Mays Business School
Venture Voices

The Three M’s of Marketing: Message

Posted on February 5, 2013
Todd Sorrel
President of Select Premium
Todd Sorrel ‘96 has been an Austin Aggie since graduation. He worked for Motorola and A.G. Edwards before founding Select Premium in 2003. Select Premium is a premium finance company that prides itself on innovation, ease-of-use, and a focus on its relationships with independent insurance agents. Since 2003 he’s grown the company to five employees and has clients in four states. Select Premium has won the Aggie 100 for three straight years. Todd adores his Longhorn wife, Meghan, daughter Paige (4), son John (2), and new son Ford (1 mo.). Todd loves to write, golf, travel, and hang-out with the family.

New England Patriots wide-out Wes Welker wears Depends. Actually Clay Matthews and Demarcus Ware have also strapped these bad-boys on too. As part of the ‘Great American Try-On’ these NFL tough guys wore a pair of adult-diapers. I can imagine this flying over well in the locker room. At least Wes and Demarcus are married. Clay, I won’t tell your girlfriend, but it’s time to fire your agent and find a new endorsement deal. I have no doubt these players were handsomely paid, but here’s what Kimberley-Clark, maker of Depends, knows that we don’t. Incontinence can come at any age - man or woman. Kimberly-Clark’s target market is not only the elderly, but anyone who suffers from this condition. There goes the stereotype. Here’s their message / slogan – Discreet Protection for Your Lifestyle. In other words, no one has to know you’re wearing these beauties whether you’re active or not.

In a world of one hundred and forty characters, your message has to be laser-accurate. The two most frequent used message styles today are slogans and elevator pitches. The company message shouts their identity and is the megaphone for the target market. The message answers the ‘who’ and the ‘what’. It’s not going to give the ‘how’ and ‘why’. If you win your marketplaces’ attention, they’ll want to learn the latter on their own. First, here’s a few interesting slogans. I have no idea what a couple of these are aiming at: Jaquar – “Grace, Space, Pace” (I can feel that), Diesel – “Be Stupid” (what the …), L’Oreal – “Because You’re Worth It” (yes I am), Google – “Don’t Be Evil” (thanks, I try not to be) and Sony – “Make Believe” (their prices sometimes are).

The second message style is an elevator speech. I missed a golden opportunity in 2003 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin. At the time, I was a money manager with A.G. Edwards. I was on the fourth floor and heading to the lobby. I entered the elevator and there stood wearing a tee-shirt, jeans, and sneakers was Michael Dell. Talk about a captivated audience. I knew I had at least two minutes of his undivided attention. It was my chance to deliver an elevator speech in the elevator to one of Texas’s richest businessmen. I whiffed. We had small talk and parted ways in the lobby. I blew a great opportunity to at least communicate: who I am, what I do, I’m taking on new clients, and would you like to open an account?

Create your message by keeping it memorable and short like a slogan and an elevator pitch. Have the company team memorize it and be ready for the moment of opportunity. Most of all appeal to your marketplace by standing out from the herd of competition. Remember that if the NFL’s best can pitch disposable undergarments, you can pitch anything.

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  1. Now if those big football players are really wearing depends, then I would be SHOCKED. That just doesn’t seem possible to me, unless they really have to pee during games and can’t wait to get to the locker room.

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