A couple of weeks ago, I went through a buyer persona and messaging exercise with a client.

We were attempting to identify the people who matter within their key verticals and then develop messaging that resonated. We want to create messaging that identified their customer’s problems, pinpoint how the company delivered a great solution and what success looks like.

core messagingWe completed the process and gained a lot of insight into how we had to change the company’s marketing and sales.

A week later, one of the people involved sent me an email: “Now, what do we do? We have the buyer personas. We have strategic messaging. What’s next?”.

I replied, “The problem is the buyer personas and messaging were developed by three people sitting in a room”.

It’s a technique used by many companies. It offers an insular view of the world. We think we know what matters and what will resonate but we don’t know for certain.

The truth was that we only had one view of the world based on our perspective and inherent biases.

After thinking about it, I went back to the client and told them to consider four different approaches to assess the messaging’s success.

First, test it with customers; customers who see themselves as advocates and evangelists or at least they’re active supporters.

These are people happy to provide honest and constructive feedback. I suggested the company unveil its new buyer personas and messaging to see how well they worked.

It is imperative to approach different types of customers. You want to talk with customers who have been in the fold for a long time, new customers, and even customers who aren’t entirely happy but still using your product.

Second, when doing a sales call or a demo, insert some of the key messages into your existing story and gauge the reaction.

If someone nods their head or asks questions, you’re onto something. If the new messaging doesn’t resonate or if people are confused, you may have missed the mark.

In many respects, it is like a comedian looking to insert new jokes into their routines. Some of the new material will make people laugh while some jokes will fall flat. The only way to really know what’s what is putting the material out there to see if and how the audience reacts.

The third technique is using an entirely new message when talking to prospects; people that you met at a conference or an inbound lead. Shelve the old ways and stories used to communicate with prospects to test your new messaging.

In a sense, it’s A/B testing to determine if the new message resonates better than the old one. Again, you need to measure the reaction. Did it work? What worked? How well did it work? And did it work better than what we had before?

The fourth approach is using a service as deploying user-testing services such as UserTesting to quickly discover what people around the world think. It’s an efficient way to receive third-party opinions that have no connection to your customers or prospects.

Creating messaging yourself is challenging even if you’re smart, know your market, and have lots of experience. You’re armed with your own perspective. So talk to prospects and customers, conduct A/B testing, and do whatever possible to get  feedback to develop messaging makes an impact.

In my new book, Marketing Spark, one of the chapters looks at how to develop messaging that resonates and establishes connections with the people who matter. It puts the spotlight on best practices and provides tools and templates to develop messaging more easily.

Marketing Spark also provides insight on how to capitalize on other channels, as well as insight into the power of story-driven marketing.