When to Conduct Message Testing
Read time: 4 minutes
When your company is developing messaging around a new or existing product, solution, or brand, message testing is a critical tool to help connect your message with what your customers care about. We’ve previously explored what message testing is and why it matters. The questions that follow are where does message testing fit into the research life cycle, and when in your communication development process should you plan to conduct such testing?
Where does message testing fit?
Message testing research can be particularly impactful before the launch of a new or improved product, service, or brand. It allows you to test your messaging concept with your target customers or users, helping ensure your message will produce the intended effect.
Before conducting message testing, you should be far enough along in your research and product development processes that you’ve assessed the competitive landscape, learned about your customers’ pain points, and come up with new or improved solutions. You can now conduct message-testing research to help you identify the optimal communication tactics to market your new product or service, or announce a change to an existing product or brand.
When should you consider message testing?
When you’re planning your go-to-market strategy and developing your communication approach, keep in mind that messages don’t always need to be fully developed before testing. You may wish to pursue message testing at separate phases of your communication development process, such as in exploring, refining, or validating.
- In the initial stages of developing your communications, you may have a preliminary idea of themes to explore or a general direction for your message. However, it may not be fully developed. It doesn’t necessarily need to be complete before you pursue message testing. At this stage, message testing can help you develop a baseline understanding of how your end customers would react to these early concepts to clarify the direction your message development should take.
- Once you’ve explored the right direction for your message, you can start formalizing those communication concepts. From here, you may have a few — or many — message concepts to test before settling on the final strategy. In this stage, message testing allows you to understand which elements, among many messages, resonate the most and can help you pinpoint your final messaging statement(s). You can repeat this stage many times until you land on the optimal approach.
- Once you’ve refined and developed your message, you may want feedback on slight variations among messages to confirm the best approach. Typically, in this stage, you have no more than two to three messages you’re looking to test. Message testing can help you gather feedback from customers/users on minor language differences or glean their preferred message among a few options, enabling you to assess go/no-go readiness ahead of launch.
While there are a few inflection points during the message development journey, you could consider conducting message-testing research whether your message is fully developed or not.
The sooner you start your message-testing research, the more time you have to hone your strategy before launch. You can vary your approach at each stage to glean different types of insights. For instance, you may choose to conduct qualitative research in earlier stages to get deeper information on reactions and then pursue a quantitative methodology later to validate the final approach
Keep in mind that once you launch, customer attitudes may shift over time in response to changing dynamics in the market. As the landscape changes — whether due to emerging competitors, new technology, or new customers — periodically message testing can ensure your messaging continues to resonate and stays relevant.
Research and product development require a substantial amount of time and financial commitment, so make sure you get the most out of that investment. When conducted before a broader launch, message-testing research can help you explore, refine, or validate that your communication approach will resonate with, and produce the intended outcome from, your target audience.
To craft the best message and help deliver your intended business outcome, you want to align with your customer needs and brand values to effectively reach your desired audience. GLG’s data-driven approach helps you develop messaging, measure its performance, and enhance it with clarity and confidence. Learn More.
About Lauren Bledsoe and Meaghan Bradley
Lauren Bledsoe and Meaghan Bradley lead experienced teams supporting GLG’s Professional Services Firm clientele and Corporate clientele in the Americas, respectively. Their teams provide customized qualitative research offerings with either panel-only (B2B) or full-service options. Engagement formats include SME (subject matter expert) placements/staff augmentation, focus groups, panels/ad boards, online discussion boards, workshops, and in-person in-depth interviews.
Lauren has more than 9 years of client service experience and Meaghan has more than 6 years of client service experience in a qualitative research context spanning both the United States and EMEA. Lauren earned her bachelor’s degree after studying Public Policy and Business at Duke University. Meaghan earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Manhattan College.
You can also download our ebook, Message Testing Best Practices.
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