All related (8)
Hila Segal
VP of Product Marketing, Observe.AI | Formerly Clari, Vendavo, AmdocsMay 29

Naming a new category is a big deal. Don't name it just by the scope and capabilities of your own solution - think bigger. A few things to help the naming process:

1. Talk to customers and try not to lead the witness. Understand what terms they use to describe the pain points and expected business value of the category. Make sure you talk to a broad set of customers that represent different industries, segments, and buying personas. 

2. Research what other categories exist, how much traction they have, how they are defined, and what's the potential overlap. Create a map of the landscape. Leverage analyst reports, G2, and other review platforms. 

3. Create a hypothesis and test it - internally and externally with your partners, CABs, analysts. 

4. Once you land on a name go all-in by creating content and thought leadership to educate the market. Every employee in the company becomes an evangelist of the new category and consistency matters. Also, rely heavily on your customers and early adopters to promote the new category. 

Anthony Kennada
Chief Marketing Officer, HopinJanuary 23

Great question, and one that I’ve done some writing on (see link below).

http://www.categorydev.com/category-branding/

There are SEO, branding, PR/AR and many other implications to selecting a category name – so it’s important to get this right.

I believe new categories and markets are created when a person / job title exists that is not being served in a meaningful way by an existing vendor. Categories that speak to that person, rather than the product, tend to better resonate. Analysts will suggest archaic category naming conventions that will undoubtedly result in an acronym – Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Recurring Revenue Management (RRM), etc. My POV is that there’s not a lot of conviction for a marketer (or customer) in those categories.

Instead, look for clues in the customer job titles and anchor around a common problem. We were fortunate that a title existed in the marketplace called the “Customer Success Manager,” but no one was championing the profession in a meaningful way. Our answer was clear that the category should be called Customer Success.

The last piece to consider is SEO and search volume. Is your category easily discoverable when a potential customer is searching for a solution to their pain points? Using Google Trends to help narrow down a short list of ideas is helpful.

Dave Daniels
Founder, BrainKraftSeptember 7

Connect the name of the new category with something familiar to your market: Horses + Carriages => Horseless Carriage => Automobile. And because Sharebird says my answer is too short, I will add this sentence to comply. Apparently, the answer needs to be 300 words or more so I'll keep typing gibberish until I meet this completely arbitrary requirement. 

Paul Lacey
Sr. Director of Product Marketing, MatillionOctober 23

Category naming is more art than science. It involves a deep understanding of your solution space, the language of your existing and prospective customers, and the founder's intuition into the vision for the business.

 

Conventional wisdom suggests that a category name be no more than three words, and should capture the use case of your product as opposed to just features/benefits. Examples: Customer Relationship Management, Marketing Automation, Direct Care Administration.

 

I would highly recommend doing user research in defining your category name to avoid any language that has unanticipated triggers for your prospects. For example, when defining Hint's category, our initial instinct was to define Direct Care Plan Administration (DPA). Upon user testing, however, we found our users (Direct Care Physicians) reacted very strongly to the word "Plan" as being too closely associated with health insurance - an industry they were actively trying to distance themselves from. Based on this overwhelmingly universal feedback, we decided to pivot our category name to Direct Care Administration to capture similar concepts without the trigger word.

 

It's also possible to define sub-categories within a larger context, which can shortcut the educational component needed in developing a completely new context. Example: The Electric Toothbrush is a sub-category of the Toothbrush. Thus it can ride on all the previous consumer knowledge about toothbrushes and focus more on the key differentiators from previous solutions. 

Anthony Kennada
Chief Marketing Officer, Hopin
I don’t see a difference actually, at least for technology companies. At the end of the day, customers don’t want your product, they want outcomes that your product (and company) help them derive. Few examples: • Uber/Lyft sell the ability to get from point A to point B without a car. The app is just a vehicle (pun intended). • AirBnB sells the ability to belong / feel at home anywhere in the world. • Etc. Start by deeply understanding your persona and work backwards from there. Understand the jobs they’re looking to tackle and how your product and company both have a role to play in conc...
Diego Lomanto
VP, Product Marketing, UiPath
Hi - yes - I definitely recommend sharebird's resources. I also love a few books on positioning. First the classic book here is from Al Ries and Jack Trout and it's called "Positioning: The Battle for your Mind." I also recommend "Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It" by April Dunford
Nipul Chokshi
Head of Marketing, Atrium - Data Driven Sales Management
Depends - if you’re able to differentiate enough to be a #1 or #2 player in the market, stick with the current category. I would, however, start to amp up the thought leadership so that you can influence the category more going forward so you can start to play your own game. Not knowing more details its hard to go into specifics here, but you could also consider creating an off-shoot of the current category (again leaning into your differentiation) and tell the story around how “other vendors are doing things the old way” and you’re providing a “new way” to solve the problem [of course thi...
Hila Segal
VP of Product Marketing, Observe.AI | Formerly Clari, Vendavo, Amdocs
Have a strong point of view on the market and don't be afraid to reframe the current definition, but be prepared to invest heavily in education and thought leadership. Rely on proof points to support your narrative in the form of customer advocates that evangelize your definition and why it drives value. The good and the bad news is that someone has already created the initial interest - invest in execution and authority marketing to grab market share.