The 411 About Deriving Marketing Claims From Market Research
by Sara Sutton and Sheela Avila
Have you heard that the average person has the attention span of a goldfish?While that’s an exaggeration, it’s true that marketers have just a few seconds to capture a person’s interest in buying or recommending your product. To do this, companies will often use marketing claims, which are typically short, snappy phrases that pack a punch!
What are marketing claims?
A marketing claim is any statement made about your product or brand that a reader would reasonably expect your company to be able to prove. Claims can be statements about features, benefits, reasons to believe, product-performance metrics, preference data, and more. Claims are often included in product descriptions, on packaging, and/or in advertising to entice the consumer to buy the product by providing objective information they can rely upon when making their purchase decision.
As such, U.S. law requires that express and implied claims be truthful, not misleading, and supported by a reasonable basis. Depending on the type of claim, this reasonable basis of substantiation sometimes consists of tests, analyses, or market research studies conducted by professional, reputable firms. This ensures that the tests are conducted in an objective manner that is accepted within the industry and that the analyses and results can therefore be relied upon.
Why use marketing claims?
When a consumer is choosing between two comparable products, or when a healthcare professional (HCP) is deciding which product to recommend, the product with a strong, memorable, and convincing claim is more likely to win the battle.
Remember the goldfish? Including a claim on your product will not only catch the consumer’s attention but will also hold it longer, giving your product the edge it needs to convince the shopper to buy. Additionally, people naturally want validation that their choice is the right one, so they tend to gravitate towards reviews and recommendations from friends, family, and HCPs. Word-of-mouth is gold, and including a strong claim is the next best thing to hearing it from the horse’s mouth.
How do I develop marketing claims?
Claims require substantiation. The amount of substantiation needed can depend on several factors, like the type of product, the specificity of the claim, and the consequences to the consumer if the claim were false. For claims derived from market research studies, an adequate sample size that will yield reliable statistics is needed to achieve the reasonable basis for substantiation. And each company decides what they (and their legal eagles) are comfortable with.
For many clients that Decision Analyst develops claims for (such as with our home use testing approach), the magic number is often 150 consumers (or 150 professionals, if the claim is about recommendation or something similar). Some like 200 consumers or professionals, which, depending on the sample universe, can be more statistically sound. The right sample size depends on the types of claims being developed and can reach up to 1,000 representative consumers (for a broad-use consumer category, for instance). Most companies (and selling channels, such as Amazon) require claim substantiation to be updated every two years for the claim to continue being used in marketing within their channels.
Overall, claims should be clear, concise, easy to understand, unlikely to be misinterpreted, and properly substantiated (as discussed above). For example:
- Brand A is recommended by over 3 in 4 dermatologists.
- 8 in 10 would switch from their current brand to Brand A.
- 1 in 2 are more satisfied with Brand A than with their current brand.
- 7 in 10 agree Brand A is easier to use than the leading brand.
- 6 in 10 say that Brand A is a better value for the money than the leading brand.
Claims like these can be drawn from well-designed, well-executed market research studies. The trick is to find claims that will appeal to consumers and strongly position your product or service as superior to others, and then design the research to assess those potential claims. A well-formulated survey instrument can yield many potential claims, from which you can select those that are strongest or deemed most important to potential buyers (both of which can also be assessed via market research).
The claims also need to accurately represent your product. If your claims overpromise, you may generate a lot of trial, but no repeat purchases and you could actually damage your brand. If you underpromise, your claims may not generate trial in the first place.
Including impactful claims, using words and phrases that resonate with consumers, is an easy way to increase your product’s stopping power and ultimately increase sales.
About the Authors
Sara Sutton (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Senior Vice President and Sheela Avila (email@example.com) is a Senior Research Manager. They may be reached at 1-800-262-5974 or 1-817-640-6166.
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