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Five Ways to Test Your Messaging for Greatness

 By Michael Cannon

Maybe you are wondering if your marketing team creates great messaging. Or, maybe you’re not happy with your current messaging, and are not certain how to constructively communicate with your team why you don’t feel right about the messaging, or maybe you are unsure how best to improve it.

You’re not alone. According to a recent poll by BtoB Magazine, 70% of the marketing people gave themselves a “D” or an “F” grade on how well they prepare and provide sales support messaging and materials.

Use these five tests listed below to help make your messaging more persuasive or use them as objective evaluation criteria in a discussion with your marketing team. The tests assume that you understand how persuasive messaging is different from descriptive messaging, and that the messaging is appropriate for your product’s life cycle and sales cycle.

#1: Persuasive Messaging Must Communicate Key Differentiation Points

Most messaging does not clearly differentiate how your solution is better than the buyer’s current solution, nor does it clearly differentiate how your solution is better than the competitor’s solution. Persuasive messaging must provide concrete answers to your buyer’s primary questions such as: “Why should I change from the status quo to a new solution?” and “Why should I buy this new solution from your company instead of your competitors?” Persuasive messaging uses one or more of the five differentiators that are of most interest to your buyers:




You will save time.


You will save money.


You will reduce the risk of wasting time and money.


You will gain market share, better margins, or return on assets.


You will get a bonus, promotion, or recognition.

Does your messaging create clear differentiation using one or more differentiation themes?

#2: Persuasive Messaging Must Include Sharply Contrasting Adjectives

Consider the following two statements:

  • Our product is one of the fastest on the market
  • Our product has been benchmarked to be the absolute fastest

Which statement is more compelling?

Another example:

  • Silver Bullet Group is a leading provider of persuasive messaging solutions
  • Silver Bullet Group is the global leader in persuasive messaging solutions

Many neuroscience studies have concluded that the brain comprehends best when presented with clear contrasts between opposites like black and white, best and worst, fastest and slowest. That’s why persuasive messaging must include sharply contrasting adjectives such as only, fastest, easiest, most, best, etc., in order to clearly differentiate your solution from the competition’s.

Does your messaging use sharply contrasting adjectives?

#3: Persuasive Messaging Must Quantify the Differences

Quantification is another strategy to clearly differentiate your solution from the customer’s current solution and from competitive alternatives. For example, change:

  • “Reduce network cost” to “reduce network cost by 15% or more”
  • “Unmatched performance” to “25% better network performance”

Does your messaging quantify the differences?

#4: Persuasive Messaging Makes Claims That No Other Company Can Make

You are competing with so many messages in the marketplace that to truly stand out from your competition, your company must be the only one able to make the claims you do. If your competition is saying the same things as you, your messaging will not rise above the others and buyers will perceive it as “me too.” It must be very easy for your buyers to see you as different — and as the best of all competitive options and vendors. For example, change “great service” to “rated #1 in service with 98.7% customer satisfaction score.”

Does your messaging make claims that no other company can make?

#5: Persuasive Messaging Is Validated

While some companies do make claims that no other company makes, they often then fail to ensure that those claims address the buyer’s needs. They have not asked their customers, “Why did you buy from us? What do you like and/or dislike about our messaging? What would you change and why?”

Instead, they believe that they know what their customers want and thus fail to listen to the voice of the customer. For instance, a company may tout its car as having the best acceleration (the zero-to-sixty factor) in its class when their buyers care more about gas mileage and reliability. It’s crucially important that you validate your messaging with customers and your sales/channel teams too.

Does your messaging get validated by your external and internal customers as relevant to their needs?


Resources to Implement the Most Influential Customer Communications

Michael Cannon is an internationally renowned marketing and sales effectiveness expert, best-selling author, speaker and an authority on persuasive messaging and enabling B2B companies to engage customers with the most influential communications. Visit silverbulletgroup.com or call 925-930-9436.



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