4 Steps to Creating a Message Matrix That Actually Communicates
If you’re running a Healthcare Organization, you can’t just try to reach potential patients. There’s more to your messaging than just a one-way sales pitch to get people in the door. More importantly, there’s more to your mission than proving patient care. As an organization leader, it’s your responsibility to be mindful of all the people with whom you connect and all the opportunities to connect with outsiders. You need a strategy to get people to believe in your brand. That’s where a message matrix comes in.
Know Your Audience
How do you get anyone to believe in your brand? You convince them to. And the only way you can successfully motivate someone to action is by getting inside their head, figuring out how they think, and speak their language. And the best way to reach various audiences is by using a Message Matrix.
If you’re a hospital and you’re concerned about HCAHPS scores, it’s your responsibility to educate your stakeholders about how scoring works. If you’re an organization, your Executive Board needs to understand the people you represent — having a multi-dimensional understanding of your mission and your outcomes. Your audience can change depending on your situation. When your audience changes so does your message and methodology.
Develop the Grid
Each one of your audience subgroups is going to have different needs and speak a different language. They’re all invested in your organization [or not] for a number of reasons. Think of them as different audience segments.
A Message Matrix is a grid of your audience segments, how they think, what you want them to think, and how you’re going to change the conversation. It’s a simple chart that breaks everything down into simple, easy-to-understand verbiage with action items.
The 4 Steps to a Healthcare Message Matrix
Step 1: WHO ARE WE TALKING TO?
- Identify your audience segments in an exhaustive list.
- Are you trying to reach moms?
- Members of the media?
- Current patients?
- All of the above?
Look at your business from every angle and figure out who you’re connecting with and who you want to connect with. The first step to reaching the right people is knowing who they are.
Step 2: HOW DO THEY THINK NOW?
Do a little research to understand the current perceptions about your organization. Conduct some interviews and gather testimonials. Consider using a third party to make the phone calls and collect the data to not bias the subject.
This is about asking the tough questions and probing for constructive criticism or dissatisfied patients. And if one of the perceptions are “I don’t really know about you,” that’s fine because now you know you’ve got a clean slate to work with.
Step 3: WHAT DO WE WANT THEM TO THINK?
More often than not, the current perceptions don’t align with the expected perceptions. So now it’s time to go segment-by-segment and decide what you want them to think.
The benefits of working with you can be different for each one of your audience segments, so think about the best method of persuasion. If they think negatively about you, what can you say to change their minds? If they don’t think of you at all, what qualities do you want to put out there first?
Step 4: WHERE DO WE PUT THE MESSAGE?
Think strategically about where these people are. Each one is reachable in one way or another — by mail, online, in person, in print, on-the-go — and you can put your message right in front of them. Sometimes the solution is as simples as a hand-delivered note and sometimes you need a regional PR campaign.
Your healthcare brand hinges on perception. It’s based on how a brain processes information and filters out the noise. So in order to actually reach someone, you can’t sound like noise. The Message Matrix is designed to help you cut through the noise by systematically figuring out what your people know and teach them what they need to know.
Planning out your Message Matrix should be a quarterly or annual task. The point is to thoughtfully address all of your audiences on a continuous basis.