All related (59)
Matt Hodges
Head of Product Marketing Craft, AtlassianOctober 31

We’ve developed a few of our own frameworks over the years based on jobs-to-be-done. It’s an approach that runs counterintuitive to classic, persona-based marketing, and does so purposefully. Focusing on customer attributes really means focusing on what you want to sell, rather than what your customers actually need. Those customers come from a variety of backgrounds, industries, and verticals, but their one commonality is their motivation, the Job-to-be-Done.

I had to fundamentally change my approach when I joined Intercom. For me, the easiest way to grok the Jobs-to-be-Done methodology was by watching Clay Christensen’s famous milkshake video and understanding what “job” people buy milkshakes for. You can read more about Jobs-to-be-Done on the Inside Intercom blog here: Focus on the Job, Not the Customer: https://blog.intercom.com/when-personas-fail-you/

And, here’s a recording of a talk and podcast I’ve given in the past about how we apply JTBD to our go-to-market strategy.

How to market the Job-to-be-Done: https://blog.intercom.com/marketing-the-job-to-be-done

How Jobs-to-be-Done Informs Intercom Marketing: https://blog.intercom.com/podcast-intercoms-go-to-market-strategy/

As we continue to grow, our products mature, and we learn more about the problems we’re trying to solve and for whom, we’re constantly adapting our frameworks.  As an example, we’ve recently created an internal document called the “Solution Guide” for each of the solutions we take to market. The guide answers the following questions:

 

Foundations

  • What problem are people looking to find a solution for?
  • What will a solution to this problem improve for them?
  • Who is looking for it?
  • What are the keywords they are using to search for it?

Solution Positioning & Messaging

  • What do we call the solution we provide for this problem?
  • Why would someone be interested in Intercom’s solution?
  •  Which Intercom products are required to solve this problem?
     
  • How does Intercom solve this problem?
  • Which must-have features for this problem does Intercom have?
  • Why would someone want to use Intercom to solve this problem?
  • Who is successfully using Intercom to solve this problem?

In addition, as we think about how to best position ourselves against alternative solutions (products) to the problems we solve, we make use of the 4 Forces model. You can learn more about that and our approach to comparative marketing here: The right way to challenge your competitors - Inside Intercom: https://blog.intercom.com/comparative-marketing/

 

Of course, there are many other, more established frameworks available to you. One thing I have heard good things about is Pragmatic Marketing (https://www.pragmaticmarketing.com/).  My advice would find a framework that feels good and adapt it to your business because everyone is different. :)

Diana Smith
Director of Brand and Product Marketing, Twilio.org, TwilioJuly 16

We think of messaging in three tiers and have different frameworks for each. Product marketing usually collaborates with PR and brand for Level 0 and Level 1, while we own Level 2.

Level 0 Messaging: Highest-level company messaging, found in press releases, first sales decks slides, the “about us” section

  • Mission — Your battle cry; why you wake up and work every day
  • Vision — Where you’re going if your mission is successful, aspirational and inspirational
  • Audience — Who you sell to (be as specific as possible)
  • Key Values — Three key value propositions that you provide for your audience (should focus on differentiators to your business)
  • Category — The market category you fit into (or are creating)
  • Description — Incorporates these elements into a short description or elevator pitch. This is often thought of as your “boilerplate.” Everyone at your company should be able to recite this and be on the same page. (This is easier said than done)


Level 1 Messaging: Highest product-level messaging, found on the website, sales decks, analyst briefing decks

  • The flawed way the world works today 
  • The consequences of this approach
  • The market trend making these consequences dire now
  • The world after your product
  • The benefits of your approach
  • Customer proof

Level 2 Messaging: Lower-level product messaging, found on per-product web pages, one-sheets, case studies, and in product-focused demos

  • Product name
  • Solution family
  • Tagline
  • Description
  • Audience (company size, roles)
  • Customer current approach and problems
  • Negative business consequences
  • New product approach and benefits
  • Outcomes with new product 
  • Use cases
  • Customer anecdotes
Scott Schwarzhoff
Operating Partner, Unusual VenturesFebruary 6

A couple to try out. Here’s a combined messaging source doc that I use every time I start working with one of our portfolio companies. Inherited from Citrix days and then adapted over time. Hope it’s helpful!

The second one is one I've been working on for a year and am sharing with the Sharebird community before publishing for feedback. The core idea is that I've that that a lot of messaging focuses too much on product/benefit and not enough on fitting the narrative into a broader context of how a customer views their world, their priorities, and setting the table for the new world. Interestingly, there are all kinds of tools for salespeople to essentially become a consultative partner to their customer - Command of the Message, Challenger Selling, etc. As marketers, we don’t really have a single framework to help us build a narrative in the way that these sales frameworks do.

