The 3M of Marketing


Put them in the wrong order and you might not get any results.

Marketing is a complex and dynamic field that requires careful planning and strategic thinking. I have seen countless businesses struggle with their marketing efforts because they fail to follow a logical and effective approach. One technique that I have found to be particularly useful is the “3Ms of Marketing”: Market, Messages, and Medium. By considering these three elements in the right order, businesses can create targeted and impactful marketing communications that yield results.

Let me illustrate the power of the 3Ms technique with a true story. Julie, a jeweler, sought my advice on whether she should invest in a better website or a printed brochure to promote her products. Many workshop participants in similar situations tend to argue for one medium over another based on its versatility or visual appeal. However, Julie’s question was misguided. It focused on the medium rather than the market segments and the message. To help her make the right decision, I delved deeper into her business.

Julie had two distinct types of jewelry: fine silver jewelry and brightly colored acrylic jewelry. Each product catered to a different market segment: wealthy middle-aged ladies and teenage girls, respectively. While Julie viewed her business as one integrated entity, her customers perceived it as two different businesses. This realization was crucial.

Applying the 3Ms of Marketing, we first examined the fine silver jewelry. The market was clearly wealthy middle-aged ladies. Next, we crafted a message that would resonate with this audience – words like “elegant,” “exclusive,” “handmade,” “expensive,” and “classic.” Finally, we determined the most appropriate medium to deliver this message, which led us to glossy lifestyle magazines. These magazines aligned with the customers’ preferences and served as a suitable platform to convey the message of elegance.

Moving on to the brightly colored acrylic jewelry, we repeated the 3Ms technique. The target market was teenage girls, and the message centered around words like “fun,” “inexpensive,” “colorful,” and “cool.” To reach this audience effectively, we recognized that social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and text messages were the most appropriate mediums.

The 3Ms technique ensures that marketing communications are designed with clarity and precision for each target audience and product. It begins by selecting the target markets, followed by determining the marketing messages specific to each segment. Only then do we consider the most suitable medium or media to convey those messages. This approach leads to focused and impactful marketing strategies.

Many marketing communications go wrong because the medium is decided too early in the process, without considering the target audience and message. Leaflets may be produced without a clear distribution plan or a radio advertisement chosen based on another business’s success. By starting with the audience and working backward to the message and medium, we make more informed decisions.

The power of the 3Ms technique lies in its ability to guide businesses toward precise conclusions. Participants in my workshops often find their initial answers to marketing dilemmas significantly different from their final conclusions. By following the 3Ms one step at a time, in a logical order, they arrive at conclusions that make perfect sense for their specific business, products, and target markets.

To optimize your marketing communications, I encourage you to apply the 3Ms technique. Start by reviewing your target markets for each product or service, then define the marketing messages tailored to each segment. Finally, consider the most appropriate medium to convey those messages effectively. By embracing this methodology, you can achieve greater clarity, increase your sales and profits, and make the most of your marketing resources.

Remember, the 3Ms of Marketing – Market, Messages, and Medium – should always be considered in the right order. Put them in the wrong order, and you might not get the results you desire.

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