Marketing Mise en place: Why Cooking up Great Copy is All About the Prep Work

Matt Erspamer By Matt Erspamer, Senior Copywriter & Movie Buff, Extra Mile Marketing

I watch a lot of Food Network programming.  

Barefoot Contessa is my personal favorite, but I don’t shy away from Chopped, Cutthroat Kitchen, or Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives, either.  

Absorbing all this culinary insight over the years has not only led to better cooking, but less stressful cooking. I attribute the latter to a concept I picked up from Ina Garten called “mise en place.”  

Mise en place, which is French for “put in place,” is the idea of getting everything ready before you start cooking. You chop your vegetables, measure your spices, and get all the utensils, pots, and pans you’ll need organized for the recipe ahead of time.  

Rather than running around like a chicken with its head cut off while trying to make white chicken chili (pun intended), implementing mise en place makes cooking much more efficient and enjoyable. Rather than waiting until I need garlic to chop it, or opening the canned beans and rinsing them right before they go into the pot, I do it all ahead of time and set them aside until I need them.  

Mise en place has done more than improve my kitchen skills, though. I’ve found it an invaluable concept when approaching a marketing campaign as well.  

At EMM, we do a lot of work with technology companies that often have very complex products or solutions. If we were to start writing about this technology without understanding it, it would lead to the marketing equivalent of an episode of Kitchen Nightmares.  

For the best results when creating marketing materials, you need to ensure that you fully understand what the technology is and does.  You also need to be able to translate the tech jargon before you begin writing. This means taking the minute details of a product’s features and turning them into benefits that a customer can relate to.  

In other words, before you start writing, you need to practice “marketing mise en place.” 

The same concept of getting ingredients ready before you need them still applies. But rather than onions, peppers, or paprika, it’s compiling brand, product, and persona information,  researching each before you dive into content creation for your campaign.  

For example: In a recent project that we worked on for Microsoft, we were asked to tailor our copy about Copilot for Microsoft 365 to speak to specific industry roles. 

Since Copilot is a new, advanced AI solution from Microsoft, it is constantly undergoing modifications and enhancements.  Therefore, it was absolutely essential to use the latest product information available. In addition, we needed to research how exactly Copilot for Microsoft 365 would help different target audiences and roles within key organizations to improve their job performance.  

So, rather than jumping to the email campaign with a role in mind and trying to find the relevant product or persona information when we needed it, we: 

- Determined the core audience for Copilot, and then the specific roles Microsoft was targeting. 

- Gathered all internal materials given to us by Microsoft into a consolidated ‘Resources’ folder 

- Read through these documents and pulled out any information that was relevant to the role we were targeting.  The information was then organized in a Messaging Framework.

- Put this copy aside for later use in our marketing recipe 

Doing these four things ahead of time is essential not just for saving time: it makes our writing stronger. Rather than looking for a stray piece of information about one of our target audiences scattered throughout large presentation decks, we already have it set aside.  

Researching and absorbing information before you write is just like reading a recipe before you start cooking: It’s easier and less stressful to get the job done when you know where you’re trying to end up. 



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