Column: M&M’s – The Sweet Spot of Marketing

By George Farris

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – In theory, marketing your product, service or nonprofit should be easy. You have only two components on which to focus – and no, they are not plain or peanut. The M and M’s of marketing are Message and Media. Finding the right combination of message and media is not easy but there are proven formulas that can help. 

Some people believe that a marketing message needs to be emotional or contain some emotional aspect so it can move a prospect to action. But the formulas for messages that move people to action are even more basic.

The most successful marketing messages for businesses have first identified the pain a prospect is experiencing. That pain might be the cost involved in completing a needed task. The pain could be how easily or difficult it is to accomplish a goal.

Sometimes, you can identify a pain the prospect didn’t know was a pain. For example, let’s say you sell lawnmowers. Some people enjoy cutting the grass but most people look at it as a chore or work. If you are selling lawnmowers, the pain you want to focus on is the chore or work aspect of cutting the lawn. Your mower might make cutting the lawn faster, or easier. So that should be your focus.


Will you be the only company to claim your lawnmower reduces the work a homeowner will experience? No, of course not. But that’s where features come in.

Your message will also present proof that your machine relieves the pain of grass cutting better or faster than your competitor. That proof may come in the form of features your product has but the competitor does not. Your claim to be better at relieving the pain of grass cutting could be proven in the form of testimonials, consumer reviews or ratings. When it comes to developing a great marketing message, always focus on finding the pain and providing the solution to that pain.


Marketers today have many more choices. In one sense, that makes it easier. On the flip side, though, hitting on the right one can be costly and time-consuming. So what can you do?

Often it’s a good idea to use a combination of media like print and TV, digital and billboards, paid social media and sandwich boards (kidding – just wanted to see if you are paying attention).

Identify your best customers and their demographics and seek the media that best reaches those demographics. Find out which media your competitors use. Media selection doesn’t always have to be based on budget or demographics.

If your product needs explanation or demonstration, video-based media such as TV, pre-roll ads on YouTube, or video on social media, etc., might provide a better response.

Your marketing sweet spot is the combination of the right media and the right message. It may take a while to find and may change as the market matures. But it’s worth the effort.

George Farris is CEO of Farris Marketing and Strategix Social. Email