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Using Research to Craft Compelling Positioning and Messaging

Defining your brand’s unique positioning requires deep insights into customer needs, desires, and perspectives. Market research reveals this understanding to shape messaging that truly resonates.

This guide explores qualitative and quantitative research tactics to inform effective positioning and messaging. We’ll cover identifying target customer worldviews, crafting messages focused on their needs, and testing language through surveys and interviews.

Let’s help you speak directly to what your audience cares most about!

Why Research Informs Messaging

It’s tempting to make assumptions about what language best captures customers’ attention. But guessing wrongly risks misfiring with positioning.

Research minimizes messaging risk by unveiling:

  • Language that piques interest and conveys relevance
  • Terminology and messaging customers naturally use describing needs
  • Key pain points and aspirations to emphasize
  • How target segments describe solutions vs industry jargon
  • Objections and concerns to address proactively
  • Opportunities to differentiate from competitors’ positioning
  • Reid reactions across messaging variants to optimize phrasing

With empirical insights, you can align messaging tightly to your audience’s worldview for maximum appeal and results.

Qualitative Research for Rich Messaging Insights

Open-ended qualitative research like interviews and focus groups provide deep dives into the meaningful positioning and language that clicks with customers:

1-on-1 Interviews

Sit down with a sample of 6-12 target prospects. Explore their emotions behind needs, objection language, and impressions of sample messages. Look for patterns.

Focus Groups

Assemble 6-8 prospects to discuss positioning and messaging interactively. Observe reactions and language in a peer setting.

Customer Advisory Boards

Establish an ongoing council of current customers to share ongoing feedback on company branding and marketing.

Content Research

Analyze customer or community-generated content like social media posts, blogs, and reviews for natural language patterns describing their needs and interests.

Journey Mapping

Document typical customer buying journeys and identify key emotional highs and lows, plus the messaging needed at each stage.

Directly engaging target audiences reveals the resonance of words and frames with their worldview.

Quantitative Research for Data-Driven Messaging

Back qualitative learnings with larger-scale surveys, choice modeling, and performance data:

Brand Positioning Surveys

Ask prospects to rate and discuss reactions to sample positioning statements. Identify most compelling language.

Conjoint Analysis

Have prospects choose between sets of features + positioning combos to reveal optimal pairing.

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Probe satisfaction with specific messaging and emotional resonance of company promises delivered to customers.

Landing Page A/B Testing

Test alternate versions of pages with different positioning. See which converts more leads.

Digital Ad Testing

Run multivariate ad tests with different ad copy and messaging. Analyze performance.

Keyword Research

Identify words and long-tail keyword phrases prospects naturally search indicating interest.

Surveys and experiments measure messaging performance quantitatively while interviews add qualitative color.

Crafting Customer-Focused Positioning Statements

Backed by research learnings, compelling positioning weaves together:

Target Customer Description

Specifically call out the niche audience your brand helps. Get ultra-specific on needs.

Key Customer Insight

Summarize the top frustration or aspiration you uncovered from research in their own words.

Point of Difference

Explain your proprietary approach, product attributes, or process that solves this issue in a uniquely better way than alternatives.

Benefit Statement

Describe the tangible outcomes, improvements, and feelings derived when using your solution.

Emotional Connection

Connect to broader appreciation of values important to your audience beyond functional benefits.

With positioning aligned to actual customer perspectives, your messaging strikes a chord. Now optimize language.

Optimizing Messaging Through Testing

Fine-tune messaging for maximum impact by iterating based on feedback:

Ensure Comprehension

Use plain language – avoid industry jargon and buzzwords that may confuse prospects unfamiliar with space.

Speak Their Language

Incorporate wording and terminology prospects use to describe their own needs as revealed in research. Mirror natural language.

Lead With Benefits

Highlight most desirable outcomes and transformations first before explaining features. Outcomes attract interest.

Be Concise

Get to the core value quickly. Long meandering statements lose audience attention.

Structure Content for Scanning

Online readers scan first before fully engaging content. Use clear headers, bullet points, and formatting.

Contrast with Competitors

Call out how you satisfy needs better than alternatives to differentiate. But avoid negativity.

Show Authenticity

Share real stories of actual customers detailing how you solved struggles they faced. Build credibility.

Test Effectiveness

Try out alternate messaging with samples. See what resonates before full launch.

Ongoing experimentation and optimization hones messages for relevance as you learn more about your audience.

Expanding Research-Based Messaging Across Channels

Consistency strengthens positioning. Ensure messaging aligns across touchpoints:

Website Pages

Incorporate key positioning elements into site pages, popups, and banners.

Blog and Articles

Leverage insights through thought leadership content around customer needs.

Email Sequences

Relay positioning through automated welcome, nurture, and promotional series.

Social Media

Share snippets consistently across social networks in lines with character limits. Add visuals.

Advertisements

Adapt messaging prominently within search, social, and display ads.

Sales Materials

Add flyers, brochures, sales sheets to legally reinforce claims verbally.

Packaging

Include taglines, benefit statements, or emotional hooks on product packaging where customers engage.

Public Relations

Provide media kits explaining positioning for press pitching and interviews.

Consistency builds familiarity and belief in your positioning over time across touchpoints.

Repositioning Stale Messaging

As companies and customers evolve, revisit messaging to ensure relevance:

Interview Long-Time Customers

Check if legacy messaging still resonates or needs realignment to their needs today. Don’t assume stability.

Survey General Market Perceptions

Test whether existing messaging conveys your current differentiators or still only reflects initial launch positioning.

Analyze Competition

Review how competitors now position against you to identify gaps needing differentiation.

Update Based on New Offerings

If new products or services shift capabilities, evaluate whether messaging should pivot accordingly.

Brainstorm Fresh Perspectives

Even without new offerings, brainstorm innovative frames on existing solutions based on refreshed research.

Great positioning withstands time, but occasional rejuvenation reengages customers.

Key Takeaways for Research-Driven Messaging

Here are best practices for crafting strong positioning:

  • Conduct 1-on-1 interviews and focus groups to reveal impactful language that resonates.
  • Survey prospects on reaction to sample positioning statements and benefit claims.
  • Analyze language customers use describing their struggles. Mirror natural terminology in messaging.
  • Test messaging performance through landing page A/B tests and digital ad variants.
  • Start by highlighting target customer needs. Demonstrate matching solutions. Drive benefits focused on emotions and outcomes.
  • Ensure consistency across website, ads, email, sales materials, and PR.
  • Refresh messaging periodically to realign with evolving customer views if needed.

Research provides the missing link between your solutions and framing them in a way your specific audience cares about. Match messaging to their worldview.

With differentiated yet relatable positioning rooted in actual customer perspectives, your messaging cuts through noise to resonate precisely with those needing your specialized solution most.

So stop guessing – let research uncover the words and frames that win hearts, minds, and long-term loyalty. Speaking their language fosters relationships converted into success.

By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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