Message Testing: Because Intent ≠ Interpretation

Message Testing: Because Intent ≠ Interpretation

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Authored byColleen Clancy
Isa Gautschi
Authored byIsabel Gautschi
Sean Campbell
Authored bySean Campbell

Somewhere between intent and interpretation, a lot can get lost in translation.

Many B2B marketers suffer from this problem. Some focus heavily on one buyer persona and ignore the other key figures in B2B purchase decisions. Others fail to communicate what sets their product apart from the crowd. Buyers balk at cocky messaging or jargon that goes over their heads.

Make sure you’re leaving target customers with a favorable impression. Read on for the most common problems revealed by our message testing research for B2B technology companies.

You Have Buyer Personas. Plural. Woo them all.

Research shows that B2B tech purchases tend to be group decisions. Your messaging should target each buyer persona involved in the purchase.

Don’t just focus on the big guns. There are more people involved in B2B buying decisions than the executive signing the purchase order. Messaging that only focuses on C-levels or VPs is doomed to fail, as it ignores other important decision-makers such as end users, department heads, and business group leaders.

Your Differentiators Should Be…Differentiated.

How different is your messaging from your competitor’s? Are both websites a list of the same “itys”? Do both websites boast of fantastic reliability, security, manageability, and usability?

Instead of trying to score on every possible differentiator, pick one and nail it.  Perhaps you uniquely meet a target persona’s “job to be done.” Maybe you can boast of exceptionally smooth integration. Or perhaps you offer pricing models that are far more attractive than those provided by your competitors. Speak to your real strengths.

Don’t Pretend To Be Buyers’ Only Hope.

Most business problems existed before your company appeared on the scene. Be cautious about claiming to be the only solution capable of solving a problem.

Instead, strive to convince buyers that your solution is the best at solving the problem it was designed to solve. That way, you won’t inadvertently insult buyers who have been tackling the problem in another way.

Don’t Skip The Basics.

Address user experience in your messaging. Ease-of-use, integration, and adoption rates nearly always factor into B2B buying decisions.

These elements don’t need to be at the forefront of your messaging, but it wouldn’t hurt to weave them in (when you can back them up).

Use Acronyms Smartly and Sparingly.

Make sure you’re not using acronyms that are alienating to your audience.

Yes, use acronyms that are common knowledge within the vertical or business group you’re targeting. This helps to demonstrate a shared expertise in the buyer’s field.

Be very careful that you’re not using acronyms that are only common knowledge within your own company or amongst isolated groups of market analysts.

Know the difference before you flood your messaging with acronyms.

Anticipate “Too Good To Be True” Concerns.

There may be a downside to the benefit of your product or service. Buyers will be looking for one.

Do you offer a flexible platform?  Customers might worry that implementation will take too long. Are you providing a point solution to a single problem? Buyers may fear that the challenge of integrating with their other solutions outweighs the benefit.

Sing the praises of your solution’s benefits. Then address concerns about tradeoffs.

Answer The FAQs.

Make sure your marketing answers obvious, initial questions. Front-load your home page with answers to questions like “what does it look like?” and “how much does it cost?”

If buyers can’t find answers quickly, they probably won’t work very hard to figure it out.

That said, strong messaging should raise enough intrigue to make potential buyers want to learn more.

Are They Getting The Message?

While these guidelines will help you to convey the message you intended, it’s important to learn how your buyers are interpreting your marketing.

Market research, to the rescue! Message testing compares the “message received” to the “message sent,” diagnoses disparities, and provides insights to correct strategy.

This blog post is brought to you by Cascade Insights. Our research helps marketers craft messaging that resonates with target buyers.

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