How Product Marketing and the creation of new categories can revolutionize your company – WAU
Creating categories for a software company is the best strategy for growth. It is a strategy that goes beyond innovation and is focused on creating something different. If you claim to have a better offer than an existing category, your efforts simply reinforce the position of a market leader in a category […]
Creating categories for a software company is the best strategy for growth. It is a strategy that goes beyond innovation and is focused on creating something different.
If you claim to have a better offer than an existing category, your efforts simply reinforce the position of a market leader in an existing category. It is better to create your own sandbox and establish yourself as a leader, than to play in an existing sandbox.
The spirit of entrepreneurship and the true guides to technological and economic progress are rooted in the creation of categories.
A new category often shares roots with another class of products, but delivers exponentially better benefits, experiences and savings. In addition to a distinct business model.
While there is much merit (and profit) in improving existing models, in the long run, data show that the market positively recognizes companies in new categories.
But how do these categories come about? Why are they really strategies that benefit companies? We will tell you all this, just continue reading:
The emergence of new categories and their benefits
Most business category opportunities are created by the confluence of a number of macro trends that make current categories redundant.
Totally innovative opportunities do not suddenly appear. An example of a new category is Gainsight. The company started to develop software for managing Customer Success when SaaS (Software as a Service) started to be the dominant model in the technological market.
Prior to this change, Customer Success was not a high priority, but when its adoption started to expand, we began to see a new organizational role emerge in the form of Customer Success managers.
Another example is Hubspot, which is basically a CRM. When the company was created, there were many CRM companies on the market, including the giant, Salesforce. At that point, they could have positioned themselves as a CRM that does XYZ in better ways than Salesforce.
Instead, they created a new category for Inbound Marketing as an entirely different way to engage potential buyers. They write content about the problem and then introduce a new way of generating leads and connecting with prospects through Inbound Marketing.
Eloqua and Marketo were part of the behavioral change of consumers who led a new way of doing business. In which potential consumers were increasingly researching products and services online before purchasing. Its B2B solutions have emerged as a category in marketing automation.
Hootsuite and others emerged in the social media marketing category when platforms like Twitter and Facebook started to become popular. And so on.
The purpose of creating categories is not just to disrupt the way companies work and what individuals do on a daily basis.
Creating categories is about setting a price. And this process is important because the price determines the value of that category from now on. If you are in an existing market, you need to adjust to an already established value.
If you create a new management tool project, the price of platforms in these categories is already established. However, when creating a new category you control the rules of the game, dictating the size of the market and its price.
With the creation of categories comes the need to create a concept in people’s minds. It’s about creating a new problem and delivering the solution to it. This process is not like any other marketing and branding exercise. You are not describing a narrative, you are creating and selling something totally innovative.
The role of IT in creating categories
To complicate matters, theories about the death of information technology, or the belief that companies will continue to empower themselves through software are still in transition.
The line between business functions and IT is increasingly blurred. And “SaaS” services will dominate the software application market. Creating new teams and roles to manage this new technology.
This means that B2B technology startups need to do everything in two phases: for now and for the future. Aligning your company’s guidelines with technology. If you can create new roles, responsibilities, roles and change how companies work on a daily basis, then you can create a new market category.
Startups need to think about what this means in a two-phase context. In the first, focus more on building a platform that reflects key aspects of current organizations. And in the second, focus on creating a new definition of how companies are managed. So you will offer a service that reflects the present and the future.
Why Product Marketing Is So Important
By creating categories, you are asking consumers to believe in something new. In which they can identify an ideal market for their product or where the solution is a proven concept. However, you are potentially asking them to pay a lot of money, which can be risky.
The first buyers will be visionaries who believe in your vision and your narrative. Companies may need to integrate their solutions with other technologies already established to facilitate this transition. That’s where Product Marketing comes in.
Product Marketing is a crucial point of a software company, and one of the main functions for its launch in the market. He will define: what is the box we are creating for our consumer to buy? What’s in that box? How is the outside of the box?
It helps you define your entire competitive environment, deconstruct your secret spice and position your business for success.
The role of Product Marketing is about three primary things: positioning, sales enablement and the development of the sales playbook. In short, it is about synthesis.
