How To Nail Product Positioning With April Dunford [AMP 281]
CoSchedule started the Actionable Marketing Podcast (AMP) in 2015 and has recorded and published more than 300 episodes. CoSchedule has worked with some of the smartest minds out there that share their stories with you through this podcast. This season, CoSchedule brings back some of the best of the best evergreen content.
The success of your company depends on the marketing you do, how you choose to present the benefits of a product or service, and which audience to target. How you position a product or service can make or break your company. Stop right there. Forget everything you thought you knew about product positioning. Connecting your product or service with buyers is not a matter of following trends, selling harder, or trying to attract the widest customer base.
Today, my guest is April Dunford, who has launched more than a dozen products and shares some of the biggest mistakes that startups, marketers, and entrepreneurs make with product positioning. Also, she’s the author of Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning So Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It. April’s book describes her point of view on positioning and offers a step-by-step process to perfectly position your product or service.
Some of the highlights of the show include:
- Career Change: Fake it til you figure it out. How hard can it be?
- Do it right, and the company grows quickly, gets acquired; you get bored and do another startup
- Definition of Positioning: How to win at doing something that a well-defined market cares about
- Perfect marketing execution won’t save you from weak positioning; marketing execution and results are only as good as positioning that feeds into them
- Who should decide the positioning for your product? Everybody
- Siebel Story: Too small to buy out beyond a billion dollars
- Positioning Pitfalls: People don’t do positioning deliberately; and when they try to fix it, they don’t follow a process but wing it or write a “Positioning Statement”
- Positioning Statement Components:
- Who’s your competitive alternatives?
- What are the unique capabilities or features that your product has?
- What’s the value that those features can enable for customers?
- Who’s my target customer?
- Is this a market that I’m going to win?
- Signs of weak positioning include:
- How a customer reacts to your product/service
- They compare you to a non-competitor; not in the right market
- Customer knows what you do, but not the value or why they should care
Quotes by April Dunford:
- “Not only is positioning a thing I should figure out, it’s potentially a super powerful thing.”
- “Two years after graduating from engineering, I’m running this great big marketing team. It’s global. I’ve got this giant budget…even though I was completely unqualified for it.”
- “I focus on positioning, mainly because I think people do a really terrible job at positioning. There’s not many people that know how to do it right.”
- “A shift in positioning can totally result in a shift in the product roadmap, a shift in your pricing, a shift in a way you sell, a shift in your channels.”
- “You see signs of weak positioning across your entire sales marketing funnel, but often the place where it’s most obvious is looking at how a customer reacts when they first encounter your product or your offering.”
Eric: I don’t think it’s too bold of a statement to make that how you position your product or service will either make or break your company. The marketing that we do and how we choose to present the benefits of the partner service, and to which particular target audience will define the success of your company. We all know how to do that, right? Hold up! That’s the jukebox scratching.
Our next guest says, “Hey, forget everything you thought you knew about product positioning.” Successfully connecting your product with buyers is not a matter of following trends, or selling harder, or even trying to attract the widest customer base.
Our next guest is April Dunford. She is the author of Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning So Customers Get It, Buy It, Love it. This book just dropped a couple of weeks ago. April is an expert in this field. She’s launched over a dozen products. She worked for Siebel, for IBM, for Nortel, and she’s dropping tons of knowledge bombs in our session today talking about what are some of the biggest mistakes that startups, marketers, and entrepreneurs are making when it comes to product positioning. How do we identify? What are the common signs of really weak positioning? How do we remedy that and strengthening our position? She gives some fantastic examples to make it all tangible for you.
It’s a fantastic episode. My name is Eric Piela. I’m the host of the Actionable Marketing Podcast and the Brand and Buzz Manager here at CoSchedule. Buckle up, we’ve got another great AMP because it is time to get amped.
Alright, welcome to another episode of the Actionable Marketing Podcast. This is a fun episode. I have April Dunford on our show today. She’s the author of Obviously Awesome which she will talk about today. As I hear, it is launch day for the book.
April: It’s launch day. It’s so exciting.
Eric: Welcome to the show and congratulations! What a cool day for you.
April: Thanks! It is a cool day actually. This has been a long road. It’s really good to get this one across the finish line. I’m excited.
Eric: Yes. Obviously, we’re recording this today. It’s launch time. It’ll probably come out in a couple of weeks or so.
April: We can still capture the moment though.
