your product as an antidote to a problem

Identify the top prospect problems in your target market and choose messages that portray your product as the antidote to these problems—which are those that prospective customer of your product would likely experience. The most powerful prospect problems are those that...

  • Are urgent
  • Are pervasive
  • Customers are willing to pay to solve

To determine the top prospect problems, go to your market:

  • Interview prospective customers one on one.

  • Conduct surveys that give respondents the opportunity to identify problems you may not anticipate.

Example: If frustration with a steep learning curve is the biggest problem for people trying to make copies, then present your copier brand as "people friendly."

2. Highlight the strength within your product's weakness

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Roger L. Cauvin is founder and principal consultant of Cauvin, Inc. (www.cauvin-inc.com). Reach him via roger@cauvin.org or his product management blog (cauvin.blogspot.com).