This is an example of our signature service. The client was a small business that provides professional coaching services. They were looking to add an on-line course to their product line. They wanted help with identifying an appealing unique value proposition, and figuring out what kind of messaging would resonate with potential customers.
The first step was to get a better understanding of the coaching industry. We used the IBIS World database for that. There were three key take-aways from the industry analysis:
- Millenials tend to like receiving services on-line. Good thing for an on-line course.
- Most people using coaching services are high earners - household income of $100K or more. Good to know.
- Because there are no licensing or regulatory requirements to provide coaching services, there have been some unqualified and incompetent coaches who have hurt the industry's reputation. This was clearly something that needed to be addressed in messaging.
After understanding the industry overall, the next step was to look at competitors who were offering a similar product. We selected 5 competitor courses and carefully examined their course websites. It turned out that all the courses promised essentially the same thing as the client's course. The client's course was at the high end in terms of pricing, so competing on price wasn't an option. We considered competing on quality, but in a domain like professional coaching, quality is tricky to demonstrate - everyone has testimonials and lots of "satisfied customers." So we settled on competing based on fit.
Segmentation and personas
Working with the client, we identified three target markets to focus on, and created personas for each of them. A persona is a description of a hypothetical customer that represents one market segment. Although you could describe a market segment just in terms of demographics or psychographics - 50-something female empty nesters, for example - adding a name, a face, and some personal details makes it much easier to see things from the customer's perspective, which is key in a customer-centric marketing approach.
User testing and survey
Having identified the target customers, we recruited people from of the market segments to look over the website for the client's course and respond to some questions about it. Overall, they felt the website focused more on selling than informing - too much pitching, not enough details about what the course involves. To better understand what was creating the sales pitch vibe, and how to avoid it, we conducted a follow-up survey with a new set of consumers. The results of the survey suggested that for this kind of service, authenticity really resonates with consumers.
Pulling together all the work done up to that point, we identified four messaging goals for the client:
For each goal, we provided examples from competitor sites to show would it would look like in practice.
If you'd like to see the full report, you can view it here:
Sample marketing insight report