It’s never been more important than in today’s fragile economy to have robust messages that are as effective as possible with your target customers. As a marketer, you want to be sure you’ve taken as much risk as possible out of the equation, when deciding where to put your hard-earned dollars.
But sometimes you or your agency may forget all the time you’ve spent learning the nuances of your brand. You’ve thought about it from every possible perspective. The problem that can arise is that your customer may have only thought of it from one viewpoint: theirs. This can result in a research project that seems to be doing the right thing: digging deep. But instead of letting consumers focus on the big questions, it may result in exploring small issues at great length. Making insignificant issues into significant ones usually means the respondent will have a tough time answering your questions, no matter how they try. Asking them to review 100 combinations and permutations of a phrase that means “cleaner”, “stronger”, or “tastier” may result in a compromised version that is acceptable to the majority, but in reality is dingy, weak, or flavourless.
Instead, it’s better to determine the customer’s overall reaction to your message, based on some key criteria. Present your respondents with a few core messages. Don’t explain or defend, but simply have them talk about their reaction. Get them to show you what they like or don’t like. Ask them to expose flaws only if you expect them to offer solutions. Then probe on the following key areas:
- Validity – can they identify the proof? In other words, can customers show you or explain to you what, specifically, makes them believe your message is true?
- Credibility – what makes the message “trust-able”? Explore with them all the aspects of what makes your message trustworthy – including characters or situations used in conjunction with your message, sounds, smells or colours, even types of media that would or wouldn’t work.
- Motivation – where’s the call to action? What exactly does the message mean? They know the purpose of marketing messages is to get them to do something, so what is that, exactly?
- Resonance – does it mean something to them? Do they care? Can they say, “that’s it! That’s just what I think!”?
If your message has validity, credibility, and is motivating and resonant to your target audience, you’re headed in the right direction. If it doesn’t, their explanations of why not should give you good guidance when you go back to the drawing board.
Looking at the big picture,
Megann and Steve