A Product Marketing professional has the role of identifying the problem, the value and the technological solution for the consumer. It is about determining the purchase requirements so that your differentiation is what the consumer values most.
In a sales cycle, you are first convincing your prospect of the problem and presenting a mini-narrative of how your way of solving it is unique, better and different from your competitors.
Professionals in the field are those who break down the narrative. Differentiation is often very technical, so these professionals tend to work closely with the product team. As well as the teams that work directly with consumers – Sales, Customer Success, Support – to ensure that the message is being delivered consistently.
Often, companies are trying to figure out how to actually sell. They can hire sales consultants before marketers, and these consultants do their best with the resources they have.
When a marketer joins the team, each sales consultant is doing his or her own thing. There is no point in the company that is able to translate everything in a way that can be scalable.
How do you teach 1, 10 or 50 sales consultants how to sell what is unique about your company? Where do you start?
An initial tactic is to take your 10-20 customers and bring them to a client advisory group. Taking your feedbacks and turning them into materials and tools that your sales consultants can help you sell your solutions.
Bring prospects to these advisory meetings to listen to your customers. There is nothing more valuable than a client sharing his cases and pains for his team and his potential clients.
Without this function, you will not be able to successfully scale over time or on long-term contracts. This will only happen when you know which personas are your target, and when you are able to create content directly from your placement.
The purpose of sales enablement is to train your sales and pre-sales consultants to perform like machines. If you become good at it, you can outperform your competitors by letting your consumer organically conclude that your solution is obviously better.
Over time, you will receive feedback on your positioning and sales enablement. So you can create a pattern of scalable moves that reflect the pains of your persona. And become a sales process that results in the final sale.
You are looking for patterns and algorithms that can help your sales pipeline become a replicable formula.
A component of this is paying attention to real market signals to determine whether or not you have an ideal product for the market and positioned to scale.
Indicator that you have reached that point is when you don’t need your CEO at all sales meetings to close a deal, and a deal can be closed by someone other than an expert.
Another component is being open to being wrong about your playbook and your assumptions. Analyzing your negotiations, whether they are victories or defeats, can help you to refine your communication and your strategy.
The importance of Product Marketing for those who are not creating new categories
Product Marketing is one of the most underrated roles in a product team. On many teams, this role simply does not exist until the sales team grows exponentially and needs content. But it does not have the technical expertise to produce effective sales enablement reports.
This happens for a few primary reasons. First, technology teams believe they know their market, their users’ pains and believe that the value of the solution they offer is obvious.
However, they may be missing out on key market opportunities based on personal opinions or limited feedback.
They may not value marketing, or have limited knowledge of the subject. As a result, your first marketing engagement will be from someone who doesn’t have a good understanding of Product Marketing. Being able to focus on bringing leads into your funnel, but not being able to close a deal.
Start with a Product Marketing role and build other areas from that, such as: demand generation, digital strategy, content and public relations. If you do not have a well-defined position, these other areas will be much less effective.
An experienced Product Marketing professional can help your product team create the right product, because they are working directly with the market and consumers.
Second, because the role needs to be highly collaborative with product / user experience, customer success and sales roles, the product’s marketing role often needs to be an agent of change within an organization.
Depending on the team, getting stakeholder support and establishing an inter-functional cadence can take time. For this reason, it is a role that cannot be easily outsourced.
Third, unless you are a large, growing company with established teams and marketing disciplines, Product Marketing professionals tend to take on other marketing roles. How to: create content for all stages of the customer funnel, strategy, campaign management and marketing operations, support field events and partner marketing efforts, and so on.
Product marketers often wear all hats; often it is a considerably demanding role, but one that can have a significant impact on your business.
In the business software business, you have two main goals: create a concept and implement it. If people wake up in the morning and aren’t thinking about you, you probably didn’t create a category. If you cannot establish yourself as a category leader, someone else will and they will dominate your market.
Getting others to think about your product and see its value so that it matters is critical to creating categories. Companies are looking to you for thought and narrative leadership. Investing in Product Marketing is essential, not just for creating categories.
It is also necessary to find important market opportunities, establish the adjustment of the product market, position your solution so that customers can understand it in a context and create a scalable and repeatable structure for growth.
This content is a free and adapted translation, written by Jessie VanderVeen.