Eric: Dang right. I am pumped for you because I went to this process of helping our CEO launch his book, so I know the energy and effort, and it all culminates today. Congrats and thanks again for taking the time to talk to our listeners. I’m pumped to introduce you to our listeners today. This is a big day. Obviously, you put a lot of passion into this book, and it sprang from, what I’m assuming is a large and illustrious career in marketing and product positioning. If you could, April, talk to us about how you ended up here.
April: I’m going to start describing as that of myself, “A large and lustrous career. Let me describe it.” You know what, my career has been a weird kind of a trip. I started out I wanted to be an engineer. I went into engineering, and I graduated with an engineering degree. When I was done, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, and I had debts. My friend worked at a startup. I got a job at a startup, the startup got acquired, my boss left. Two years after graduating from engineering, I’m running this great, big marketing team. It’s global. I’ve got this giant budget. I decided, “This is my bag,” even though I was completely unqualified for it.
Eric: I love it!
April: At the beginning of it, I was just faking it, but engineering gives you that attitude where you’re like, “How hard can it be? It can’t be worse than mechanics of deformable solids. That was hard but this will be fun. I’ll figure this out.” That’s what I did for the bulk of my career. I came into startups after they had a little bit of traction, they have some customers, I would help build the marketing engine for that company. If you do it right, the company starts growing really quickly, and then the company would get acquired, and then I’d be stuck at the big company for a couple of years. After I got bored of that, I’d pop back out and do another startup.
In the end, I did seven startups like that. Six of those got acquired. Through the course of the acquisitions, I ended up at IBM twice. I ran a big team at Siebel, which was a big CRM company before Salesforce was the big CRM company. I was at Nortel once. I’ve done a lot of small company stuff, and then a lot of big company stuff through the acquisition.
The last couple of years, I transitioned into consulting. I work mainly with tech companies that looked a lot like the ones I used to work with in-house. Kind of growth stage companies, companies that have $1 million to $10 million revenue, they’re kind of going. But specifically, I focus on positioning, mainly because I think people do a really terrible job at positioning and there’s not many people that know how to do it. I think I’m pretty good at it. That’s my thing.
Eric: I love it. A marketer with an engineering brain. I think that is the first time I’ve ever heard that.
April:It wasn’t weird when I started. When you went to tech companies, people graduated from marketing, they went to work for consumer-packaged goods companies, they went and sold toothpaste or something. But if you went to IBM, you ask people, “What did you do in school?” They’ll be like, “Engineering through science.” There are all kinds of us in there.
Eric: I love it.
April: Now, it’s rare.
Eric: I think it’s going to bring you a fantastic perspective to marketing. I think I was correct in using the word illustrious.
April: Illustrious. From now on, that’s how I’m […].
Eric: What a great career. Obviously, you used all that. Wow, talk about hitting home. I think CoSchedule sits right in that growth phase of a startup. Actually, this is really timely because we’re actually fine-tuning our product positioning as we speak right now. I think there’s a lot of people listening right now. Maybe they’re not necessarily doing the positioning themselves, but they’re part or an extension of a team, or they’re helping promote that positioning. Everyone’s tied to the product or service. I think I would love to start to dive in there. The premise of this book is that maybe everyone is kind of familiar about what positioning is, but I think what you’re trying to say is that maybe people are doing it wrong. From your perspective, how do you define positioning?
April: Here’s the thing, some of this comes from my background. I get this job in marketing. One of the first projects I ever worked on, we repositioned a database product. It was a product that we were positioning as kind of a personal use database. Mobile devices were just starting to be a thing. We ended up repositioning it as an embeddable database for mobile devices. The thing just absolutely took off with that shift in positioning. That kind of open to my mind to like, “Whoa! Not only is positioning a thing I should figure out. But two, it’s potentially a super powerful thing.”
I started doing the deep dive in positioning. I took a bunch of courses. I read a bunch of books. The first thing I noticed was, one, everybody defines it in a different way, it’s super annoying. Some people were like, “What do you think positioning is?” They’d say, “It’s the same as messaging. It’s like your tagline. It’s like your vision statement.”
Positioning is actually way bigger than any of those things. In my definition, positioning describes how you are going to win at doing something that a really well-defined market cares a lot about. That’s bigger than messaging. It’s going to define, “What are your key differentiators? Who are you actually competing with? What are the characteristics of a best-fit customer?” Then the last part is this whole, “What market are you actually in? What market do you intend to win?” Taken together, it feels a bit like a business strategy in a way, and it is—it touches the product, it touches marketing, it touches sales. A shift in positioning can totally result in a shift in the product roadmap, a shift in your pricing, a shift in a way you sell, a shift in your channels. These are big strategic marketing ideas.
