The Key to Marketing – Yes, M-A-M™!

Okay, so you’ve gotten a better handle on understanding social media, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle – in fact, it’s the last piece. When you are marketing something, be it a new gadget, a service, a solution, or yourself, you must look at the bigger picture. That bigger picture is taking the process in sequence and following through. There are no shortcuts for this, though, so if you’re ready to get started, say “Yes, M-A-M™!”

There are three main components to any approach to being persuasive as a campaign. After all, when you market something (or someone) you are attempting to persuade an unknowing audience to learn about what you have to say, and then become an advocate for it. Those three components are:

  1. Message
  2. Audience
  3. Medium

Each of these could be an encyclopedic volume of whats, hows, whys and wheres (not to mention “how-NOT-tos”) so bear with me as I necessarily abbreviate to the highlights.

Refinement Funnel

Reduce all possibilities into a focused plan of action

Our campaign is a process of whittling away unnecessary and extraneous elements from the wide possibilities and choices we have. In my own mind I often visualize a funnel, where all the possibilities enter into the wide end, but only the focused, tight campaign emerges from the little end.

To start off with, we have to have a good idea of what we are talking about in the first place. We’ll get to the who and how in a little bit, but we need to have a subject first. Understanding the scope of this subject will help us continue to refine and focus to make sure that we don’t get sidetracked, don’t waste energy, and don’t stretch ourselves too thin trying to say everything about everything to everyone.


Without question there has to be a clear message that is being conveyed. Surprisingly, this is the most difficult thing for people to do! Even if you have a product or service that you are trying to introduce, you still need to know what you’re going to say about it.

This message has different names. It could be the branding, or the identity. It’s the part of the story that you wish to convey.

Look at it this way: people have terrible memories. You get one shot to leave one thing in their minds. One. No matter how important each feature or benefit is, no matter how complex it gets, if you’re lucky and good at what you do (you can create your own luck), people will only remember one thing.

So… what is the one thing that you want people to walk away with and remember? That’s your message.


Okay, once you’ve figured out your message, your brand identity, you have to know who you’re going to share it with.

Sounds like a no brainer, doesn’t it? Apparently not.

All too often the phrase “if you build it, they will come” has been evoked as an axiom of sales and marketing. This is complete, 100% falsehood. More to the point, we don’t want it to be true. Who wants to leave the success of your message up to chance?

You need to know precisely who your audience is, the way they think, what they like and don’t like, how they behave, what they believe. You need to know where they “hang out,” be it physically or virtually online, because there’s no point in flooding the marketplace with your message if you’re audience isn’t going to be there.


This is tougher than it looks. All the talk about social media, twitter, facebook, etc. ignores some very fundamental truths about how audiences and media inter-react. I’ve read a few articles on social media for instance about who should be on it versus who shouldn’t be on it for delivering a message.

I’ve visited countless seminars on “how to use social media” for job hunting, product promotion, corporate identity and marketing, but the very questions themselves place the cart before the horse. Examining media as your how to reach your audience already presumes that you have learned about your audience!

In general, if you get to the answer “it depends” for which media you should chose, you haven’t gone through the M-A-M model in the proper steps. You either don’t understand your message or your audience well enough. If you had, then the medium would already be dictated by the previous two steps.


How brief can you get? Oh, I’m such a tease. In future blogs I’ll be giving some additional insights into how to work on the M-A-M model to help you improve approach to persuading people into action.

For now, its important to remember to focus and streamline your approach. This doesn’t make it any easier – in fact there are times when you will feel frustrated because you want to get to the “easy part,” whichever part of the model you feel you already understand. Perhaps you understand Twitter, but then you’ve already limited yourself to Twitter audiences and Twitter messages. Success using this backwards motivation can only come through luck, not by design.

Perhaps you understand your message – you know your product or service better than anyone around. You are, without a doubt, the best at what you do. How do the right people find out about you?

There is a marriage here, a process of understanding that leads us through the funnel and keeps us focused. Avoid the temptation to cheat on that marriage, and it will serve you well in the long run.

You can subscribe to this blog to get notifications of future articles in the column on the right. You can also follow me on Twitter: @jmichelmetz

M-A-M™ and Yes, M-A-M™ Copyright 1999-2010 J Michel Metz, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.


  • David Chu March 17, 2010 at 01:24

    You know J, I have a very similar marketing theory that I call ‘Bridges.’ The way I explain it to my clients is that you have to take your prospect from an emotional point A to point B. An important factor of point A is what emotional state your prospect is in when they see your AD.

    It all probably is the same thing, just rehashed in a different way.

    • J Michel Metz March 17, 2010 at 07:00

      I completely agree that there is a great deal of symmetry between the two metaphors. I would argue, though, that the emotional state of the audience is only one part of the equation, however:

      Granted it’s a large part – most customers *are* emotional buyers, but I believe that by focusing solely on that emotional part you miss opportunities for the audiences’ self-persuasion to kick in and you can – if it’s done improperly – risk the audience feeling as if it’s being manipulated.

      • David Chu March 17, 2010 at 11:21

        I agree with you. I also include the factors of logic and momentum. I didn’t do a good job elaborating, but the reason I spoke about emotions is because I believe it’s important to consider the emotional state of users depending on the medium that they are in. The reason why I think Search continues to be a very effective medium is because users enter a state of ‘buyer’s heat.’

        I would also point out that logic is heavily influenced by emotion. People will tell you that they bought a BMW because of it’s driving experience even though you can get a car with similar performance for half the price. On the B2B end, a good example would be, “Nobody ever got fired for buying Cisco.”

        There’s always a fine line to play. Which is why good marketers such as yourself are worth the money.

        Anyways. I don’t want to take up any more of your time. I really appreciate your blog.

  • J Michel Metz March 17, 2010 at 11:59

    That makes sense. I do like the phrase “buyer’s heat.” I have a series of Audience-related posts that are in the works, and I am planning on addressing this emotion/logic chicken-and-the-egg problem a little bit more in depth. At the moment, I’m attempting to rectify the scattershot approach to social media that essentially works under the principle that if you throw your message into a crowd it will hit *someone*, regardless of what that message is or who the crowd may be. I see a lot of damage to be undone due to social-media-as-panacea…

  • M-A-M™: The Art (and Work) of Blogging « J Metz's Blog June 10, 2010 at 10:49

    […] you’re not familiar with the M-A-M™ concept, the sequence is Message – Audience – Medium. Blogging is the Medium part, which means […]


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: