We Should be Asking Ourselves
… if we want to consistently win more new customers.
Are we clearly communicating what
makes us different?
It’s not good enough if we just offer
… we need to also make it meaningfully visible for the customer,
and help them remember it.
Even if we only have 2 other competitors,
our customers will still have 2 other choices!
Differentiation – It’s Do or Die
Differentiation is key to seizing customer mindshare and
the cornerstone of successful marketing!
It’s task is to communicate how we are different,
focusing on the one key thing that we want customers
to remember about our product or company.
And to do that, we need to know our competitors. This
is where we need to begin our strategic planning.
Are we absolutely focused on our
The philosophy “Love All, Serve All” might work
for Hard Rock Café …
… but most businesses need to focus on those that they are
meant to serve! Others just consume our time and lead us to
make wrong decisions.
Clear segmentation and targeting allows us to …
• Design and deliver solutions that we know will satisfy the most urgent
needs of our chosen customers.
• Craft messaging and value argumentation that is “spot on”.
• Know who we should concentrate our marketing and sales efforts on.
• Know who we should not waste valuable resources on!
We know that we cannot be best for everyone,
so we need to decide on who are we going to be best for.
Our competitive edge depends on it!
Have we uniquely positioned our offering
in the minds of our customers?
The battle takes place in the mind
Positioning is about favorably distinguishing ourselves
in the minds of our target customers.
It’s about perception
– Advice from strategic marketing guru Jack Trout (father of positioning)
in his book “The Power of Simplicity”
“A differentiating idea must have a competitive mental angle… This does not
necessarily mean a better product or service, but rather there needs to be an
element of differentness.”
“It’s the perception that must be considered in the selection of the idea,
not the reality. A competitive mental angle is the point in the mind that
allows your marketing program to work effectively. That’s the point that
you need to leverage to achieve results.”
The power of positioning is so strong that we
need to make it visible in all we do.
First we feel, then we act
It’s hard to drive away with the customer if you haven’t first
“started their engine”!
But we sell to engineers who rationally evaluate
Still, that doesn’t stop them from first “feeling”. It’s just that what gets
them smiling is probably different than for a music teacher.
Three very important and integrated strategies
For WHOM should we be best
HOW we should be best
PERCEIVED as best
Product Product Final buying
Short listing Evaluation
Company requirements decision
Research (Emotional) (Rational)
Is our message and offering
one and the same?
is not a pitch.
It’s something we earn!
And this requires that we are in sync!
We need to harmonize our strategies and tactics across the
company and work as a synchronized team. That’s the only way to
ensure the customer that we are rowing with them towards a
Are we more convincing than our
We need to deliver a simple and more
compelling reason to buy from us.
Skepticism is easily created when our positioning, branding,
value argumentation and actual offering are not tightly intertwined
and also in sync with how people perceive things.
We live in an overcommunicated world where
more is sent and less is received.
Our communications need to be clear, simple and resonate with the
customer. Therefore we need to tell it top-down, not bottom-up
Information needed for our
message to be successful
Customer values Additional and
Nice if they
Features & Technology
We also need to remember that customers see
us from the “outside-in”
We’re not going to connect with them if we tell things from the “inside-out”.
We have to excel in all phases
5 things that we need to do well in order to …
Attract Customers, Convince Them, and then Close the Deal
• Meaningfully differentiate our offering.
• Segment and target.
• Uniquely position our offering in the mind of the customer.
• Work as a well synchronized team to make sure that our messaging
and offering are one and the same.
• Deliver a more convincing and memorable message.
Have you spotted some weak points?
You might then appreciate some help.
I specialize in helping ICT companies win more customers
by more powerfully differentiating and positioning
themselves in the minds of their target customers.
The result is not a pitch, rather it becomes the cornerstone
of the company’s marketing and competitive strategies.
Operating after an established 12 point plan
tailored to specific objectives for your company, I work with you
to get customers coming to you with a desire to do business,
not just asking what you can offer them.
The plan includes
- Helping you to refine your market landscape: Competitive
information, Differentiation & Positioning are key areas of
- Helping you clearly articulate your distinguishing idea in
your marketing messaging: Website, Collateral,
Presentations, Case studies, Testimonials, White Papers.
