Creating a category instead of leading it

This is the no.1 marketing question most businesses in competitive B2B markets ask:
👉 How can I stand out? How can I be unique?

Here are 2 approaches. both can work depending on your product, market and other factors:
1. you can reposition your solution in the market
2. you can reframe the market’s thinking around their problem and take a (completely) different approach – creating a category that you’ll own (for a while).

Examples would be nice, right? Thought so.

1. When Covid broke out, the video-meeting market started getting crowded. Up to that point, Zoom has used a productivity positioning – and so were most competitors.

Their re-positioning to stand out focused on business continuity and risk-mitigation. That’s a bigger-picture, higher-value narrative than plain-ole’ productivity.

2. For category creation, you can take two routes:
a) Hubspot, instead of competing on features and benefits decided to 1. rebrand an existing category called pull-marketing to inbound and evangelized the category itself (not the product directly) – implying that their tool was the perfect thing for inbound marketing.
b) Salesforce just smashed existing rules by saying you don’t need software. Instead of competing on features, they created the software-as-a-service category and evangelized that.
This is a more fundamental example of category creation.

A few gotchas/pointers:
* positioning and category creation are NOT communication hacks. They are a strategic matter that impacts product/CS/marketing/sales and should be driven by C-suite.
* you can’t “figure out” positioning and category design, you have to be intimately familiar with the customers and your market.

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