Congratulations! You’re ready to start the second phase of our #gxmxp Series: Market Messaging.
Now that you know all about your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), it’s crucial to understand how to communicate with them.
In the simplest terms, market messaging is about understanding the value that you create for your ICP and following a framework to effectively communicate that value.
A common mistake many startups make is to talk about their product features or their company, with the assumption that their audience will be attracted to hearing about what the company does.
But, what’s the number one thing most people like to talk about? Themselves.
When you start talking to a customer, you want to focus the conversation not on what you do, but what you do for them.
The good news is that you have already done most of the hard work by identifying the pain points and needs of your ICP. In order to explain what you do for someone, you first need to know what that person does and how they do it, and we covered that in our ICP development work.
As we go through this next phase of MXP, you’ll learn how to translate what your product does into what it does for your ICP (and the business value or impact it creates).
The purpose of the Market Messaging phase is to accelerate the path to the truth about where your product fits int the market, if at all. That happens when you follow a clear messaging framework and a set of hypotheses that you can quickly and intentionally test and iterate.
Here’s a quick litmus test for your next customer conversation to verify that you’re proceeding in the right direction: what are you testing or trying to learn from them? Most founders are willing to settle for conversations that result in a form of general interest. But, companies don’t buy solutions that they are generally interested in.
What the market messaging framework will help you do is breakdown all the different ways that you create value so that you can specifically test each of those hypotheses and identify where the greatest need and interest lies.
As you work your way through several conversational iterations, this framework will empower you to focus your company’s value down to a few succinct points that will start new opportunities and close business predictably and repeatedly.
At this stage of market development don’t get hung up on the perfect wording or phrasing of your value to your ICP. Rather, focus on identifying and clearly communicating what your core value propositions are.
Remember, effective marketing (i.e., website, pitch decks, etc.) follows from having a command of your product’s business value to your ICP. As our partner, Max, pointed out in his article about stage-relevant collateral:
“One of the biggest mistakes founding teams make is wasting time and energy on developing superfluous marketing and sales collateral. If you haven’t found your ideal customer profile or locked down your marketing messaging, anything you create will potentially be targeting the wrong customers.” [Max Menke]
Once you understand the value that you create then you will be able to translate and adapt those core value drivers into any kind of medium.
With a core messaging framework in place you will be able to quickly leverage multiple different types of marketing mediums with a consistent messaging structure.
In Market Messaging, we’ll identify what you do for your ICP and how to effectively communicate that. Specifically, we’re going to cover:
✓ Consistency is key. As you create your messaging, focus is key. All of your messaging should be geared towards the economic buyer that you identified within one ICP. Your messaging will only be effective if you communicate with them directly. If you dilute your messaging to capture multiple ICPs, titles/roles or industries you will get a lot of noisy feedback back that will make it difficult to identify a clear validation signal.
✓ Keep it simple. You don’t want to overwhelm a potential customer by throwing hundreds of product features and benefits at them. Remember the four reasons why people buy — to make money, to save money, gain a competitive advantage, or mitigate risk. Simply tell the customer which one of those your product helps them do.
✓ Leave the marketing jargon out of it. Your market messaging should be understood by someone at a middle school reading level. At this stage you should worry less about whether or not your messaging sounds good and more about whether or not it is easily understood at first pass. The language shouldn’t include any marketing buzzwords that don’t really mean anything. Make it easy to understand what your value is.
✓ Don’t forget your competitive analysis. Go back to the competitive analysis we completed a few stages ago because it plays an important role here. Learn how businesses in your space communicate not only the products, services and value they create but how do they talk about the problem that exists in the market. By examining your competitors, you can better understand how the world already communicates about the problem and you can skip several iterative cycles of messaging development. Remember that people like to buy things the way they’re used to buying them. Creating messaging from scratch will only validate what your competitors already know.
The market messaging phase is all about testing messaging for your ICP to learn what works and what doesn’t. Once you find out what resonates, you’ll be able to use that messaging as a foundation for all of your marketing materials moving forward.
Ready? Click here to get started!!