Your must-have core messaging framework: A guide for high-tech startups

  • SafeBreach, a security breach company, offers content by role (chief security officer, security analyst, and security red team engineer).
  • Looker, a data analytics company, shepherds visitors to information by department (sales analytics, marketing analytics, account management, etc.) and industry (e-commerce, SaaS, gaming, etc.).
  • Comparably, a compensation comparison site, guides the experience by context (see how much people like you get paid, anonymously rate your workplace, etc.).
  • Top-level positioning needs to point to the intersection of customer need, white space, and your unique capabilities.
  • If you can identify that intersection, you can easily articulate your value proposition, using the FOR-WHO-PROVIDES-UNLIKE-ONLY model.
  • Know your customer before you ever get started on messaging. And I mean really walk in his/her shoes!
  • Consider organizing messages by audience — by role, department, industry, context, or whatever makes sense. You can do this in the solutions section of your website, or by funneling website visitors to specific content. Also consider messaging by use case, which will position your company or product in the context of your customer’s pain point.
  • When it comes to product- and feature-level messaging, discipline is your friend. Fill out and maintain the product/feature worksheet, clearly articulating message pillars, customer pain, requirements, short/long descriptions, product/feature details, and benefits (include evidence or proof points in those benefits, if you can).
  • You will be golden if you approach all messaging with an eye toward consistency and adhere to MECE.
  • Write your boiler plate messaging modularly, and make it available to all of your internal stakeholders and external partners so you’re all singing from the same hymn book.
  • Remember to pull together and maintain your core messaging document — your company’s bible — which should include (at least): high-level positioning; customer personas; product- and feature-level messaging; use cases; and boiler plates (tagline, definitional fragment, 25-word, 50-word, and 100-word).

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