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How do you incorporate voice of the customer into positioning and messaging?

Curious to know how customer research works best in your experience and how to drive to actionable outputs like positioning and messaging.
6 Answers
Jenna Crane
Jenna Crane
Klaviyo Head of Product MarketingJuly 15

It’s so important! I like to do some exploratory research before I draft anything — both quantitative and qualitative if I can — to hear in an unbiased way what our target audience values, looks for, struggles with, etc. That will put some (necessary and helpful) constraints around our messaging and positioning, because whatever we end up with has to be within the bounds of what our target audience cares about and will find valuable.

Then there are a lot of great ways to use customer research to refine and validate messaging and positioning once you’ve drafted it — through focus groups, quantitative research, customer advisory boards, having people react to mock landing pages, doing A/B tests on the website, etc. Back in the day I wrote an article about some of my favorite ways to use customer research in product marketing; you can find it here

723 Views
William Davis
William Davis
Workato Vice President of Product MarketingSeptember 28

Any work on messaging needs to incorporate customers! 

When we're working on messaging for a campaign or a broader shift in messaging, interviewing customers and getting their feedback is vital. 

Often times, those conversations not only inform your messaging but also can tee up customer references to use in marketing campaigns, etc. 

428 Views
Alex Gutow
Alex Gutow
Snowflake Senior Director of Product MarketingNovember 4

I love bringing the voice of the customer into messaging! It's one of the most powerful inputs you have. Nothing beats actually talking to or hearing from customers. Shadow some sales calls. Listen to customer presentations at meetups/conferences. Schedule interviews with your "friendlies". This is invaluable to understand what matters most to them and how they're talking about it. 

I've also worked at companies that do broader customer surveys and market regularly. I think this is great to understand changing trends and can act as directional input, but at the end of the day your messaging needs to connect with individuals.

The other great thing about listening in is having the anecdotal stories that you can incorporate in your pitch. It's one thing to talk about how X task is really hard but your product makes it super easy. But if you're able to weave in stories of "I was talking with a user and they mentioned that they are frustrated with how long they spend doing X..." (even anonymously), it can also help build credibility with prospects and makes the messaging resonate more.

725 Views
Malli Vangala
Malli Vangala
Circana Chief Strategy OfficerOctober 7

We collect and incorporate the voice of the customer in a few different ways: First - the sales team tends to be a great proxy as they are on the front lines and can provide great inputs on what they are hearing from customers, what seems to resonate and what does not. Second - our product marketing team actively engages directly with customers through executive briefings, partnering with the sales team in customer discussions, webinars, events etc. Third - we regularly engage with reputed analysts who can sometimes bring good customer perspectives to bear. Finally - we invite customers to educate us and provide feedback directly on our products/solutions/messaging periodically (e.g. via advisory boards, customer learning days etc.). All of these avenues provide inputs that we then consider while framing our positioning/messaging

512 Views
Harsha Kalapala
Harsha Kalapala
AlertMedia Vice President Product MarketingJuly 20

Great question. Bringing in customer voice is not optional for marketers anymore. People just want to self-serve when they buy anything, and they dont trust what us marketers have to say. They trust their peers and what others have to say more than anything else - there are enough studies out there proving this. 

IMO, happy customers give us great content on this all the time in the form of quotes in our regular interactions with them. Problem is we rarely think to capture those when they happen. Partnering with your customer success and support team to keep their marketers hat on during these conversations can give you great anecdotes to pull from and build a quote library. 

An easier way is to build your presence on review sites like trustradius.com - where the focus is on long-form reviews to extract in-depth feedback from customers. You can even make custom questions to prompt customers to add to your narrative so you get a fresh quote library that is custom fit for your marketing needs. In many cases these reviews will also give you clear indicators on what they care about so you have new insight on how to position your messaging. Happy to share more on this if you'd like. 

I work with SaaS marketers who pull customer quotes into everything - paid ads, star ratings on search results, landing pages, website homepage, sales collateral, nurture emails, etc. with consistent results. Adding customer voice to your marketing is the best way to stand out from all the noise out there. 

372 Views
Chris Glanzman
Chris Glanzman
ESO Director of Product Marketing & Demand GenerationOctober 6

Voice of the customer is one key component of great positioning and messaging. It's important to gather the information first-hand. At a minimum, product marketers should be watching or listening to recordings of the market research conversations. With that in hand, it typically makes the biggest impact in two areas:

  • In positioning, VOC shapes your vectors of differentiation while maintaining or improving resonance. How do market participants talk about your product's category? Are you aligned with that perception, trying to change it, or trying to create an entirely new category? More than anything else, VOC will also shape the "what your offering does" portion of your positioning statement. Your product likely has loads of features and functions, but you need to distill those into the outcomes and capabilities that your customers care about most and that set you apart from competitors.
  • In messaging, VOC is a critical input for elevating your messaging to communicate customer value instead of just features and benefits. You need to determine the expected improved experience that a customer is signing up for when they buy your product. As an example, think about reporting capability in a software product. The product can create dashboards, complex reports, subscriptions, and alerts, etc. Great... So do all the other ones. Take a step up from that and describe the benefits those features create. You'll probably end up with other generic statements like "improved visibility", "reduce time spent", "save cost", etc. All still generic and bland. With those benefits in mind, use VOC to state why those matter to your target market & buyer. Extending the reporting example, the core message for reporting capability in one of my segments relates to confidence. Through our research we found that this target buyer experiences an immense spike in stress once or twice a year as they defend an annual budget request and go through an accreditation audit. That stress is rooted in uncertainty about their data quality and the insights they gathered. What we really sell is confidence as they go into these cyclical processes. Long story short, VOC will let you know how your buyers want to feel or how they want to be seen. Highly resonant messaging lives in that space.
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