March 2006    Vol. 15, No. 3  REAP HOME PAGE  A publication of the Center for Rural Affairs    
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REAP Rural Business Roundtable

Topic: Words to Sell By
What's Your Marketing Message?

Every business sends a message in its marketing. Your message should be based on your unique, strategic position in the marketplace. What is your competitive advantage? Why will customers choose you over your competition?

If you are competing on price, your message is “low-price leader.” If you are competing on convenience, your message could be “one-hour service.” If you have a specific niche in the market, build on that, i.e. “attorney specializing in estate-planning.” Distinct, informative messages set you apart from your competition and help customers quickly decide you have what they need.

Some of the best company slogans focus on their customers’ needs and desires rather than the product’s attributes. Some examples are:

Slogan - Just Do It;  Company -  Nike;  Motivation - Customers want to reach their fitness goals

Slogan - Because You’re Worth It;  Company - L’Oreal;  Motivation - Bolsters customer’s self-image

Roundtable Discussion Questions

Brainstorm with roundtable participants to seek their help in answering the following questions for your business. Write your responses below or on another sheet.

1. How do you position your business in the market? How do you want customers to think of your business? Summarize your message in 50 words or less.

2. Do you have a business tagline or slogan? What is it?

Adapted from Business Plan In a Day, Rhonda Abrams, Palo Alto CA, 2005,

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