December 18, 2017

Your Messaging Sucks! Now Let’s Go Fix It! (ProductCamp Austin 14)

On March 7th, 2015, I presented the following session at ProductCamp 14 (PCA14).  It was a great session with lot’s of interactive discussion and insights from the session participants.  Thanks to all for sharing and making it a great session!

Our Messages Too Often Focus on Features, Not Benefits!

The key focus of this presentation was to show that way too often, our market messages are about product features and not about the problems and benefits of our target customers.  Sometimes, we think we are talking about benefits (e.g., 24 hour access), when in reality, that is still a feature, or we say a benefit (e.g., reduced wear and tear), but that is a low order benefit, or what I also call a functional benefit.  But in either example, we still don’t connect to the real benefit of your target buying personas.  The other challenge is that in a complex B2B situation, there are many buying personas, but each persona places importance on different aspects of the benefits.  

How a Message Map Helps You Connect Features to the Real Benefits for Each Buyer Persona

What I presented in this session was the concept of a “Benefits Map”.   In this example, I mapped the connection from features to functional benefits to benefits for different buying personas and eventually, how this all connects with the benefits of the Executive Buyer.   The “Benefits Map” is useful to help you work through what the real benefits are for each buying persona and connect features and lower order benefits to show how the benefits are achieved.   This can then help you better target your messaging to each buying persona and to help sales have the right kind of conversations with each buying persona.


  1. Thanks for sharing these slides, Tom. There’s an interesting dynamic in messaging to various personas.

    On the one hand, different messaging and different benefits resonate with different personas. On the other hand, a brand can ultimate stand for only one thing in the minds of prospects.

    So not only do benefits need to map to higher order benefits, they all really need to roll up to a singular, overarching value proposition.

    • compellingpm says:

      Hi Roger – thanks so much. You are correct! Product or brand messaging must be based upon on clear positioning, in such that the Positioning is the base of your messaging platform. Please see my presentation on Creating a Powerful Messaging Platform.

      My goal in this presentation was to show that sometimes what you often express as a benefit, is not the real benefit, nor the ultimate higher order benefit. I also want to show that you can still target messages to specific personas, but at the same time, achieve a linkage to the higher order benefits, and ultimately the positioning.


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