Messaging: Validating Its Effectiveness

Messaging plays a part in product-market fit. You can determine the effectiveness of your messaging by comparing how value is perceived and communicated.

Externally: Value Perception

Let’s look at how the market perceives your messaging. Data can definitely be useful in understanding how messaging fares in reality. For example, A/B testing a product webpage with two different sets of messaging can provide a large sample set of data points. With that, you can quickly gauge that Message B fared better in the marketplace. Data may show that prospects who were exposed to Message B were 46% more likely to move along the buyer’s journey compared to when exposed to Message A. 

More data points can paint a vivid picture but that picture may sometimes be misleading. As you uplevel information about customers and see data at a glance, it’s important to remember that it’s meant to be a gauge—not a substitute for speaking with customers. 

In its September 2016 issue, Harvard Business Review included the article “Know Your Customers’ Jobs to Be Done”. The authors make the case that today’s business decisions are made on metrics that are more based on correlation, not causation. The article calls for understanding a customer’s jobs-to-be-done motivation. 

We all buy or subscribe to products to get a job done. We subscribe to media streaming services to entertain us in our downtime. We buy an online course on product management to advance our skills. We hire products to get things done for us. By understanding the causal driver behind a customer’s decision to buy your product, you can identify the real value of your product—rather than just the elements at the edge.  

To validate the core value you provide, identify customers to interview and survey. Ask them to describe how they use your product:

  • Why did you buy this product? What problem(s) were you looking to solve?
  • What old way of working has this product replaced?
  • What value do you receive from the product?
  • How do you use our product?
  • What gets impacted if we were to shut down the product?

These questions probe into the value they receive and how they perceive it. The intention here is to understand the real job your product gets done for your customer. You’re trying to understand the job description and the specific terms they’re consistently using in describing what they want to get done.

Internally: Value Communication 

Now, let’s look at how your sales team understands and communicates the value proposition of your company and product. 

Similar to the survey exercise above, bring a number of individuals from your sales organization together and ask them to quickly—without consulting marketing content or a sales deck—write down:

  • The company pitch
  • The problem we’re solving
  • The competitive pitch—how we’re different 
  • 2-3 value propositions—the value we provide for our customers

Validating both externally and internally can help you track the efficacy of your messaging. Stronger messaging has a compound effect across all your activities. Not only are prospective customers more influenced by external content, but the effectiveness of marketing activities such as generating press and enabling the sales organization can be amplified.

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