One-line Core Marketing Message vs. Positioning Statement
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One-line Core Marketing Message vs. Positioning Statement

marketing copywriting

By Karyn Greenstreet

Last week, I shared Donald Miller’s (Storybrand) one-liner core marketing message exercise with you. It’s a way of crafting and honing your core marketing message to create clarity in your marketing.

But a core marketing message and a positioning statement are slightly different, so let’s take a look at them.

Your core marketing message

The core marketing message creates an “opening statement” that captures people’s attention. It tells your audience how you help them solve a problem they have so they can reach their goals. These short, one-line statements can be used in several places:

  • When you’re at a networking event and someone asks you, “What do you do?”
  • As an opening paragraph on a home page or landing page on your website.
  • In the introduction to your blog or podcast.

You might need two of these core marketing messages: one for the top of your website’s home page, and a slightly altered one for the top of each page where you’re selling a product or service. On the home page, you want an overarching statement about who you help and what you help them with. When you’re designing a landing page to market your mastermind group, you’ll create a focused one-liner that says what this mastermind group helps them with. If you also sell coaching, consulting or workshops, you’ll create a one-liner for each of those offerings, too. 

Many small business consultants offer similar exercises and examples. An internet search will show you examples of other people’s core marketing message (literally, search for “core marketing message examples”). Donald Miller has a simple exercise to create your core marketing message. You can watch it on YouTube here.

Your positioning statement

Your positioning statement is used in your marketing to differentiate your product or service from your competitors. For instance, if there are other people running mastermind groups, your positioning statement will tell your audience why your group is different/better/unique. If you are a leadership coach, why is your coaching program or workshop different/better than the others they could hire? If you run retreat weekends, how is yours different from other weekends they could experience?

  • Sometimes it’s because of the focused set of topics you cover.
  • Sometimes it’s because you work with a narrow niche market and customize your products and services just for them.
  • Sometimes the “different/better” is because you are running the mastermind group or offering the coaching. Your personal brand differentiates you from others because of your knowledge, background, personality, etc.

Do not be concerned if you are similar to others. After all, there are millions of dentists in the world — do you think they are all absolutely unique? If you can highlight one thing that makes you stand out in a crowded marketplace, that’s enough.

Where the two statements align

The two statements can intersect when you have a unique approach to helping your clients reach their goals and/or you work with a unique audience compared to your competitors. For instance, I help people grow their small businesses. It’s a simple core marketing message and doesn’t capture attention. Lots of coaches/consultants help small business owners. What makes me different/better is that I have been a small business owner since 1994 and I’ve started five businesses and sold three of them. That makes me fairly unique among small business consultants. But is that enough? If I combine my core marketing message with my positioning statement, I can create a clear, focused marketing message: I help small business owners create thriving mastermind groups with the advice and support you need to move forward with confidence (compared to generic small business mastermind groups that serve the general population). 

Your homework: start with the two statements:

  1. Write your core marketing message: Who is your target audience, what problems are they trying to solve, and how do you help them reach their goals? 
  2. Write your positioning statement: Why is your mastermind group (or you as the facilitator) different/better than any other group they could join?

Can you combine the two statements into one powerful marketing message? Give it a whirl. You might have to write 10 different statements until you hit upon the one that resonates with you.


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