Better Marketing Strategies for Catering Part 2: How to Craft a Marketing Message that Resonates

Some people make marketing and messaging sound easy. Just tell a story. Keep it short—less is more. Show them, don’t tell them. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes. What’s keeping them up at night—and what solutions do you offer them? That’s all well and good, but how do you choose your words? How do you actually craft a marketing message that does all that?

That’s what we’re going to discuss—the actual nuts and bolts of how to craft a marketing message that resonates with your prospects and clients.

All the things we mentioned in the first paragraph are true. You want to tell a story. Everyone loves a good story. That’s why testimonials (particularly video testimonials) and personal anecdotes are always your first choice in marketing. A good quote from someone is more likely to feel like a personal recommendation to someone encountering your business for the first time.

Keeping it short is a must. Say enough to pique your audience’s interest and leave them wanting more—so they’ll contact you for the rest of the story.

And show them, don’t tell them. This video about a blind man shows how a slight change in perspective can make all the difference in the world. In the first part of the video, the blind man is not getting many donations. However, after a woman makes a slight change to his sign, the donations come pouring in. What did she say that made the difference? (You’ll have to watch the video or read our previous blog to find out.)

But how do you actually make the edits you need to create an effective message?

Let’s look at a specific example, so you can get an idea of what kinds of word choices and edits can make your message more powerful.

In Better Marketing Strategies for Catering Part 1: How Will You Talk to Your Audience, we talked about better ways to say, “We’re the best catering company for weddings and large corporate affairs, with flexible food options for every location and special needs diets.”

This message is too long and too clunky to be an effective tagline. It’s also very boring and generic. There’s no magic in this phrase. A general rule of thumb is that you need to catch your audience’s attention in the first five words.

One of the alternatives we came up with to this statement was:

The food you want, the service you need

How did we actually go from the really long statement about corporate events and weddings to this short, succinct eight-word phrase?

There were three major factors: 1. Word play and brainstorming. 2. Editing—lots of it. 3. Customer needs, wants, and desires.

If you look back at “Part 1” of this blog, you can see some of the brainstorming ideas we came up with. That flow of ideas led to this tagline:

From weddings to corporate events—flexible food, impeccable service when you need it

It’s good. There are a lot of things to like in this tagline. It hits all the points from our original phrase. “Impeccable service” sounds pretty exciting. However, the phrase is still too long. We felt like it was getting there, but it wasn’t quite right yet.

The first thing that nearly always adds power to your messaging is making it shorter. We asked, do we really need to state the kind of event we want to cater? That seemed like the most expendable bit of information; therefore, it was the easiest to cut. From there, we came up with:

Flexible food when you want it, impeccable service when you need it

Ah! Much better already. But then, in staring at that phrase, someone saw a parallel in the two phrases and a way to shorten it even more to its simplest parts:

The food you want, the service you need

And that is how we started with:

We’re the best catering company for weddings and large corporate affairs, with flexible food options for every location and special needs diets.

And ended with:

The food you want, the service you need

What’s nice about the last phrase too is that its brevity automatically adds a sense of urgency. What you want—what you need—we have both. Right here. Right now. Immediately. Call us.

It gets to some of the major concerns clients may have about hiring a caterer, too. Will the food be satisfying? Can you cater to our special needs diets? Will you be able to handle all our guests and give us the service we need during our board meeting? This tagline says, “Yes” to all those questions.

One thing that’s important to develop is awareness—which can grow and improve over time. If you’re not born with it, don’t worry. Keep working at it. But with proper awareness, you can start recognizing if a marketing message isn’t working. Is it too long? Too clunky? Just not hitting the nail on the head like you think it should? Doesn’t matter—even if you don’t know how to fix it, recognizing that something needs to be fixed is a huge first step. Because then, you can seek help in fixing it.

We hope that walking through this one example of how a tagline evolved helps get you thinking of how you can craft and edit your own messaging. Because with all the words that are out there in the English language, how on earth do you choose the right words that will resonate with prospective clients and spur them to take action? Now you have a solid example of the mindset that goes into choosing those words.

And remember, if all else fails, you can always hire a copywriter.