Question Page

How do you and at what stages do you test your messaging?

Sarah Din
Sarah Din
Quickbase VP of Product MarketingSeptember 25

When:

I like to think of testing in 2 stages. The first one is when you are just getting started and want to understand what are the big pain points you are solving for and what do customers care about. That is the first round of market research you will do to build your actual messaging.

The second round comes once you have built a basic messaging framework, but now you need to wordsmith. For example, Do they like the word "Measure" or do they prefer the word "Understand". At the end of the day - you will use this data, plus your judgement to create your final messaging.

How:

You want to make sure you test this in a variety of channels and with a variety of customer types (across segments, industries, etc).

Test in different marketing channels

  • A/B testing on your website is probably one of the best ways of testing messaging if you get decent amount of traffic to your site
  • Test it on social channels - see what people respond to most - and this can be free
  • A/B test email copy - Most companies are already doing email marketing - pick a few to test your messaging in
  • SEM ads - if you are already running paid ads, just test your messaging against a control. SEM ads are typically quick to implement, and it can give you a wealth of data
  • If you have a SaaS product - test your new messagin in-product
  • If you have an outbound sales motion, test your messaging in your sales outreach emails or call scripts

There are DIY market research products out there that are affordable (shameless plug, but as a PMM, I regularly use Audience which our online DIY panel that really is very affordable for quick projects like this). We used this to develop our own messaging internally - very Meta I know.

Focus groups. Do a few focus groups and get a mix of current customers as well as potential customers to give you feedback - the information you get from these interviews is usually worth every penny. I have also seen a few apps out there that help you source very specific audiences for user research.

2168 Views
Scott Schwarzhoff
Scott Schwarzhoff
Unusual Ventures Operating PartnerFebruary 7

Certainly when a new product has been defined, you want to get out and get a regular drumbeat of messaging feedback. When there are big new releases on features (eg: around the time of your annual keynote), it’s helpful to do a refresh. Or if a competitor has made a big move and you need to assess the new state of your product’s competitive differentiation.

1387 Views
Francisco M. T. Bram
Francisco M. T. Bram
Albertsons Companies Vice President of MarketingFebruary 14

I think you need to experiment and test your messages throughout the go-to-market planning phase, marketing research and development of your value proposition. We use multiple channels to test our messaging, Emails, In-App Messaging, Push Notifications, Text Messaging, Social Media, Performance Ads, Web, Customer Focus Groups and Sales Teams.

As mentioned in the other response, experimentation is a critical factor in the success of your story. Because the pace of change is accelerating, user needs and mental models today may greatly differ from just a few months ago. This will impact how successfully your message is being received. What worked a few months back may no longer work today. That’s why you should always be testing, measuring and experimenting.

I like to experiment messages already during the research phase through customer focus groups. The way I would conduct the experiment during this phase is by defining a series of hypotheses based on some internal assumptions or data points. For example, the assumption could be that when travelling for work, Gen Z. and Millennials enjoy spending an extra day for leisure. I would then test a few value propositions in customer focus groups that represent these two groups and measure its effectiveness.

Experimentation shouldn’t stop here. Once you have a good value proposition defined from your research, you now want to test different keywords and call-to-action (CTA). Basically A/B testing. 


You can do this by dividing your audience into 3 or more test and control groups. For example, let’s assume that your value proposition is that “a business traveler can earn points while travelling for work and redeem them for leisure”. You can now run an experiment and divide your audience into 3 groups. Group A (33%): “Earn more points when travelling for work - learn more”; Group B (33%): “Higher rewards, best perks - get started”; Group C (33%) this is the control group, you don’t target them with any messaging. The results should give you an indication of what worked and what didn’t for that particular channel.

1549 Views
Jiong Liu
Jiong Liu
Wiz Senior Director of Product MarketingAugust 4

I am constantly testing messaging. Any customer meeting, event or executive briefing I attend, I'm testing messaging in some way, even if it's not messaging that I'm actively working on. The most critical part of this process is to ensure you're leaving space for feedback and reactions or explicitly asking for it. One mistake I used to make when I first started as a PMM was to go into presentation mode and just barrel through a deck/pitch instead of adding pauses and deliberate questions throughout. As a result, when I build narratives, I think about questions I should be asking about and will bake those into speaker notes. I've also added random dots in presentations that only I can see as a visual cue to take those pauses. We oftentimes find silence is uncomfortable, but it's actually a friend of PMM because it encourages customers to fill that silence.

In addition, I also recommend testing messaging directly with your field and customers and looking for methods to test outside of your organization's typical customers/prospects. We will oftentimes do the latter using user research or advertising.

12220 Views
Frances Liu
Frances Liu
Instawork Head of MarketingSeptember 1

I find it helpful to test along the way and continue testing once it's released broadly. Unsurprisingly, we work closely with customer-facing teams, advisors, and internal teams as a starting point and work with them to roadtest.

I'd love to say there's always a deliberate process, but sometimes you don't have the time to do so. For instance, last year with the pandemic, we had to very quickly expand into a new vertical and operating in an unknown environment. So we relied more on customer validation as a way to test messaging. 

As I'm sure with many of you, we've been obsessed with watching Gong calls as a way to learn from customers (and sales reps!). It's helped us build a more quantitative testing approach and track how it differentiates by segment and over time.

Another validation tactic I've found helpful is testing messaging in ads, content, nurture emails, etc. For instance, one of our highest converting LinkedIn ads is a product-focused article centered on one value prop. By arming our SDR with add'l questions, we're able to dig deeper without disrupting the buying process.

563 Views
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