The So What, So That Test (SWST) from our Growth Mapper framework is an exercise that helps you define your business value to customers and potential clients by identifying what problem(s) they face, how it affects them negatively/positively (So What), why they should care about this issue whatsoever (So That).
Let’s take a look at the So What, So That Test (SWST) from our Growth Mapper framework in more detail.
Why Use the SWST Test?
The SWST test is a great tool to help you determine the best way to communicate your business proposition so that your audience immediately understands its value. This means helping them understand how it will solve their problems and give them what they want, which in turn means getting more of what you want – customers!
You’ve turned over every rock and scratched all surfaces to understand your business. You can talk about it with confidence, expertise, and authority.
Now, you may be an expert, but your customers aren’t. You can get swept up in the finer details when you talk like one- using complex jargon that’s lost on them and makes you seem removed from their perspective.
The SWST Test
The graphic below shows a flow chart starting on the left side. For each section, there are three titles: “My business” (above), then “So that my customers can” and finally “Resulting in.” The final step is called “Benefit statements (your value proposition)”.
The goal of this passage is to help you communicate the value your business provides in a way that’s easy for customers to understand. To do so, take some simple facts about what your product or service does and turn them into benefit-led statements.
In this example, we’re using an accountancy practice as a basis for demonstrating how it works.
Let’s take a look at this exercise in action below by taking an actual example of its usage: In the case of our fictitious company – “Accounting Practices,” they have audited their client base and determined that about 10% are small business owners who might be interested in services other than just audits.
So, when these potential clients come to them looking for help with taxes or payroll management, this Accounting Practice uses specific messaging to resonate with those individuals.
As you can see, the accountancy firm offers three services for businesses. They are bookkeeping, management reports within 7 days of month-end, and tax advice.
So what? Why would these services matter to an accountant’s target audience immediately and directly?
The next part explains that by linking the service to its immediate outcome you address this question, before digging a little deeper into why it matters in future terms.
To provide a more interesting example, an accountant providing bookkeeping services allows their clients to keep up-to-date accounts. This is the simplest form of what they do. So we fill in this section like so.
“So that my customers can…”
- Keep up-to-date accounts
- Make faster and more informed decisions
- Minimise “accidental” tax
We need to find the core benefit of your product. What is it that people are trying to accomplish by purchasing this? Why do they care about these specific benefits, and how will it affect their lives if you were able to provide them with what they want/need?
A business owner isn’t motivated to hire an accountant simply for up-to-date accounts. That’s a by-product of the service. The true benefit is that they want peace of mind, and not having to stress out about filing their taxes on time every year. This is an emotional benefit we express in the exercise.
- Peace of mind
- A stronger business
- More available capital to invest or extract
We now have the pieces we need to create our key messages.
Let’s take the tax advice service as an example: My [accountancy firm] provides tax advice so that my customers can minimize “accidental” tax, resulting in more available capital to invest or extract.
Pretty standard service for an accountancy practice (tax advice) comes with a compelling reason why someone would want to use it after we follow the framework. It is not because they simply want tax advice, but instead because they can save money by using our services and this benefit matters most in their daily life.
When you do that, it can lead to a meaningful and benefit-led value proposition that speaks directly to your ideal customer:
Our expert tax advice helps you avoid paying more tax than you need to, meaning you get to keep more of your hard-earned money to invest in your business – or yourself.
To successfully position your business, you must communicate in a way that is easily understood by customers. If you use jargon or stroke your own ego instead of speaking to them and using language they understand, then it’s less likely for them to be engaged.
The SWST test gives you a structure and direction to provide more targeted messaging for your audience. Once you have refined the messaging, it is then possible to change up tone or wording in order to better match with your brand’s identity.
Want to make improvements to your messaging? Download the workbook here and give it a go.