The net of the issue is that we don’t stay focused on answering the 3 big ‘why' questions that a rep needs to answer to close a sale: 1) why buy anything, 2) why buy now, and 3) why buy you. The idea is that if your messaging/story can answer these three questions better than your competition, customers will buy from you.

Over the past couple years, I’ve been working with a couple dozen startups here at Unusual Ventures and see the same problem at play with our founders. So, I wrote a new messaging guide that we’re going to be publishing (for free) called “Three Why Storytelling”. It’s a simple storytelling framework that nets out 6 steps to crafting a story that wins customers:

Why Buy Anything
1. Start with an authentic founder insight
2. Align on shared view of impact

Why Buy Now
3. Connect problem to business urgency
4. Show current solutions to be ineffective

Why Buy You
6. Frame new approach to solve the problem
7. Prove unique offering and value

Is this rocket science? No. You’ve probably seen each of these concepts in various forms all over. But this framework strives to simplify and codify the building blocks of a story that, when laid out together, form an airtight, irrefutable narrative that is purpose-built to lead customers to your solution as the best choice.

By the way, if I had to pick one ‘Why’ that is most underrepresented in messaging, it is most definitely Why Buy Now. We are conditioned to think in problem/solution terms. But the reality is that there are two types of problems - big problems (we’re moving from on-premises software to SaaS) and urgent problems (my business units are going around my IT team and signing up for SaaS apps like Dropbox and Concur, cutting us out of our core function!). Big problems are market-focused while urgent problems are customer-focused. Companies that obsess on Why Buy Now typically have a solutions marketing mentality that starts with the customer initiative and works back to product vs. the other way around.

Here’s the draft .pdf of 3 Why Storytelling. Would love any feedback! 

Anna Wiggins
Sr. Director Product Marketing, BlueVineMarch 23

There are a lot of messaging frameworks out there. If you are on the hunt for templates, check out the Product Marketing Alliance or April Dunford's website (Obviously Awesome is a must-read of Product Marketers).

In general, a messaging doc should be the single source of truth and act as the building block for any external-facing language used in your marketing. Also, it's likely that you won't always be there to walk folks through the document, so it should be as clear and self-explanatory as possible.

With that in mind, I like to include the following in a messaging document:
- Customer insights
- Product details
- Value proposition
- Key messaging idea
- Key benefits
- RTBs
- Dos and Don'ts (usually informed by your legal team)

Natalie Louie
Head of Marketing, MobileCoinApril 13

MESSAGING FRAMEWORK

Andy Raskin broke down our Zuora messaging framework perfectly: The Greatest Sales Deck I’ve Ever Seen

This messaging framework we use has 5 elements: 

  • Name a Big, Relevant Change in the World
  • Show There’ll Be Winners and Losers
  • Tease the Promised Land
  • Introduce Features as “Magic Gifts” for Overcoming Obstacles to the Promised Land
  • Present Evidence that You Can Make the Story Come True

Another good messaging framework Andy Raskin breaks down well is a keynote by Elon Musk 


Elon’s framework also has 5 elements: 

  • Name the enemy
  • Answer “Why now?”
  • Show the promised land before explaining how you’ll get there
  • Identify obstacles—then explain how you’ll overcome them
  • Present evidence that you’re not just blowing hot air

At Zuora, we use a version of both of these frameworks in all our messaging. 

POSITIONING FRAMEWORK

Positioning also has its own framework. Notable resources are “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey Moore and “Positioning” by Al Ries.

A positioning statement has 7 elements: 

  • For [target customers]
  • Who [statement of need of opportunity],
  • The [product name]
  • Is a [product category]
  • That [statement of key benefit].
  • Unlike [primary competitive alternative],
  • Our product [statement of primary differentiation].

ELEVATOR PITCH FRAMEWORK

A elevator pitch has 4 sentences: 

  • What the customer is trying to do
  • Highlight the pains of trying to get there
  • Why this pain is happening
  • How we help

Good overall book Kyle Christensen, Zuora’s CMO, recommended to me is “Made to Stick” by Chip Heath & Dan Heath. Lots of good frameworks on making sure your ideas stick! I read it 10 years ago and I'm actually reading it again right now. 

