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So What? Making the Most of Your Marketing Messages

Ever heard the phrase “they can’t see the forest through the trees”? This likely happens to you when reviewing your marketing messages. It’s hard to remove yourself and forget everything you know about your brand, service, or product to understand how others perceive your message. 


You could spend millions of dollars on marketing and still have prospective customers not know what you can do for them. In order to make the most of every dollar you spend, use the “SO WHAT” litmus test on your messaging. Let’s take a look at 2 examples:

  • Draft message from a university: “Great dorms, top-notch classes, and well-recognized sports programs”
  • SO WHAT? A prospective student looks at this and says, so what? Every college says that… they’re no different than the rest of them. They toss the direct mail piece and ignore every email that comes in.
  • Let’s revise that: “Newly renovated dorms with kitchens and fun weekly programming, classes to prepare you for internships with local sports teams, TV stations, and fashion brands, and a range of sports teams from club to Division II. Let’s create your perfect college experience together at”
  • SO….mom, what about this college?…this actually sounds really great, I want to learn more. See the difference? Hone in on your message, don’t be too generic, and let a professional help you with the “SO WHAT” litmus test.


Following us so far? Let’s look at another example for a product:

  • Draft message for new bedsheets: “1000 thread count sheets in 30 colors from a world-renowned sheet manufacturer”
  • SO WHAT? You and every other sheet manufacturer want to talk about thread count and what does “world-renowned” mean to a buyer? Not a whole lot.
  • Let’s revise that: “Buttery soft sheets in beautifully muted or vibrant colors to match your decor. Join the thousands of customers around the world who can’t stop raving about “the sheets that give you the best night’s sleep”. 
  • SO….what am I waiting for? These sound so cozy, I want them on my bed yesterday. Focusing on what matters to someone who is shopping for sheets and not worrying about touting the brand or the thread count helps to tell the story of “why should I look at these sheets before any others?”.


The “SO WHAT” litmus test works, and as hard as it is to step back, take a breath, and remove yourself from the marketing message, we can guarantee it’s worth the effort. That said, it truly is hard to see the forest through the trees sometimes, so let an independent third party help. Whether it’s the marketing pros at Kirkwood Direct or even a panel of prospective customers, other voices are useful and can be sure you pass the “so what” test.

…So what are you waiting for? Contact us today so we can put your messaging to the test.


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