Marketing B2B Marketing Data & Privacy

An easy hack for improving B2B messaging effectiveness

By Scott Gillum | Carbon Design

November 15, 2022 | 6 min read

Here’s how to fix your messaging in two hours or less. Get ready to get mapping, writes Carbon Design’s Scott Gillum.


There is a very good chance that your messaging is not reaching an important audience. In fact, I can guarantee it. How can I make this statement? It is based on the “4 C’s:” change, communication, coordination and collaboration. Over the last three years, organizations have experienced dramatic change in their industries, workplace and outlook.

In a very short period, companies have experienced labor shortages followed by layoffs, supply chain disruptions to overstocked inventories, an economy that has bounced back, and is now headed toward a recession.

The only certainty (as they say) is change. As a result, this requires a significant shift in your communication from one messaging (capturing growth, for example) to the next (now operating efficiency), to align with the market. It requires coordination and collaboration within all parts of the organization to have everyone on the same page.

How many organizations do you know that can do all this well, and do it quickly? It’s why I feel confident in my statement. I’ve also seen it play out with clients during this timeframe. It’s not for the lack of trying, in fact, it may be a result of trying to move too fast.

Here’s the hack - how you can fix it and do it in two hours or less

One of the first steps when doing messaging with clients is to map audiences. It’s a relatively easy exercise and always produces key insights and takeaways. The key is getting the right groups into the room.

You’ll need representation from sales, marketing, product and perhaps, customer service. We recommend keeping the group to eight to 10 senior managers, those most knowledgeable about customers and their needs.

For the workshop, you will want to pre-populate an audience map. On one axis, list buyers – I recommend the following: decision maker, budget holder, user and influencer. On the other axis, list a pillar message from your value proposition, something like, quality, efficiency, innovative, etc. Try keeping this to three to five pillars.

If that works out to a 4x4 map, then plot the titles of your key audiences. For example, the CFO may be in the cell of “Budget Holder” and receiving the “Efficiency” value messaging. Buyers may cross over pillar messaging; they may be getting “quality and innovation” messaging for example.

Try putting together a “strawman” to start and then have the group give feedback. The insights will become obvious right from the beginning. Here are some of the things you’ll soon learn”

  • There are audiences missing from the map. Sales and/or the product organization will add decision makers, and customer service will add users.

  • The group (probably sales) will want to add new value pillar/s - something they have been using prospects, but have not shared with marketing

  • At some point, sales will recognize that one of their key audiences or more, is receiving the wrong messaging.

  • You’ll also discover some important audience/s (most likely “users”) are missing most of the messaging.

  • And finally, you’ll also realize sales and marketing coverage of key buyers probably could, and should, be better coordinated.

As a group, you’ll all start to realize you haven’t been on the same page. Then you’ll recognize how important it is to find the time get everyone in one room, especially when so much has happened.

This change hasn’t been gradual or incremental, it’s been one of wild swings. A shift like that is difficult to stay in front of with effective messaging. Too much has changed in too short of a timeframe.

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It’s why the two-hour workshop “hack” I just described can eliminate hours of wasted effort. And now is the perfect time to get the group together and get aligned with the market, your key audiences and internally for 2023.

Good luck, and happy mapping!

Scott Gillum is CEO and founder of Carbon Design.

For more tune into a replay of B2B World Fest.

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