Let your customers craft your product messaging
No, this isn’t a suggestion to be lazy. It’s a recommendation to improve and strengthen your message-market fit.
Organizations often approach product messaging from an inside-out process, brainstorming with colleagues to describe the best features and benefits based on their internal perspective. That’s a fine start, but it doesn’t always produce the best results. To craft great product messaging, you need to hear it directly from your customers.
Here’s an approach to get your customers to write (well, not literally) your key message points for you:
Talk to your best customers. By best I mean the types of customers you’d like more of: Those who are delighted with your product because it delivers the results they need. Interview them one-on-one and ask a series of open ended questions. Some questions that I include in most interviews include:
In your own words, how would you describe our product?
What challenges was your company/department facing when you decided to search for a solution like this one?
What led you to believe our product was the right solution for your company?
How has this product helped you address your challenges?
What tangible benefits have you experienced?
Discover how you can strengthen your product messaging by incorporating the customer’s words, descriptions and even emotions.
Engage with end users if they are not the economic decision makers in the purchase. End users may not be the ultimate decision makers, but they are certainly strong influencers. Their experience with your product can make or break the next contract renewal. Ask them a few of the same questions you ask the key decision makers and see how their answers compare. How can you segment your product messaging to address both economic buyers and product users?
Assess your competitors’ messaging. You want to make your message distinct from your competitors. Capture each competitors’ stated value proposition and key message points listed on their website home page, product pages, social media, and collateral. How does your value proposition and key message points compare?
Put a messaging framework draft together.
Keep it simple, because this isn’t your final piece. It’s a document you will use to test the strength of your B2B product messaging based on how your customers perceive your value. Here’s what you want to validate:
• The top three challenges faced by your customers
• The impact of these challenges on their department and/or company
• Your value proposition (I often provide three to see which one resonates most)
• Three to five key benefits of your solution
Test it out
There are several ways to test your value proposition and messaging to see how well you’ve nailed it.
Go back to your best customers and get their feedback
Schedule one-on-one meetings with those same ideal customers who provided initial feedback. Ask them to:
• Validate their needs and challenges, and the impact those have on their business.
• Explain which value proposition they feel best describes your solution and why
• Choose the benefits that are most important to them
Use audience panels to test message-market fit
The benefit of audience panel surveys and message testing is that they are relatively easy to deploy, and responses are typically fast (sometimes within hours). In my experience responses are candid, sometimes brutal (that’s okay – it provides you with information to improve)
Depending on the platform you choose, you can define your B2B audience based on buyer persona, title, industry, company size and other attributes. Pay only for completed surveys ro responses. Survey companies – like Survey Monkey, Pollfish and others – offer these types of services.
One of my favorite services is Wynter for B2B value proposition and message testing. Take your value proposition and key messaging points and mockup a web page. Post it to Wynter, select your target audience, and if you wish, customize your questions. You’ll get candid, qualitative feedback usually within 48 hours or less.
Test the new message points during prospect sales calls
Revise your company’s sales deck with your new value proposition and messaging, team up with a few salespeople, and use the updated deck during prospect calls to introduce your product. What’s the reaction?
Ask prospects specifically what they liked about your presentation, what they didn’t understand, and what failed to resonate. Now you have more feedback to improve your product messaging.
Talk it up internally
If you’ve gathered customer and prospect feedback, crafted and refined your messaging framework, make it everyone’s responsibility to adopt it.
Present your new messaging framework internally to everyone in your organization, because how people talk internally about your value proposition is how they will talk externally about it. Consistency matters.
It’s not a one-and-done
Gathering customer feedback and testing your product messaging takes time, but it’s an investment that will deliver a much higher ROI:
• Attract the best-fit customers for your products and services
• Distinguish yourself from competitive solutions
• Establish consistent messaging across all channels
But the benefits will erode if you don’t continue to monitor and measure market feedback. New market trends emerge, new competitors enter the market, customers expect more as technology evolves. Depending on your industry, product, competitive environment, and target markets, re-evaluate your messaging on a regular basis, at least every six months.
Always keep your customers and prospects at the center of your product marketing strategy, and let their voice come through in your product messaging.
Need help with your B2B Product Messaging? We can help. Book a 30 minute strategy call and see if our service is right for you.