Growth Marketing Product Messaging – Course Review

Growth Marketing Product Messaging – Course Review

This post discusses the Growth Marketing Product Messaging course as part of Track 4 (of 7) for the Growth Marketing program from the CXL Institute. The course is taught by Momoko Price, a conversion copywriter at Kantan Design. It covers how to use customer research and analysis to create strategic messaging, including voice-of-customer research, copy teardown, message mining, value proposition design, message hierarchies, and conversion-focused message design. 

Building Blocks of Product Messaging.

Price acknowledges three primary sources that underpin her approach: Cialdini’s 7 Principles of Influence, Claude Hopkins’ Scientific Advertising, and MECLab’s Conversion Heuristic Formula.

How to Conduct a Copy ‘Teardown’.

Price touches on general/heuristic approaches to reviewing existing pages for copy effectiveness but points out that these approaches tend to fall victim to ‘opinions’ and ‘advice’ – shifting wildly from expert to expert. She suggests a more methodical and reliable approach is a ‘tear-down’.

Those participating in teardown review of existing product messaging use MECLab’s Conversion Heuristic FormulaC = 4M + 3V + 2(I-F) – 2A as a guideline to assign importance weighting to the following:

  • C is (probability of conversion)
  • M is Motivation
  • V is Value
  • I-F is (Incentive – Friction)
  • A is Anxiety

Price has provided a helpful teardown checklist template to use in the process. (It’s important to note MECLab’s Conversion Heuristic Formula is not meant as a literal scientific formula, but rather as a guideline of importance weighting.)

Message Mining.

Customers are often more effective at recognizing and explaining the real-world value of a product than the company that makes the product. That’s where ‘message mining’ comes in – it’s the process of scouring the internet (Trust Pilot, G2, Amazon, etc.) or other sources for instances of a target customer voicing what they care about most when it comes to a product or solution. Mining is great for identifying key messages, and ‘swiping’ memorable copy. This can be an especially valuable approach if you don’t have customers yet. Price includes a message mining form & spreadsheet.

Mining for ‘Swipes’.

The process of mining for ‘swipes’ is literally copying and pasting (‘swiping’) messages found during research that will later be reworked into useful product messaging. What are we looking for?

Referencing back to MECLab’s Conversion Heuristic Formula of C = 4M + 3V + 2(I-F) – 2A, message mining produces the best results when focused on:

    • M – For desired outcomes, pain points & problems 
    • V – For unique benefits & advantages, delightful features/attributes, dealbreaker needs
    • A – For uncertainties, objections, and perceived risks
  • Exactly how real people describe the product
  • What they rave about
  • Things they hate
  • Suspicions and burns in the past
  • Real-life problems the product helps them solve
  • Analogies and similes they use.

What do we use swipes for?

According to’s Joanna Weibe:

  • Relevant, value-focused headlines 
  • Authentic lead paragraphs & hooks 
  • Market-specific terminology & slang 
  • Emotionally-engaging purchase prompts 
  • Laser-accurate objections

Mining Messages From Customers.

Beyond the process of message mining online, one can extract the foundation of sales narrative and page copy through voice-of-customer research methods, including surveys, interviews, and user tests. Price, again, provides amazing resources to steer through the process:

Crafting Effective Unique Value Propositions (UVP).

Calling back again to the MECLab’s Conversion Heuristic Formula of C = 4M + 3V + 2(I-F) – 2A, it’s clear that motivation (M) is of highest importance (multiple of 4), but the majority of motivation outcomes are well beyond a brand or product’s control. 

As such, energy is wisely focused on the next most important element, which is ‘value’ (V, with a multiple of 3). Value can be conveyed in the form, clarity, and power of a unique value proposition (UVP). UVPs are interchangeable with the following ‘reason to buy’ questions – all ultimately asking, “what’s in it for me, and why should I choose your product?”

  • “Reason to buy”
  • “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM)
  • “Why should I choose you (over X)?”
  • “What’s your differentiator?”
  • “What’s your unique advantage?”

A very simple UVP stress test is to bluntly ask yourself two follow up questions:

  • “So what? (Or less politely, “Who gives a shit?”)
  •  “Okay, fine, can you prove it?”

Price provides an easy-to-use Value Proposition & Headline Worksheet to brainstorm for best UVP (esp for new products). The materials focus on the following:

  1. List your product Key Features
  2. Pinpoint those that are unique
  3. List customer pain points for each feature
  4. Define desirable outcomes for each pain
  5. Score pains/outcomes by severity and frequency
  6. Edit top scores pain/outcomes into UVPs
  7. Score UVPs and go with the best

Building blocks of UVP.

While UVPs fundamentally change with the product type and audience awareness, devising strong value propositions for virtually any product — even new products — is possible if you use a logical, repeatable framework.

Message Hierarchies.

Shaping raw, rambly customer-generated comments into surprisingly compelling headlines, subheadlines, and body copy is relatively simple when utilizing a data-driven approach to your first draft. All the ‘swiping’ and survey work can be used within a sales page story framework that follows this flow: UVP —>Motivation—> Value —> Anxiety —> CTA. Price has provided an interactive and fully editable Sales Page Template.

Editing & Punching Up Your Copy.

With a draft created in the UVP —>Motivation—> Value —> Anxiety —> CTA framework, the final step is to make the sales copy significantly better by following a few simple, conversion-focused editing principles (see the full Editing Checklist).

Sales Page Editing Checklist Highlights:

  • Are you being as CLEAR as possible about what you’re offering and why?
  • Did you make sure that your page’s hero copy (above the fold copy) is closely aligned with the copy that compels most users to click over to the page (ad copy, SERP copy, etc.)?
  • Did you overwhelm the reader with awesome value? Would someone read your page and think “holy crap, this is an amazing opportunity that would make my life SO much better”?
  • Would your copy stand up to and clearly address a skeptical, grumpy prospect’s questions of “So what?” and “Prove it”?
  • Did you remove dull, abstract, or generic descriptions with word pictures (i.e. copy that paints a picture)?
  • Does your copy explicitly call out things that should be noticed in your imagery & video?
  • Does your imagery & video explicitly support the messaging of the copy?
  • Have you gone through and cut EVERYTHING that isn’t doing at least one of the following tasks:
    • Reflecting & matching your reader’s motivation?
    • Conveying & clarifying the value that’s being offered?
    • Proving a claim?
    • Addressing an anxiety?
    • Adding authenticity or memorable specificity?
  • Replace general nouns with specific ones.
  • Replace generic adjectives with vivid ones.
  • Replace weak verbs with punchy ones.

Conversion-Focused Formatting & Layout:

  • Make copy as easy to scan & read as possible in a digital context.
  • Leverage key design principles to control the order, pacing, and emphasis of your copy in your readers’ heads.
  • Create actual-size, clickable prototypes of your page copy that you can share with your team.
  • Consider and evaluate:
    • The position of each piece of copy on the page.
    • The size of each piece of copy.
    • The order in which the copy appears.
    • The amount of space/clutter around the copy.
    • The typography of the copy.
    • Directional cues toward or away from copy.
    • Color contrast vs. background, imagery, buttons.

Send your suggestions for Growth Marketing resources to .

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Todd Denis

VP Marketing ★ Human from Earth ★ 15+ years marketing strategy, content, social media, digital, creative, operations, transformation ★ Not a robot

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