Once you are clear on the value proposition of a product/feature and/or a positioning statement for the company or product, you are ready to pull together a messaging framework that your cross-functional stakeholders (from marketing to product) can leverage.
In terms of a messaging framework, I have found that formats vary by company but all fundamentally cover a combo of key elements based on what your teams require for a successful launch (ideally delivered as a 1-sheeter or 1 slide format):
Pro tip: Do the pre-work to get approved proof points ready to use! Value claims that directly support your key benefits or reasons-to-believe will amp up the strength of your messaging, and third-party validation claims including star-ratings and/or reviews will often show lifts in trust and conversion
Great question and critical to the success of any product launch! At Glassdoor, we start by creating a digestible framework with initial messaging recommendations and “seed” this throughout the process with key stakeholders. The initial messaging recommendations are developed using insights from previously conducted research and feedback from key stakeholders or subject matter experts/SMEs. Two of our greatest advantages at Glassdoor Product Marketing are (1) our Head of Market Insights who is literally a part of our PMM org, not adjacent or in a different department, and (2) an amazing GTM team who are experts in our field and genuine advocates for our customers. Because we are centered around market and customer insights, most of the time, half the battle is won in getting buy-in because the content we propose is grounded in research learning. Once PMM feels good about where the initial messaging has landed with key stakeholders and cross-functional partners have had the messaging “seeded” with them (hence, bought-in), then we go on an internal roadshow to “share” and get final feedback and approvals.
Pro-tip: the messaging framework is delivered with an already-approved value prop or positioning statement, a product-on-a-page, and an outline of the initial GTM launch plan so that stakeholders can see the full breadth of how the messaging framework would be applied.
Per our head of PMM (Eric Petitt), it is important to think about and understand the market leader positioning because the leader often defines category expectations… as well as their weaknesses. And when a challenger tries to play catch up to the market leader, the copy-cat will die over time because they are not adding value. The recommendation then is to pick a tighter target audience and a differentiator that will “de-position” the market leader. Your strengths should call out their weaknesses.
It is so easy to fall into launching with technical jargon when you've been living and breathing it as a PMM! Two ways that I have found helpful in simplifying, and even transforming/replacing techncial jargon are (1) launch customer interviews, listen and use the language they use, and (2) crowd source ideas internally and externally with as many different POVs as possible.
Pro tip: Get inspired by looking outside your field to see how others are taking tricky technical language and turning it into customer-facing messaging that resonates!
When a company has many product offerings, getting really clear on who you are targeting will be critical to ensure that you are "spotlighting" the right product/features/packages to the audience most likely to buy/adopt/care. Prospective buyers may become overwhelmed or stop caring when content is too general or straight-up irrelevant to their needs.
Pro tip: Segmentation to inform your target audience will help bring direction to your messaging framework for your product/feature launches up front. That way, you are setting expectations with your product counter-parts upfront, and showing that you are going to bring the attention to the product/feature to the audience that will care, and ultimately lead to product adoption/sales.
During the development of the value proposition and/or positioning statement stage is when I start to incorporate competitve information in messaging. Once it is clear where we can win or differentiate, then it is highlighted in the statement and validated/proven in the reasons-to-believe and proof point stage.
Change is inevitable! So whenever possible, going to market with “final” messaging should include room for evolution over time based on various external and internal factors. Markets change and evolve, and customers’ needs or perspectives also change and evolve based on whatever is important to them in that moment--sometimes even driven by trends or current events that cannot be ignored (think, Covid!). If in a B2B org, you can quickly leverage feedback from the field to validate whether your messaging and/or positioning needs does not hit or needs refinement. And, if possible, leveraging your marketing arm to test and optimize along the way and on an ongoing basis will help ensure your messaging sticks and evolves as the market does. Internally, you may have business strategies shift, so having the agility to also ensure your messaging aligns will be helpful.
At Glassdoor, we have a not-so-secret secret weapon… we have a Head of Market Insights within the product marketing org that is at the center of what we do from influencing product roadmaps to positioning and messaging, and enabling our GTM and marketing channels. One of the biggest things being established is a customer advisory board (both in B2B and B2C) to create a feedback loop to ensure that messaging (and our product!) is “hitting home”. I have seen the success of these types of programs in previous companies I have worked in including Granular (farm management software) with farmers and their seed reps to Zenfolio (portfolio websites and e-commerce solutions for photogs) and Richard Photo Lab (photography services) with photographers direct.