- Integrating your distinguishing idea into a strategic plan of
objectives, and help you select tactics that work in
harmony to realize these objectives.
- Making sure that everyone is in the same boat, rowing in
unison towards a common goal that you share with the
Strategic marketing is an integrated process
... that gets us synchronized and rowing with the customer
GTM plan Segmentation
Phase 1: Refine your market landscape
- Build the foundation to win the battle for the mind
My most important objective is …
To help you clearly articulate and position your distinguishing
idea into the minds of your target customers.
Advice from Peter Drucker (father of management consulting)
– “The Practice of Management”
“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business
enterprise has two – and only these two – basic functions: marketing and
“Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.
Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”
Everything is about beating the competition
– Because it’s a battle, your chances of loosing increase when you don’t
know your enemy.
• All companies need to know their competition in order to successfully
market and sell their products!
• Collect & process info according to what info is needed (e.g. Who,
What, Differentiation, Positioning, Price, Pitch, Customer opinion, …)
• Analyze & recommend actions: Competitive profiles, SWOT analysis,
Win/Loss analysis, Beat-sheets.
• Spread info: Written and Verbal.
It all boils down to avoiding your competitors’ strengths
and exploiting their weaknesses!
How have you chosen to segment and target
We know that we can’t be best for everyone, so we need to decide
on who are we going to be best for.
• What are their needs and wants (now & future)?
• What characteristics do they have, e.g. location, size, current
supplier, technology choice, …??
• What value propositions are they interested in?
• What is the “little extra” we deliver to our target market?
Your competitive edge depends on selectively choosing
who you should be working to please!
Is your distinguishing idea crystal clear?
– In order to successfully navigate in a sea of competition, you can’t
be saying the same thing as your competitors!
• Context. Messages need to be valid in the context of the category.
Gather information (internal/external). Interview managers &
customers. What has the competition been saying? Analysts? Get a
quick snapshot of what’s currently in the mind of the customer.
• Distinguishing Idea. Formulate the one idea that matters. It can be
based on: Attributes, How it’s made, Being 1st, Latest, Leadership,
Size, Technology, …
• Have the credentials. Craft value argumentation and proof points.
• Communicate the difference. A company initiative.
Differentiation means sacrifice. We need to focus on just one idea!
How are you positioning your differentiated
idea in peoples minds?
“Marketing is not a battle of products, it’s a battle of perceptions”
– Al Reis & Jack Trout: The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing
• Your positioning statement is something used for internal purposes
as guidance and source for which all marketing messaging is based.
• Your positioning line is crafted from your positioning statement and
• Your positioning should be the cornerstone of your competitive
strategy and communications. Integrate your positioning into all your
marketing communications and sales activities.
• It should be simple, memorable and timeless.
• Set objectives and define tactics for reaching them.
• Make it a companywide crusade.
Phase 2: Craft your messaging
- Visualize your positioning, brand messages, value argumentation, etc.
Web Market Competition
Your messaging should
communicate a simple reason to buy!
To cope with complexity, people have learned to simplify everything.
When it comes to communications, less is more.
Making this happen requires us to …
• Understand the prospect’s mind (a battlefield full of perceptions)
• Leverage our positioning to communicate a single proposition that
resonates as a unique and emotional trigger – that we can credibly
Your messaging needs to deliver an answer to
“What – What – Why”
1. What it is/does (features)
Meat and bones of your offering. Engineering spends 90% of their
time on this. Marketing shouldn’t spend much more than 10% of theirs.
2. What it gives (benefits)
Important as proof points. It helps make us credible, but isn’t really
what a customer buys.
3. Why we make/do it (positioning and value propositions)
This is the most important and what we need to lead with. It needs
to connect with the customer and memorably communicate your
Do you see the distinguishing idea?
Is it memorable?
Important features Key benefits
- Center pull pivot arm - Even resistance for both legs
- Self lubricating pivot bushings - Maximum comfort throughout
- Large adjustable leg pads movement
- Side mount weight stacks - Quick weight change
- 15/10 or 10/10 kilos
Probably not! Customers don’t buy features and rarely do they buy
benefits. Rather they often buy an intangible and then afterwards
rationally evaluate their choice.
