Clearworks Conversations: Using Customer Insights to Develop Messaging that Speaks to Buyers in Their Own Words

Our Clearworks Conversations Blog Series features interviews with leaders who we feel have a unique perspective to share. In this blog post, Clearworks’ Karie Starrett interviews Nishta Giallorenzo, Chief Marketing Officer at Cipher Health. In the interview Nishta shares how she has used customer research to inform her messaging strategies and how integral those insights have been to her work.

Karie: You have worked on some new messaging in the past few years.  How have you approached developing messaging?
Nishta: It all starts with the buyer in mind. Making sure that we really understand the buyer, who we are talking to beyond their title and place of work.  It is also understanding their main drivers, their motivators, their fears, their problems, their priorities, what will get them fired, what will get them promoted.  We want to really be able to understand what drives them on a day-to-day basis.  Starting there is critical for me.

Karie: How have you used customer research to help formulate the messaging?
Nishta: Investing in customer research to engage with customers in the buying cycle is very important.  Incorporating the problems customers face and being able to write out the problem statement or the issues that we are going to help them solve as we start formulating messaging.  Messaging needs to clearly articulate the value that we are presenting to the buyer in response to a particular problem that they face.

Karie: How has customer research helped you talk about your solution in a way that is more meaningful to your audience?
Nishta: Marketers often fall into the trap of using terms and expressions that mean everything but also nothing.  We use customer research to learn how to speak to buyers in their own words – to hear their words, hear how they articulate their problems and how they would want to see a solution presented to them.  We also use customer research to test messaging. It is often a collaborative effort with sales and product teams to create compelling value props and messages.  Taking the value prop back to the buyers for testing helps to fine tune and really hit the mark.

Karie: Through the whole process of developing your messaging, talking to customers, learning from them and testing messages did you have any big aha’s along the way when you did your messaging research?  Is there anything that you learned that you were surprised about?
Nishta: There were some words that we used internally, to describe our solutions and platform. During testing we learned that some of those words or expressions that we used in our communications regularly did not resonate at all. That was an important aha moment. We decided to take them out of our vocabulary and also train the broader team on the findings.

Karie: Is there any advice you would give someone trying to determine whether they need customer research to inform their messaging?
Nishta: I think customer research is so integral to the work we do as marketers. I, for example, used Clearworks to create a standardized methodology for collecting information on the market’s perception of CipherHealth and its solutions. It is important to couple this information with feedback from our frontline staff.  I find that a combination of methodical customer research and anecdotal feedback from sales and customer success teams is the most useful.

Karie: Is there anything additional you would like to share?
Nishta: Messaging is a continuous, iterative process.  You never get it spot on.  So understanding that it is not just a one time investment in customer research is important.  First, you have to be committed to working with a customer’s needs and problems at the center of any framework that you use.  So as you think about fine-tuning messaging, create an effective feedback loop with your customer base as customer perceptions will evolve with time.  Ideally, you will create messaging cycles that enable your team to evolve along with your customers.

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I love chatting about customer research. Reach out if you want to chat about how you can use insights to inform your messaging strategies.

Karie Starrett 
karie@clearworks.net

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