Entrepreneurial Marketing: Modern Marketing Strategy


Kauffman Founders School, Entrepreneurial
Marketing, Anita Newton, Modern Marketing Strategy


You have a new product and you have a new venture. Your goal is to make a product that
a customer wants and will pay for. The biggest risk as entrepreneurs is to make something
that nobody wants and nobody will pay for. Steve Blank’s series “The Lean Approach” provides
crucial advice on customer discovery and the process of achieving good product market fit.
And from that work and from your own research you’ll come up with great customer insights
about your target. And the goal here is to take that good information
coupled with information about your competitors, your industry and your own product, and consolidate
it into one useful document. And we call that a positioning statement. It will help you
in every aspect of your marketing. And the best way to know whether this works or not
is to ask your friends and customers and employees what is it about your product that makes it
special, what makes it unique, what sets it apart, and why people or customers would be
insane not to buy your product. And what I have found when companies or ventures do this
is they find 10, 20, 30 different answers. And the problem with that is if you’re trying
to market everything to everybody, you end up saying nothing. And so a positioning statement
can really help you get everyone on the same page to help you understand what makes you
unique, what differentiates you relative to your competition and why customers should
buy your product or service. There are a lot of positioning templates out
there. I like to use Geoffrey Moore’s. Let’s walk through it with a specific example. And
in this case we’re going to use Zipcar. And as we go through this process I invite you
to jot down your own answers. It will help kickstart the process to develop a positioning
document in your own organization. The first thing you want to do is define your
target. Identify all the customer segments who would be interested in your product and
then prioritize them. Pick the one customer segment that you think has the greatest likelihood
to be interested in your product. In the example of Zipcar, their target is young adults who
live in the city, are urban and educated. And then once you’ve identified the key target
you want to describe what the problem is. Here be really specific about what is the
true pain that the customer is feeling. The hope is that your product can address this
customer pain point. The problem that Zipcar identified is that customers need transportation.
But they don’t want to own a car or in some cases they just can’t afford it. Many of these
customers are also concerned about environment. And they want to reduce their carbon footprint.
Once you’ve identified the target and the problem then you want to state what your product
does. In the case of Zipcar it’s a car sharing service. After you’ve stated what the product
is you want to outline what makes your product different and better, what is the secret sauce.
Identify the break‑through capability. Are you faster, cheaper, better, more effective,
more efficient? Describe that in a way that makes sense to the customer. In the case of
Zipcar, their break‑through capability is they let you save money and reduce your carbon
footprint. And then you want to compare what that is
relative to the competition. So who is your competition? In the case of Zipcar, the competition
was car owners that had one driver per car. Then you want to describe the emotional benefit
that your product is providing for the customer. And here you want to be as emotional as possible
and provide the benefit. In the case of Zipcar I’ve written, Zipcar makes you feel like you’re
smart, responsible and actively demonstrating that you care about the environment. So once
you’ve identified these key elements, put them altogether to create your own positioning
statement. So putting a positioning statement together
can be really challenging even for the most advanced marketer. Let me give you a few ideas
that will hopefully make it easier. First, enlist the support of your team. I promise
you they will come up with ideas that you hadn’t even thought about. Second, do a very
simple but quick exercise that I’ve actually used for many entrepreneurs as well a big
brands. And it always helps get the juices flowing in terms of filling out the document.
So just make a quick chart. And on the top row identify all the customer needs that your
product is actually solving. So let’s say we’re bringing to market a snack geared toward
children. So the core needs for the mom who’s actually buying that product would be things
like we want to make sure it’s healthy, it’s not messy, it’s convenient. And oh, by the
way it should taste good. So once you’ve identified those customer needs
look at your product and simply put an X across any need that your product is addressing.
And then describe how specifically your product is helping solve that customer problem. And
then once you’ve done that, do that for every one of your major competitors, and you will
find through this process you have a lot of information to use that will help go into
your positioning statement. Ultimately the true litmus test of a great
positioning document is that it is clear, easy to understand, and it describes your
mojo, your special sauce, what makes you unique and relevant to your customer. And how you’re
better and different than your competition. And if you do that, if you take the time to
put this document together, I promise you you will use it in every aspect of your marketing
strategy. And ultimately that is how you’re going to win in the marketplace.

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