Gain the strength to champion your life
Instead, it might be something like this that we might want to use to communicate our
distinguishing idea and positioning around “Championing Your Life”. It tells the
customer WHY in a way that also engages their emotions (getting them to feel and
making it easier for them to remember).
Phase 3: Reach out to the market
- Build mindset and create new customers
GTM plan Segmentation
Web Market Competition
Because your website is probably your most
important source of communication
… you need to specifically tailor web content for web consumption!
Users consume web content very fast and totally different than print content
• We can’t repurpose print content on our
website and expect it to get read. It won’t!
• Users scan and jump.
• Subheadings and bullet points need to contain
information-potent words that users notice
when scanning down the page.
• The importance of “the lead” and the inverted
triangle cannot be over emphasized! How
many times do we see the important message
buried three paragraphs deep into the text? Heat maps from eyetracking studies,
show that we often consume web
• We need to remember that our competitor’s pages in an F-shaped pattern.
website is only one mouse click away!
You need to of course touch all those in the market
landscape that can influence your customers
Our Media / Analyst
Company & Others
Market Communications Plan
- Start from positioning strategy
Customer - Clear and cohesive messages to different
Networks groups and stakeholders.
- How, to whom and when we should
communicate (internally and externally).
Strategic solution marketing keep us in sync.
It works to ensure that …
• We all know who our target customers are and why we have chosen
to work with them.
• We are designing and marketing products that are especially
adapted to our chosen market.
• We collectively know how we need to differentiate ourselves from
the competition today and how to work to also do it tomorrow.
• We fully understand how and why we are positioning ourselves and
our products the way we do.
• We live the brand!
It is first then that we are able to leverage the full power of
working across the company as an integrated team.
Dante Iacovoni – Biography
Dante has over 25 years of successful business experience in sales and
executive marketing roles from the Information Communication Technology
(ICT) industry. He has extensive experience from working in multi-national,
startup and value added reseller organizations. During the past years he
has driven comprehensive rebranding and solution marketing
transformations with crucially successful results that have lead to
significant increased brand awareness and sales.
Strategic in nature and creative since birth, Dante is also able to combine
his technical understanding with his marketing savvy to communicate
business value from technical capabilities.
Dante graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Washington
University and Bachelor of Arts from Lake Forest College. After completing his
university studies in the USA, he moved to live and work in Sweden.
Dante has worked with marketing differentiation, positioning and value
argumentation since the early-90’s. Since then, they have served as key
strategic solution marketing puzzle pieces.
In 2009, Dante founded Touchstone Communications. Touchstone is a strategic
marketing services company specializing in helping ICT businesses more
succinctly articulate their differentiating idea and reinforce it as the cornerstone of
their marketing and sales strategies. Touchstone works according to an
established 12 point plan that gets customers coming to them with a desire to do
business, instead of having customers just contact them to see if they have any
good products to offer.
Dante Iacovoni – Experience
Dante has served as a leader in the business world for over 25 years. During his
corporate career, he has achieved the following results.
- Dante drove a very comprehensive and complete rebranding and marketing turnaround
of a startup, including company positioning and branding, product portfolio and more.
This process significantly contributed to a 9-fold increase in company revenues, from
52M SEK to 450M SEK.
- At a time when Ericsson was known for their circuit switched solutions, Dante
convincingly contributed to establishing mindset leadership for Ericsson’s IP multi-
service backbone and Voice over Packet solutions amongst many leading Telcos.
- Working at a Lucent Technologies sales representative, Dante transitioned the
company’s sales and marketing to become Lucent’s biggest value added reseller of
broadband solutions in Sweden.
Dante has a wealth of hands-on experience from the ICT industry, most recently from converged IP
communications (broadband, core networks, VoIP, IPTV, Network Mgmt, IMS, Connected Home, …).
He is skilled at helping companies ascertain and communicate their differentiating idea and succinctly
articulating their positioning, integrating it then into product and company messaging and marketing
After working so many years in the ICT industry, Dante has the technical know-how needed to research
company competition and the market in general (a necessary ingredient for crafting differentiation and
He is also experienced in crafting strategic marketing plans (with defined objectives) and executing on
My contact details are
tel. +46 8 517 85 755
+46 73 88 00 150
Strategic Solution Marketing
that accelerates your business
Getting customers coming to you with a desire to do business
… not just asking what you can offer them.