Judy Abad
Global Director, Business Strategy and Comms, TripActionsSeptember 19

Hmmm … this depends on what you’re launching. The most important things to understand when you’re creating any messaging is who your audience is, what is the benefit to them, and how you'll reach them. This is a great read if you’re just getting started (and something I make my new hires read): https://medium.com/startup-grind/people-dont-buy-products-they-buy-better-versions-of-themselves-2ce85fdb5ff1

 

In general, the framework is only as important as the message you’re trying to deliver. Play around with what works best for you and the people you work with. Don’t be too beholden to the process. 

Derek Frome
Vice President Marketing, OusterJuly 18

For sales messaging, I haven’t encountered anything better than “Command of the Message” which you can google.

Alison Murdock
Founder & Chief Marketer, Trusted CMOJanuary 28

With messaging, simpler is better. Messaging should be crisp and devoid of jargon. There are three resources I use, and the resource would depend on the project, e.g. company messaging vs. product messaging: 

  • Mother story: write a 3-4 narrative about your company. What is the change that inspired its creation and your vision for the future state? I am a huge fan of this because you can tackle narrative, mission, and values at once. 
  • I also use a "Mad Lib" format that many PR/comms people use: 
    • _____ is a _____ (your company name, what you are/do)
    • for _________ (who is it for)
    • unlike ______, _______, _______ that only offer ______ (competitors, your takedown of them)
  • And then a simple matrix like my buddy Myk Pono posted on Medium. 

Pro tip: Keep your messaging in a Google doc or similar. Note the date you've made updates and where that text is located. 

Nandini Jammi
Senior B2B Copywriter, FreelanceMarch 18

I usually have one or several resources of the following resources open when I'm developing a new messaging strategy.

1. Doug Kessler's "Irresistable Content for Immovable Prospects " [Slideshare]

2. Andy Raskin's "Promised Land " pitch [Medium]

3. Donald Miller's "Storybrand " template [Blog] - I recommend you buy his book for it to fully make sense

I also developed my own product messaging framework which I use to audit/teardown existing a company's existing messaging. 

I would recommend using it if you know your messaging isn't working but you can't really pinpoint where or why. It's been a useful way for me to evaluate where a client's messaging falls apart, and it's definitely something you can bring a cross-functional team together to do on your own. 

Kristen Ribero
Senior Director of Corporate Marketing, Handshake
This will depend on what your product/service/platform does and who the target audience is. For instance, in one of my previous roles, we had one product for one audience. Of course the platform was extensible, had different feature sets, but the value was easy to articulate to one audience. On the other hand, in my current role at Handshake, we have a three-sided talent marketplace with very different products and audiences. We tackle this by having one company value prop and then tailor specific messaging to each side of the business. Remember that messaging should not be a feature list....
Sarah Lambert
SVP, Marketing, Buckzy Payments
This really depends on the channel: For websites and demand gen, you can always use A/B testing to determine what works, but for messaging further down in the funnel, tracking interactivity with different content on your website is helpful and then even further down the funnel are customer presentations and demo scripts. Here it's helpful to have a good relationship with Sales to ask for constant feedback on what is resonating with customers and what isn't. Keeping track of win loss rates can also help track the effectiveness here. Lastly, for new features or products by current customer...
Diana Smith
Director of Brand and Product Marketing, Twilio.org, Twilio
These are all interrelated. Messaging: Includes value propositions, your story, and pitch. Also includes things like naming, alternatives, and taglines. Value Proposition: These are the top benefits you want to focus on for your product based on customer and competitive unput Pitch & Story: These should be the same. Your pitch about the world before your product, the current approach, why it’s bad, the business consequences, and the new world with your product should tell a story. This story should hit on your main messaging points and value propositions. Hope that helps!
Derek Frome
Vice President Marketing, Ouster.io
To me, a solution is a prescriptive collection of products and features that solve a well-defined problem for your customer. A product is anything you could conceivably sell on its own, but a product can also be a collection of other products. A feature is a component piece of a product that adds to its value but cannot be sold on its own.    Products, features, and solutions tend to get different levels of attention from PMMs. Products will naturally get the most, solutions are really just collections of products and are therefore more an exercise in packaging and pricing. Features get a...
Priya Gill
Vice President, Product Marketing, Momentive
As counterintuitive as this may sound, simple messaging isn’t always the way to go. It really comes down to your target buyer(s) and the set of messages that resonate with them, which may need to be simple for a line of business buyer like Marketing or HR or more complex/technical for an IT/Developer buyer. But it always comes back to understanding your target audience and their pain points, and ensuring you're tailoring your messaging for them. Also, depending on the channel/medium where your messaging is shared, it may necessitate varying altitudes. For example, Social Media is a clear c...