Brainstorming key messaging using a whiteboard

Why do I have to create key messaging?

Key messaging helps you articulate the core message you want to convey and hones your story, so your marketing is focused on the right story for the right audience. It also succinctly describes what it is about your firm that sets it apart from its peers, and ensures everyone in your organization is telling the same story.

This is especially important for financial services firms, which typically offer abstract or hard-to-explain products, operate in an industry that people find intimidating and face the unfortunate challenge of being perceived as overvalued.

Here are three reasons to create key messaging:

1. People don’t know what you do

While the above statement may not be entirely true, we think it’s good to act as though it is. “Distilling your story so it is short, authentic and memorable is key,” says Laurie Lupton, Ext.’s Vice President of Accounts and Client Strategy. “Understanding how you differentiate yourself from your competition is critical too.”

“We often work with incredibly talented people running successful businesses. Yet their websites and pitchbooks, for example, may not clearly tell their story. Key messaging describes what you do succinctly so your clients and prospects will understand what you do,” says Lupton.

2. People in your firm may describe what you do in different ways

If your business is being described to others in multiple ways, it can cause confusion and lost opportunities. After running many key messaging projects, Lupton says she’s no longer surprised when she hears a client say, “I’ve never thought of that before,” or “I wasn’t expecting that, but you’re right.”

As your business evolves over time, your marketing can become stale. What or who you were five years ago, might not be who you are today or what your business may evolve into in the future. “If you don’t know how to articulate what you do,” says Lupton, “how will anyone else understand it, let alone purchase your product or service?”

3. Marketing is easier once you complete your key messaging exercise

Your key messaging is the framework for all your marketing, from websites to brochures, pitchbooks and social media posts. If you’re ever in doubt about something you’ve written or designed, you can refer to your key messaging and ask yourself if you’re delivering on its promises. It acts as a “source of truth” to help you stay true to your brand and messaging.

To create effective key messaging, you need to confirm your goals, outline the framework you want to work in, interview key stakeholders and separate the wheat from the chaff (not everything you uncover will be useful). You then need to integrate the messaging across your marketing.

Looking for help with your key messaging?

Ext. Marketing has developed a framework we’ve refined over many years and projects. Our experience plays a crucial role in identifying gaps and drawing out the best insights for the future success of your firm.

Contact us today at or 1.844.243.1830 to learn how we can provide you with the support you need.