Polomi Batra

AMA: Zendesk Director of Product Marketing, Polomi Batra on Messaging

October 26 @ 11:00AM PST
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Zendesk Director of Product Marketing, Polomi Batra on Messaging
Top Questions
In your opinion, how much time and effort does messaging & positioning for a product take?
Assume you're starting from scratch, as a new hire or launching a new product
Polomi Batra
Polomi Batra
Zendesk Director of Product MarketingOctober 26
This can really depend on what the product is, how large and complex it is, how well defined the challenges and use cases are. In terms of thinking about messaging and positioning of a product from scratch (in an ideal world), you should think about giving yourself time to go through a few steps: 1. Market research to understand your target audience, their needs, pain points, and preferences. This often involves customer surveys, 1:1 interviews, focus group, competitor analysis, and analyst reports and marketing trends. This can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the depth of research required. 2. Forming your messaging and positioning: Based on step 1, start to formalize your product positioning and messaging, including taglines, elevator pitches, challenges, use cases and benefits. 3. Testing and refinement: Now that messaging and positioning is formally documented it’s time to start testing it. Test it internally and externally. And try to do a mix of quantitative and qualitative testing. For qualitative - talk to your go-to-market teams and get their feedback, pitch the messaging to analysts and get their early feedback, talk to a few customers and get their feedback. For quantitative - you can test using tools like UserVoice for customer feedback and surveys, and tools for A/B testing your messaging like Optimizely and Google Optimize to name a few. Once your new messaging is launched, think about how to monitor and optimize that messaging over time as the product evolves which affects the positioning, or its differentiators, or the main challenges it’s trying to solve. A couple of ways I’ve done this in the past is (1) quarterly surveys to customers to help validate our messaging still holds true, (2) quarterly check-ins with analysts to make sure the messaging still resonates with what the market needs, (3) ad-hoc check in with go-to-market teams to get their feedback on how the content (ex: pitch decks) is performing with customers. 
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How to test messaging properly and convince leaders to change messaging that is not resonating?
Sometimes leaders fall in love with a phrase they've heard and it's hard to get them to use the agreed upon messaging. What proof points can you share that messaging resonates or not?
Polomi Batra
Polomi Batra
Zendesk Director of Product MarketingOctober 26
Ah, if you're going through this right now, I feel you. This one is tough and it's because messaging can be so subjective sometimes. If you can, try to take the conversation back to two things: 1. Data-driven insights: Emphasize the importance of data-driven decision-making. Use concrete data from A/B testing, customer feedback, and performance metrics as much as you can to showcase how the two options are performing. 2. Customer-centric focus: Highlight the significance of aligning messaging with the needs and preferences of the target audience. Explain how the new messaging not only resonates emotionally but also addresses the functional benefits that matter to customers. Showcase testimonials or case studies demonstrating how customers find the new messaging more appealing, thus enhancing their connection with the product or service. And if that doesn't work, come to a compromise and keep an eye on the performance of the messaging so you can bring it back up again after some time to re-evaluate.
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How would you tackle the issue when there are conflicting opinions on which key features to highlight in messaging?
For an upcoming product release Product Management/Product Marketing/GTM partners all have differing ideas on which features are the most important.
Polomi Batra
Polomi Batra
Zendesk Director of Product MarketingOctober 26
Yeah, this is always tough, especially because all the above roles usually have a point of view on this (as they should). Few things to consider: * Set clear goal alignment: Ensure everyone understands and agrees on the overarching objectives of our messaging strategy to create a common foundation for discussions * Customer-centric focus: Prioritize understanding your target audience by developing detailed buyer personas and gathering insights into their needs and preferences so you can be a voice for them in these discussions * Data-driven insights: Use data and research findings to provide more insights for feature prioritization. This can include competitive data about how the feature is differentiated, or feedback from customers and analysts directly. This will add credibility to your opinions. * Collaboration and compromise: Encourage collaborative discussions, open communication, and consensus building among stakeholders with different perspectives to arrive at well-informed decisions.
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Polomi Batra
Polomi Batra
Zendesk Director of Product MarketingOctober 26
Measuring the success of your product messaging is crucial to understanding how well it resonates with your audience and drives your business goals. Here are a few different ways to measure how successful your messaging is on the different channels it’s shared on at a micro-level and macro-level: More pin-pointed ways to measure success of messaging and how it’s resonating on certain channels like email, and in-product messages, websites and social media: * Click-through rate (CTR): How many people who saw your message took action by clicking on a link or call to action. It's a good indicator of the message's ability to engage your audience. * Conversion rate: % of users who took the desired action after engaging with your message, such as making a purchase, signing up, or downloading content. * Engagement metrics: Engagement metrics like likes, shares, comments, and retweets (on social media) to see audience's interest and interaction with your message. * Bounce rate: For messaging that’s used on the website, a low bounce rate indicates that your message is attracting visitors who engage with other content on your site, while a high bounce rate suggests that the message might not be resonating. * Time on page: The amount of time users spend on a landing page or content page after engaging with your message can indicate the message's effectiveness in keeping visitors engaged. * Email open rate: In email marketing, the open rate measures how many recipients opened the email which can tell you the effectiveness of your messaging * Email click-through rate: How many people clicked on links or calls to action within your email? This shows the message's ability to drive action. Broader, more qualitative ways to measure success of your messaging * Customer feedback and surveys: Collect feedback from your customers through surveys, focus groups, or direct communication. Ask questions related to the messaging's impact and whether it aligns with their expectations. * Sales feedback: How often is sales using the customer-facing materials you built for them to use like pitch decks, etc. Is it resonating with their customers? How many folks from GTM are using it or viewing it * Brand awareness and sentiment: Track brand recognition and sentiment through tools like social listening and sentiment analysis to gauge how your messaging is impacting brand perception.
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Polomi Batra
Polomi Batra
Zendesk Director of Product MarketingOctober 26
This is a good question and a very hard problem to solve in a saturated SaaS/Tech industry. Here are a couple of principles I typically try to follow when solving for this problem: * Develop a unique value proposition: Identify what makes your product different from the competition. It could be a unique feature, better pricing, superior customer service, or a focus on a specific niche. Your value proposition should be clear and compelling. * Tell a compelling story: Craft a compelling product narrative that resonates with your target audience and the challenges they are facing with real-life examples. Keep the language simple and relatable to make it more memorable. * Highlight benefits, not just features: This goes back to make it more relatable. Instead of listing features, emphasize the benefits of using your product. Explain how it will make customers' lives easier, save them time or money, or help them achieve their goals. * Have a customer-first approach: Put your customers at the center of everything you do. Gather feedback, provide excellent customer support, and showcase customer success stories. Potential customers are often swayed by the experiences of others.
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