Interestingly though, if your positioning is weak, marketing is one of the first places where you feel it. As marketers, even as junior marketers, we don’t always have control over the positioning. We don’t always get the final say over what it’s going to be, but we are certainly quite often the people that ring the bell and say, “Hey, maybe there’s a problem here.” We don’t see this the way customer see this. That’s the first piece. Positioning, super misunderstood.
Secondly, it’s defined in a way that it’s really, really big. What it actually forms is the input for everything we do in marketing. We’re going to write a campaign. We’re running a campaign, “What are the inputs? Who’s my target market? What are my differentiators? What is the value that I can deliver for customers?” Those things taken together are completely resulting from our positioning. If our positioning is weak, all the perfect marketing execution in the world isn’t going to save us. It is basically a limiting factor. Your marketing execution and results can only be as good as the positioning that feeds into them.
Eric: Yeah, I love that.
April: Does that make sense?
Eric: Yeah. It absolutely makes sense. When you started to describe your definition of positioning, it’s a lot more than just messaging; there’s a lot, I think, riding on positioning. Maybe my question is, who should be at the table in deciding the positioning for your product? Is that just a marketing thing, or are there other stakeholders—when you’re consulting—that you recommend be at the table when you’re deciding what positioning should be for your product or service?
April: This is the interesting thing. If you think about the decisions that you end up making, there’s no way you would make those decisions without the CEO in the room. You just wouldn’t. I’ll give you an example of a shift in positioning we did once. I worked at this startup. What we were selling was an enterprise CRM. At that time, Salesforce was a CRM, but they only sold to the low end of the market like small-medium businesses. On the enterprise side, there was this giant company called Siebel. They were $2 billion in revenue, 8000 employees. We built this CRM, then launched it in the market, and said, “Yeah, we’re an enterprise CRM too.”
As you can imagine, that didn’t work so good. Every enterprise we went into, they would say, “Oh, that’s fascinating. How are you better than Siebel?” The answer to that was, “We’re kind of not better.” They had more features than us, they were bigger than us, they had more customers than us. We had, however, one feature that was really differentiated, and no one could copy because it was baked into our underlying data structure. What we could do is we could model a many-to-many relationship between people. No CRM today even does this.
We always demoed it, we always talk about it, but the customers didn’t care. We thought it was cool. The customers were kind of scratching their head going, “I don’t know. Maybe I’ll buy this. How cheap are you?” We sold some deals by just dropping the price. At one point, I had a customer say, “You know what I think you are? I think you guys are cheap, crappy Siebel.” I joined the company, we’re about a million bucks, and selling is like pulling teeth—it’s terrible. Needless to say, I’m running all the campaigns, and I’m doing all the lead gen stuff, and nothing is working out very good. Because, why? Because I have a product that is kind of not better than the leading product in the market that I am positioning myself in.
In this case, we got kind of lucky. We got a meeting with the head of investment banking at Goldman Sachs—if you could believe this—we actually hired a sales rep, and that was the whole interview. The guy came in, and we said, “Why should we hire you?” He said, “Well, my buddy is the head of investment banking at Goldman Sachs. I could get you a meeting.” We’re looking at each other going, “Hmm. Hire him.” I decide I’m going to tag along to see what happens in this meeting, plus, I want to go to Goldman Sachs, and see what’s the head of the investment banking’s office looks like.
We go to the meeting, and my rep goes in, he demos the thing. He gets to the part where he’s showing them our many-to-many relationship thing. He shows it to the head of investment banking. He’s super excited, he’s like, “Oh my god! Does that mean if two people sit on the same board together, you can model that?” We’re like, “Yeah.” He said, “If this person and this person belong to the same golf club, you can model that?” We’re like, “Yeah.” He’s like, “Hang on. I need some vice presidents.” He runs down the hall, he comes back with all these vice president guys that report to him, he runs in, and he’s like, “Show them the thing. Show them the thing.” We show them the feature, and they do the same thing, they’re like, “Oh my god! This is so amazing.” They’re all jumping around, and we closed the deal on the spot.
This got us thinking, “Ha! Maybe bankers love our stuff.” We get another meeting with another investment bank. Same thing happens. We show them the thing, everybody jumps up and down, we close the business.
