The Founders' Product Marketing Guide: Part III

“Consumers are like chickens. They are much more comfortable with a pecking order that everybody knows about and accepts.”

~ Positioning: The Battle of the Mind by Jack Trout and Al Ries ~

Finding the right product position revolves around finding the “gap or gaps” in the market. Once, you’ve done a detailed SWOT analysis you’ll be able to make the right steps moving forward. With the research you’ve completed from my previous posts, you should be able to determine the market gap which will allow you to easily create a sound feature set and product launch strategy that will help your product fly off the shelves. Developing the right product position and messaging should align directly with your competitive advantages.

Here are 3 Positioning Tactics:

1. The Feature Position  

Streak, a CRM for Gmail, is built for sales organizations who prefer to stay inside the Gmail UI to manage their sales pipeline. Salesforce, Close.io, and Insightly are other popular CRMs that have wide adoption, however, based on my personal experience you have to log into their platforms in order to get the best usage-now these CRM platforms do have Gmail integrations however their leading value propositions do not lead with their Gmail integration.

Streak's core target personas are sales organizations who want to work inside Gmail. The other CRM platforms are targeting personas use any email platform.

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This position only works if you are committing to it long-term. It’s impossible for any of their competitors to use the same product position and not confuse their existing customer base-or lose revenue.

2. The Second Place Position

Hertz in the 1980s was the number one car rental service in the US. Avis was a clear second in the mind of consumers. Everyone knew Hertz was the best and Avis used this to their advantage.  

“Avis is only No. 2 in rent-a-cars, so why go with us? We try harder.”

- Avis Ad language

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*This example was pulled from Positioning: The Battle of Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout*

Stating the obvious is seen as refreshing and can give your brand the image of being a trustworthy brand. Avis' sales grew as a result.

3. First-Movers Advantage Position

First-movers advantage based on access to resources and financial capital doesn’t hold as strong as it traditionally has in other industries outside the tech sector. This because the cost of launching web and mobile apps have dropped dramatically over the past two decades.

A marketing-based first-movers advantage still holds because if your potential customer used your product before any of your competitors then you will be perceived as the "first" in your customers' eyes. With that in mind, Salesforce is usually the first CRM introduced to most new tech workers-sales, marketing, and business operations. I was introduced to Salesforce at my first tech sales role and if you review most sales role applications “Salesforce experience” is a requirement, not Streak, Base, or Close.io.

Potential customers will place your product in relation to the first product they learned of or interacted with, first. First mover’s advantage will always hold in regards to brand recognition, not always in the “means of productions” as that is more specific to capital extensive industries like transportation, freight, financial securities, and crude oil.

These are just three types of positioning strategies that will give you a good starting base. There are more but for simplicity, these are the most pertinent to launching your new B2B SaaS product.

Be sure to review your competitors’ current core feature set, product messaging and positioning tactics, and pricing pages. All of these things will give you a more precise approach to determining how to best position your product, which benefits to emphasize, and product pricing.

Come back next week for my next post, Launch It-Test, Analyze, Rinse and Repeat, as I’ll discuss using data to improve your product launch strategy. For a consultation, contact me directly at blackchaingroup@gmail.com.