What are some of the best messaging 'success stories' of your career?
Some years ago, I was running a PMM team at Splunk when we introduced a new product that was a persona-driven solution for IT built on top of the core platform - it even featured machine learning capabilities before AIOps was a thing (Gartner was calling it ITOA at the time). To date, we had had a ton of success with IT practitioners and buyers but we saw an opportunity to move up the value stack and deliver something more purpose-built. When we drafted the value prop hypothesis and initial messaging, we realized it sounded a lot like a category of solutions (Business Systems Management or BSM) from legacy vendors (BMC, CA, HP, etc) that had promised a lot but failed to deliver a few years earlier. So we had to thread the needle that “yes, this new product actually does all the great stuff that BSM vendors promised and more - but it’s NOT BSM, because of the approach, etc, etc.” So we did all the methodical research laid out in the other answer - analyst feedback (they were adamant that we don’t position this like BSM 2.0), 3rd party panelling and, especially, beta customer research as part of a formal New Product Introduction (NPI) process. Nurturing those beta customers to be reference customers and putting those testimonials at the center of our launch was key to landing the messaging, as what customers say resonates much more than what vendors say (naturally).
Oh, this is a fun question! The best successes, for me, have been when our metrics have improved as a direct result of the messaging (which you can determine through testing and isolating the variables to just the messaging. Two successes stand out to me:
- At SurveyMonkey, I had the privilege of working on corporate messaging that tied together our self-serve product and our eight B2B products in one cohesive, overarching narrative. When we tested the new messaging, we saw a statistical performance increase in SEM ad click-through rate, which translated to a significant decrease in customer acquisition cost.
- At Brex, I was lucky enough to work on corporate messaging and positioning as we grew from offering one product (corporate credit cards) to more than one product (cash management accounts). When testing the new messaging, we saw:
- 143% increase in paid landing page conversion
- 66% decrease in CPL on SEM
- 88% increase in CTR on paid ads
It’s critical for PMMs to connect “softer” things like messaging to “hard” business metrics. Messaging works and can meaningfully move the needle for performance marketing and business goals.
I’ve always had the most success when making sure I am putting myself in the shoes of my potential customer and framing the message within the context of a story. This means making sure you understand your buyer and audience very well. Specifically: what problems is your product solving for them? Get insight from the right people in your organization to test and refine the messaging. Then ensuring I enable the internal teams with an effective rollout that includes storytelling and clear use cases that bring it to life.
I'll give you a couple wins but want to focus more on why I see them as wins vs. the actual messaging. Here are two wins:
-We created a messaging framework for SMBs to adopt CRM. It was simple. Find new leads. Win more deals. Keep customers happy. Abbreviated as Find. Win. Keep. It was a win because the sales team used it in conversation for years. When your sales team uses your messaging from memory, you got something special.
-We created a campaign for GoToMeeting with the line - Do More. Travel Less. It spoke direclty to the pain point and was extremely clear. Short and sweet. Memorable and drove a lot of new customers into the business.