Now, here’s where it impacts positioning. We started having a conversation, at the executive team level, around, “What the heck are we? Are we actually enterprise CRM, or should we just call ourselves CRM for investment banks?” Because we call ourselves CRM for investment banks, and if investment bank is looking for a CRM, they might actually call us instead of us having to find them. If we did that, we’d have this great story around how we’re different than Siebel.
But I’m telling you, that was a hard decision to make. I couldn’t have made that decision on my own in marketing even though I was going […] and I’m running around the company going, “We should be this. We should be this.” But you know, the board is looking at me like I’m nuts, the investors are looking at me like, “Are you crazy, lady? We invested in you to be a billion-dollar company. You want us to play in this teenie-weenie-weenie little niche? How are we ever going to make money there?” The way we ended up getting around the decision was this.
We all had to come together—head of everything—head of sales, CEO, head of product, head of development, me and marketing, everybody together. We said, “Look, this is how it’s going to work. We’re going to go and dominate investment banking because freaking nobody else wants our stuff. Let’s be honest people, we’re not really giving up much here.” Once we dominated investment banking, then we’re going to move to other departments inside the investment bank—and we got a good reason to do that because we’re already in one big department—then when we’re done with that, we’re going to go to retail banking, then we’re going to go to insurance. By the time we’re going to get there, we’re pretty big. At that point, we’re going to take on Siebel after that. That’s how we’re going to be a billion-dollar company.
That’s how we got passed the thing, but can you imagine me trying to make that decision on my own? No way. The end to that story is, we did the shift, and everything changed. Everything. Every meeting we went into, we’d say, “Hey, we are a CRM for investment banks.” The bankers will give a squinty eye and say, “Wait, you guys compete with Siebel?” We’d say, “Oh, Siebel. We love those guys. They’re fantastic. What a company. Look at them, made thousands of employees, they’re amazing. If you’re a call center in India or a manufacturing plant or a retailer, but not you Wolf of Wall Street, you need some special stuff.” Then we show them the thing, everybody jumps around, we close the business. We ended up going from $1 million revenue to almost $80 million in revenue in a little over a year.
If you can imagine that and not only that, Siebel got so sick of us kicking their tail all over Wall Street, that they eventually came and acquired us for $1.7 billion dollars.
Eric: I love that story, April. That is a good one.
April: There we were, worried about […] was too small and how are we ever going to get rich doing this?
Eric: Hey, this is a fun one. Isn’t April a hoot? I’m loving this conversation, and I hope you are too on product positioning. Hey, I’ve got a simple ask for today’s podcast. Maybe you’re just jumping in, or this is your first episode with Actionable Marketing Podcast, or maybe you’ve listened to a couple of these. If you aren’t yet, I would just ask for you to subscribe to our podcast. You can do that on iTunes, on SoundCloud, on Stitcher, on Google Play and now on Spotify. Wherever your podcast poison is, we will come to you every Tuesday with another great episode. If you simply subscribe, if you could do that, I would really appreciate it. Alright, that’s it, plain and simple. Time to get back to our fun conversation with April.
Where are they falling short? Where are they making the business mistakes, the biggest mistakes when it comes to positioning? What do you see as the largest pitfalls right now?
April: I’ll tell you right now. Biggest mistakes that folks make in positioning is they don’t do it deliberately. What that means is the product was developed with an idea in mind like in the case of the one that I just told you. We had this idea when we built the product, we’re building the enterprise CRM, we’re building the CRM for big companies, and that was it. We ended up building a product, and it had all these features and customers like this, or they didn’t like this.
But then meanwhile, the market was changing, we were changing, things were happening, but when we actually got to a point where we’re trying to sell that thing, we never took a step back and said, “Is that really what we are? I know that’s what we started out to build, but does that actually serve us? Is it clear what our differentiators are there? Is it clear who we are for and where we intend to win?” We never thought about that. We actually never thought about the fact that we’re positioning ourselves squarely head to head with one of the fastest growing companies on the planet at the time that was, oh by the way, already $2 billion revenue. We never positioned deliberately—that’s the first mistake.
The second mistake is, even when we decide, “Oh, nobody seems to get what we’re doing. Oh, we don’t seem differentiated. No one can figure out why our stuff is so cool, maybe we’ve got a positioning problem.” The second mistake is, we decide to try and fix it, but we don’t follow a process. We just kind of wing it. Actually, worse than winging it is this thing that you learn in marketing school that I really have a hate on called, the Positioning Statement.
