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:
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.
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.
Analyze customer or community-generated content like social media posts, blogs, and reviews for natural language patterns describing their needs and interests.
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.
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.
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.
Describe the tangible outcomes, improvements, and feelings derived when using your solution.
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:
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.
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.
Share real stories of actual customers detailing how you solved struggles they faced. Build credibility.
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:
Incorporate key positioning elements into site pages, popups, and banners.
Blog and Articles
Leverage insights through thought leadership content around customer needs.
Relay positioning through automated welcome, nurture, and promotional series.
Share snippets consistently across social networks in lines with character limits. Add visuals.
Adapt messaging prominently within search, social, and display ads.
Add flyers, brochures, sales sheets to legally reinforce claims verbally.
Include taglines, benefit statements, or emotional hooks on product packaging where customers engage.
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.
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.
- 1 Using Research to Craft Compelling Positioning and Messaging
- 1.1 Why Research Informs Messaging
- 1.2 Qualitative Research for Rich Messaging Insights
- 1.3 Quantitative Research for Data-Driven Messaging
- 1.4 Crafting Customer-Focused Positioning Statements
- 1.5 Optimizing Messaging Through Testing
- 1.6 Expanding Research-Based Messaging Across Channels
- 1.7 Repositioning Stale Messaging
- 1.8 Key Takeaways for Research-Driven Messaging