B2B product marketers wear many hats, one of which is building messaging platforms for the solutions in their portfolio. This post outlines four elements we believe represent the core pillars of any messaging effort.
Messaging is a big tent. For most B2B marketers this includes website content, sales collateral, trade show materials, online ads, and—in many B2B segments—print ads remain an important communication channel. Although the number of messaging channels for reaching prospects has exploded, they are more crowded than ever. This raises the importance of creative executions that can break through the clutter and grab the viewer’s attention.
But effective B2B product messaging needs to do more than garner attention. The content must draw prospects in and make them more likely to respond to a call to action or to look for more information about the product or service. This requires a foundational, unique value proposition (UVP).
There are many definitions of a UVP. We like this one from Ubounce’s conversion marketing glossary: A UVP is a clear statement that describes the benefit of your offer, how you solve your customer’s needs, and what distinguishes you from the competition.
It is easy to write this statement from an internal point of view—what you think your solution provides and how it is different from, and superior to, your competitors’ solutions. However, a UVP only has meaning if it resonates with B2B buyers.
What makes a UVP—and the messaging built from it—resonate with potential buyers?
The best UVPs and product messaging meet four core criteria:
1. Relevancy: They align with the buyer’s goals—the job they need done.
2. Emotional Engagement: They reflect the buyer’s emotional pain points and desires related to the job to be done.
3. Credibility: B2B buyers believe the claims and that the company behind the claims can deliver on them.
4. Uniqueness: They say something about the product/service that clearly differentiates it from the competition.
These elements are related to, but not the same as, the metrics associated with advertising and collateral testing, which is about optimizing specific messaging executions. For more information on how Isurus approaches ad testing, see our post: Metrics that Predict B2B Messaging Effectiveness.
Creating a UVP and the messaging that flows from it requires B2B marketers to understand customers, prospects, and the competitive environment. Many B2B marketers have built a systematic understanding of their buyers through their persona, customer journey, and competitive positioning work. These exercises identify the buyer’s job to be done and what they look for at the early stages of their buying process—where vendors can credibly place a stake.
If you don’t already have these insights about your buyers and markets, Isurus recommends taking the time to create them for your company and product. The Product Marketing Alliance has some great content and templates B2B marketers can use as starting point.
B2B marketers typically rely on data from customer interviews and surveys as the raw material for their customer personas and journeys. To build a complete picture of the market, it is also important to collect data from prospects. Finding look-alike customers can be an effective growth strategy. That said, prospects often have different needs and perceptions than customers, and they may respond to different value propositions. Third-party research firms like Isurus can help B2B marketers expand their research beyond the customer base.
Regardless of how you get there, the key takeaway is that effective value propositions and messaging reflect how buyers see the world—not how you and your company see it. A prospect will only be interested in products and product features that align with their needs, speak to their pain points, and stand out from their other options.
If you’d like to learn more about how research can help build a unique value proposition, fill out our contact form and we’d be happy to set up a call to discuss your specific needs.