B2B Startup Marketing - Positioning


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Marketing for Startups: Some thoughts and views on product/service positioning for B2B startups.

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B2B Startup Marketing - Positioning

  1. 1. Srihari Palangala March 2013Views and thoughts expressed here are entirely mine and strictly personal.
  2. 2. • Early stage/Incubatee software product or service venture targeting Enterprises/Businesses, for example, in the areas of Mobility, Security, Cloud, Infrastructure • You are close to/ready with v1.0 of your product; Now you are aiming to grow your customer wins in the market!• You are working on product positioning issues, like: • What your marketing message should convey • Whom to target with your messaging • How to effectively reflect your marketing message in your collateral• If you said ‘Yes’, the content in the deck may be useful for your venture 2
  3. 3. • As the entrepreneur you already have most of the answers, you probably just need the right questions asked to help frame the positioning• In my previous deck (“Necessary Elements of Digital Marketing for Startups”), we talked about digital marketing tactics. Now we discuss what your content should be talking about as you execute the tactics. For this, “Positioning” is the first order of business. 3
  4. 4. 1. Provide a wedge to open doors • An Elevator pitch version • A Longer version2. Highlight product differentiators vs. the direct and indirect available alternatives • Overarching differentiators (e.g., “we support ALL platforms”) are better than trying to get into nitty-gritty feature comparison at the outset • Lower price is not a sustainable differentiator3. Create some FUD about other solutions4. Create an inbound pull, people start seeing you as the answer to an oft repeated question (or pain point) 4
  5. 5. • At the Customer • Technology beneficiary (Segment of people who experience a tangible impact because of your technology) • This defines the set of industry vertical segment(s) you target • The more you refine this, the better your targeting – so try to get as specific as possible in identifying this group (e.g., End users doing ABC & working in ABC vertical & company size > ABC with globally distributed offices etc.) • Influencer (Person(s) in the account who emerge as your champions) • Buyer (People who make decisions and sign the check)• It is possible that the same people are playing one or more of these roles in the customer account 5
  6. 6. • The Partner • Go to market partners • Reseller partners• The Investor • The people who back you• Key external stakeholders - the Partner and Investor, complete the gamut to be addressed• Clear positioning is also helpful to attract the right talent, but we will not get in to that here 6
  7. 7. • At the Customer • Technology beneficiary – How does it improve my workflow? • Influencer – How does it make my job easier/more effective? • Buyer – What is the ROI? Is there a strategic impact?• The Partner • Is this mutually beneficial?• The Investor • What is the opportunity? 7
  8. 8. • At the Customer • Influencer, • Establish trust, credibility and confidence since you are a new player; Co- Marketing and References are helpful here • Access to, and showcase detailed technology benefits, including feature matrix (Industry awards also help) • Have a compelling set of collateral to help your Sales win against competition • Technical (before & after) comparison studies – e.g., Whitepapers; • That this is quickly becoming an industry best practice with business benefits • Answer FAQs; • Show how it makes their job easier – for e.g., fewer things to do; fewer decisions to take; fewer trouble tickets; ease of setup/deployment and maintenance etc.• At the customer, establishing and winning the Influencer is the first step 8
  9. 9. • Customer • Technology beneficiary, • Improved productivity benefits; • Easier to use than what you are accustomed to; • Show how their peers are benefiting – through case studies; If relevant, how other departments in the organization also benefit • Drive the urgency – why should they have the technology now? • Buyer, • Show the business benefit in the investment; • Third party validation voices (e.g., Analyst);• Partner • Content to show the interlock, i.e., how the technologies complement each other • Content to help them make the sales pitch (for resellers)• Investor • Your (& team) conviction, backed with data 9
  10. 10. • Like everything in your venture journey, it is “never a done deal” • You have placed a stick in the ground, but be ready to pivot where necessary in terms of refining the messaging and content • Be particularly ready to iterate and refine the ‘technology beneficiary’  Segment, Segment, Segment – your success around customer acquisition velocity largely depends on nailing this • Build your first version of the positioning and collateral after you have the first few (4-6) customers – so you have some external validation & input • Your marketing collateral (blogs, whitepaper, data sheets, website etc.) should continuously reflect your positioning 10
  11. 11. • Once you have a positioning and message that resonates, start to turn Patterns, the dial up (more content & marketing Lead Gen spend) Co Mktg• When you turn the dial up, your objective would be to start creating awareness among the target segments Trials/POCs• Two logical ‘next steps’ would be to Positioning drive more Trials and establish Co- marketing opportunities – we will talk more about that in a future session/deck 11
  12. 12. • spalangala@gmail.comThe content in the deck is what I am sharing based on my experience and learning over the years; Ihope it helps you in your startup journey as you distil some of the information and apply some ofthe points in your own context(s). 12