All related (72)
Nipul Chokshi
Head of Marketing, AtriumSeptember 8

In my experience, category creation requires two things at the start:

  • Point of View - which articulates your perspective on the problem(s) your target market is looking to solve [why is the problem worth solving, what are the key steps in solving the problem, what kind of tech solutions will help you to solve the problem]. 
  • Positioning - which articulates your unique value proposition for your target market

The messages and stories that flow from this become the basis for your campaigns. Generally, you’ll create thought leadership content designed to educate the market on recognizing the problem, why they need to solve it and how. While digital channels are most scalable (webinars, ebooks, website) you’ll also want to make sure you’ve got the right assets for your sales and customer teams as they’re on the front line delivering the message to prospects and customers on a daily basis.

Harsha Kalapala
Vice President, Product Marketing, AlertMedia | Formerly TrustRadius, Levelset, WalmartMarch 22

Winning your category and taking control of it can be a super powerful strategy. However, I think too many go straight to creating a new category. We should first strongly consider how we can redesign a category that exists and win by renewing how people think about the category.

Category creation isn’t for everyone. It is really hard to do. While it can be powerful, it can also be really difficult to pull off, take a long time, get expensive, and become a major distraction for your team if it’s not the right approach. I have seen a lot more success with redefining a category that has old-school incumbents and the way of doing things.

Such a strategy needs a lot of channels to come together. PR, analyst relations, social influencers, and a content marketing strategy combined with strong messaging can create momentum for change in the consumer’s mind. Of course, a strong and differentiated product offering is a key ingredient as well.

Another important consideration is to create sub-categories within known categories. Recently at TrustRadius, our team disrupted the category of buyer intent data by creating and pushing a sub-category called “downstream intent”. We realized that the biggest competition wasn’t direct competitors, but customer confusion among different types of intent data providers. Downstream intent is now starting to be a familiar term associated with b2b review sites offering intent data that is more down-funnel. This strategy has been in motion for a year and a half. Category design takes time.

Kate Sheridan
Director of Product Marketing, BoltAugust 22

If you're building demand for a new category, it's ideal that there's runway for a platform and not just a handful of features. Can you start in one area that you're uniquely positioned to own and then grow to serve different sizes of customers (SMB to mid-market to enterprise) or different stages (expand from checkout to post-purchase or discovery)? 

It's important to prioritize where to focus initially and where to expand. Internal prioritization is great, and don't forget to talk to customers and prospects so you can understand where the demand is and where needs are unmet.

Div Manickam
Global Mentor | Product Marketing Influencer, | Formerly Lenovo | Dell Boomi | GoodDataDecember 6

Category creation is a unique messaging and positioning initiative when your startup is providing a differentiated value that doesn’t exist in the industry today. When I think about new markets like the subscription economy or SaaS platforms, these categories didn’t exist a few decades ago. 

Every startup should look at existing categories and NOT try to fit into a category if that isn’t the value for customers. Often times, customer advisory boards help guide and share perspectives on the ecosystem and act as a sounding board for value creation for a new category.