30 November 2011
There are probably many marketing and communications professionals out there who at some point may have slapped their foreheads over lackluster responses to their company’s product or strategy roll-outs. Thoughts such as “Why didn’t it work? “, “We did everything by the book and yet there are still people complaining that they don’t get what we do” might have crossed their minds.
A key component of a product and strategy roll-outs involves message testing and market research with customers, partners and the media including engaging with internal stakeholders every step of the way. Yet despite these efforts there can be instances where the final message doesn’t resonate with target audiences by the time it goes to launch. Has this happened to you?
There might be several reasons why the messaging could have been off target but Hill & Knowlton has identified the top five as:
1. You didn’t care
2. You didn’t understand
3. You didn’t believe
4. You didn’t know how to apply it to the real world
5. It sounded like something a competitor was already saying
By involving some of the crucial stakeholders I highlighted above, there is one category that we have often found missing from the messaging testing mix – analysts. Which brings me to ask, how many of you thought about talking to a trusted analyst during the message testing process?
The analyst perspective during the messaging process can be vital in getting competitive intelligence. An analyst inquiry provides insights into not only what your competitors are saying or doing (which isn’t under NDA of course!) but the market’s reaction to a particular product at a particular time.
Analyst discussions at the planning stage of the messaging process means you get an advance preview of the business and economic trends that can impact the time you go to market. Most importantly it can also aid you in how you should structure your messaging and review who else is saying what you are planning on saying.
As many of you start planning and discussing strategy roll-outs for new products or messaging, I would recommend giving some thought to how you can involve your analyst teams and contacts in the process. Getting analysts to give you their perspective during this process is where you will get the most value during the planning and preparation stage.
Going to market with a message that rings true, is compelling and succinct are all crucial factors. But messages that provide a call to action and differentiate you from your competitors really indicate that your messaging has hit the mark. Without these factors, it might be too expensive an exercise and sometimes too late to go back to the drawing board.