Marketers often find themselves stuck when trying to create the right messaging frameworks for their organizations. Maybe it’s because they are nervous about suggesting a new messaging framework without the data to back it up. Or perhaps they weren’t hired to solve that type of problem; they were hired to drive existing marketing campaigns. So, they’re not confident in their ability to create new messaging. Or maybe it’s because they’ve been sitting at their end of the table for so long that they no longer even know what their buyers’ needs are.
So they hire a market research firm to help. But, they quickly realize they still have to write core messaging stimulus before it can be tested. Or, they need to figure out how to use the research insights they have to develop the right messaging. Either on their own or with a 3rd party marketing agency. Once again, our proverbial marketer is stuck, and their path forward is unclear.
But what if this marketing team could work with a partner who could complete the entire process right alongside them? A partner that could help them to develop the initial messaging stimulus and then also test it. A partner that could not only conduct the research but could also activate it by delivering ready-to-go messaging.
At Cascade Insights, we take a data-driven approach to developing messaging frameworks. Our research team gathers insights via in-depth interviews, focus groups, or other methodologies to determine what messaging will resonate. At the same time, our marketing team works alongside our clients and the research team to generate the initial messaging stimulus for testing and a final market-ready messaging framework.
This approach has taught us that the best messaging frameworks come from research and marketing teams working together. Plus, we’ve found numerous ways to help our clients get “unstuck” when developing great messaging and landing that messaging with prospects and current customers.
What is a B2B Messaging Framework (And Why Do You Need It)?
A B2B messaging framework is a structured set of statements, descriptions, and proof points that an organization uses to describe a product or solution.
Messaging frameworks are essential to guiding the creation of an organization’s marketing content, sales messaging, pitch decks, solution briefs, PPC ads, website copy, and more. Without it, prospective buyers won’t understand the value of the product or service and why it’s superior to competitors.
Beyond establishing an initial messaging framework, an organization may need to update an existing framework that’s gone stale over time. For one, they may have a new offering or service that needs core messaging. Or perhaps an organization may have noticed that their buyer personas have shifted, and they need updated messaging to reflect that. Or, they may have just noticed that their current set of messaging frameworks feels outdated compared to their competition.
No matter the reasoning, spending the time to carefully craft a messaging framework is critical if you want nearly any product or service to be successful.
3 Ways You Can Blend Marketing and Research Skills for a Better Outcome
Below are three clients who came to us for help with their messaging frameworks. Here’s how we blended marketing and research skills to develop B2B messaging frameworks that actually made a difference.
The Message Testing Sandwich: First Marketing, Then Research, Finally Marketing Again
The context: One of our enterprise clients needed to develop an effective set of messaging frameworks for their new campaign initiative. After a workshop with the client’s SME’s, our marketing team developed seven messaging pillars with key value props and proof points.
Then our research team put those messaging pillars to the test. They conducted focus groups that revealed how key personas felt about each one. Our marketing team then revised the pillars based on the respondents’ sentiments and suggestions.
This blending of marketing and research skills ensured that our client received the creative abilities of a marketing firm in developing their messaging framework, followed by the analytical capabilities of a research team who could discern what messaging resonated best.
Key takeaway: Message testing is most effective when your partner is able to blend the skillsets of both marketers and researchers. This ensures that only the strongest messaging pillars are tested and that the messaging can be refined accordingly based on the participants’ feedback.
Personas Form a Firm Foundation for Great Messaging
The context: One of our clients, a small consulting firm, wanted to develop a messaging framework that would target C-suite buyers. So our research team investigated this buyer persona’s values, pain points, and buying journey. They also investigated how their competitors’ incorporated certain messages into their marketing. And how well that resonated with the target market.
Our marketing team used the results of the research to create a new messaging framework that targeted the C-suite buyers. Additionally, our marketing team conducted a website audit to compare our client’s messaging with competitors messaging. The audit clarified where they stood with this type of audience. Ultimately, we steered the client to new messaging recommendations that better aligned with what the research revealed.
Key takeaway: Great messaging frameworks start with great research. In this case, buyer persona research was the necessary first step to figuring out critical details about the C-suite persona. Those details provided the foundation needed to develop great messaging frameworks.
Research Activated: The Sales Playbook
The context: One of our clients needed to know which messaging pillars resonated best with certain target personas. They wanted to know how they should communicate their services with each of them. So, our research team interviewed prospective buyers to discover their values, pain points, and jobs to be done. They also investigated the buyer journey to figure out where each persona fit in during the buying process.
From there, our marketing team leveraged the research findings to create a sales playbook. We designed the playbook to help our client’s sales team engage with these personas more effectively. It included the messaging frameworks proven to motivate each persona and an “application” section explaining how and when sellers should engage with those prospective buyers.
Key takeaway: A well-built messaging framework, on its own, can only take you so far. Organizations also need to know when and how they should actually communicate that messaging.
It’s Never a Good Time to Settle for Less
Like the viral “get you a so-and-so that can do both” memes of 2016, market research firms are better when they have more to offer than just research. The ones that can take it to the next level with targeted marketing initiatives based on the results of the research are the ones that can bring the most value.
So, consider this: Were your organization’s messaging frameworks created by marketers but not backed by research? Or, did your organization conduct market research, but you’re not sure your messaging reflects that research?
If you have uncertainty that you either lack a foundation of research or need to active your research for more compelling messaging, give us a call. We can do both.
With 15 years of experience in B2B tech market research, Cascade Insights can help ensure your research is of the highest quality. Learn more about our B2B Messaging Services here.
Special thanks to Laura Johnson, Marketing Services Manager, and Sean Campbell, CEO, for advising on this piece.