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Find the Red Thread with Tamsen Webster

Podcast 187

Change doesn’t have to be painful. Tamsen Webster dives into the power of helping clients find their Red Thread and narrowing your marketing message to reach the audience you want!   

In this episode, Cathy and Tamsen a discuss: 

  • What the Red Thread is and how to find your Red Thread
  • Four qualities of a successful Red Thread for sales and marketing messages:
    1. Relevant – Answers the question how customers can get what they want
    2. Resilient – Must be able to stand up to rationalization of why they purchased
    3. Remarkable – Gives customers what they want in a way they don’t expect 
    4. Repeatable- Have an easy way to state it and share it with other people 
  • The importance of having a specific message and narrowing your target market 
  • The value of understanding your audience’s perspective of your products and services
  • How to know if a red thread is viable: 
    1. Audience Goal – What your audience wants that your product or service can help them get 
    2. Problem or Perspective – Two part problem: Articulates and describes the current lens used to solve the problem vs. the lens you use to solve it  
    3. Truth – Assumption that you have about the world or how it works, that makes the new problem impossible to ignore
    4. Change – Big shift in thinking or behavior that your idea, product or service, or even you, represent
  • What to know about marketing in the health and wellness industry vs. other industries 
  • Taking the pain out of change and making sure the cure isn’t worse than the diagnosis

Tamsen Webster has spent the last twenty years helping experts drive action from their ideas. Part message strategist, part storyteller, part English-to-English translator, her work focuses on how to find and build the stories partners, investors, clients, and customers will tell themselves—and others.

Tamsen honed her expertise through work in and for major companies and organizations like Johnson & Johnson, Harvard Medical School, and Intel, as well as with startups that represent the next wave of innovation in life science, biotech, climate tech, fintech, and pharma. She’s a professional advisor at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and a mentor for the Harvard Innovation Labs. She’s also served for over eight years as executive producer and idea strategist for one of the oldest locally organized TED Talk events in the world (TEDxCambridge).

She was a reluctant marathoner… twice, is a champion ballroom dancer (in her mind), and learned everything she knows about messages, people, and change as a Weight Watchers leader. True story.

Memorable Quotes:

  • “The story, the things that you’ve done in your life, the different things that you tell yourself, all have common elements…the Red Thread is that common element that runs through all the things that you do.”
  • “As counterintuitive as it may be, the narrower your focus in a particular message, the broader the reach because it’s much more likely that it’s going to be heard and acted on and talked about with other people.” 
  • “One of the biggest shifts that the Red Thread is all about, it’s looking at your products and services from the perspective of your audience…you’ll end up spending a lot less time focused on features and benefits and a lot more time talking about and connecting how that product or service helps your audience achieve a particular outcome or solve a problem.” 
  • “That’s our job, particularly in health and wellness, is to figure out how to make sure that the cure is not worse than the diagnosis, that we’re not asking them nor not asking people to do something that is harder for them mentally and emotionally.” 

Mentioned In This Episode:

Tamsen’s Book –

Tamsen’s Website –

 Links to resources:

Health Coach Group Website

 Get the book(s) 


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