When I went to marketing school after I graduated Engineering, I get this job. I’m in marketing. I’m all stressed out that, “Maybe I don’t know what I’m doing. I should take some courses and stuff.” I’m taking all these courses, and I’m like, “This positioning thing seems really important, but no one seems to know how to do it.” I’m in the back of the class. I’m that person with their hand up saying, “Hey, how do we actually do this?” The answer was always, “You do a positioning statement.”.
What the positioning statement is these mad libs, fill in the blank exercise. It’s like, “We are a blank for blank, unlike blank that does blank.” The blanks are like, “What’s your market category? What’s your differentiator? What’s the value you deliver? Who’re your competitors?” All this stuff. Problem with the positioning statement exercise is, nobody tells you how to fill in the blanks, there’s no methodology for it.
The idea is, I sit down, I have this piece of paper, I have these blanks, and I literally, position my product by pulling these answers out of my butt or something. I just voodoo these answers, and I write them down, and by virtue of writing them down, they are the right answers. That is preposterous, right? Particularly, me with my little engineering brain, I’m like, “Come on, people. Honestly? You’re trying to tell me that’s how we do it?” That vexed me for years. I was like, “Here we have this thing, it’s super fundamental. Positioning. Totally fundamental. Determines all of the inputs for everything we do in marketing, and we don’t have a method for doing it. You’ve got to be kidding me.” I started thinking about this. I’m thinking like, “Okay, fine. I’m going to make a method for doing it. If no one else is going to do it, I’m going to do it.”
I sit down, and I’m like, “How would you do this if you weren’t an idiot?” I look at this positioning statement, and I’m like, you know, positioning can essentially be broken down in component pieces. The component pieces are the blanks in the positioning statement, and there’s five of them. It’s, who’s your competitive alternatives? What are the unique capabilities or features that your product has? What’s the value that those features can enable for customers? And then there’s, who’s my target customers? Which is another way of saying, who cares a lot about of my value? Then the last thing, is this a market that I’m going to win? Which is essentially a context I’m wrapping around my product that makes that value obvious to those folks.
I figured, if you could figure out how to do each of those things, then you got it. Then the vexing thing is you start looking at each of those pieces, and you realize, all the pieces actually have a relationship to each other. This is why this is so hard. You can’t tell me what the value of your product is that’s differentiated unless you understand your differentiated capabilities. You don’t know your differentiated capabilities until you understand what the comparable is, which means you need to know who your competitors actually are. You can’t tell me who your target customers are until you understand your value, because your target customers are basically, the people that care the most about your value. And then you can not figure out what a market to position yourself in until you understand, “This is the value I’m trying to communicate to these people.”
Eric: I love that lens. I love that formula.
April: It’s crazy, right? That’s how you got to do it. You actually have to do it in a certain order, you have to break it down to pieces, and then you have to figure out the pieces in a certain order. If you can do that, then you got positioning.
Eric: My listeners should be taking mad, copious notes right now.
April: Thick, fat, copious notes, or better yet don’t because this is what the book is all about. It took me forever to figure this thing out. Literally, forever, like 10 freaking years. I’m like, “Okay, can I start there? Can I try there?” “No, it doesn’t work there.” “Can I start here?” “No, it doesn’t work there.” “What about if I do this?” “No, it doesn’t work.” Then I started teaching classes on it, I’m […] entrepreneur and residence at a couple of local startup incubator. I run a regular class on positioning.
At one point, I thought I was really good, I had these all figured out, and then I went out to teach a class on it, and you should have seen the looks on everyone’s faces. They’re like, “April, we don’t understand a single thing coming out of your mouth.” There’s learning how to do a thing, and then there’s learning how to teach it to somebody, but now I got this thing down. The book actually describes what I’m talking about, describes my point of view on positioning, and then it gives you the process, “Step one, do this. Step two, do that. Step three, do that. Lay it all out.” I’ve done it dozens of times now with companies as a consultant, and that’s what the book is. It’s called, Obviously Awesome because it is.
Eric: Yeah, I love that. Thanks for that. I love the sneak peek. I appreciate you giving us the sneak peek into some of that. We’ll definitely end the podcast with you telling everyone how they can get their hands on this book immediately. Before we get there, I think everyone’s like, “I think, April, I’ve got my positioning figured out, but maybe I don’t?” What you see as common signs of weak positioning? How does a company know if it’s may be time to reevaluate or strengthen their positioning?
April: Yeah. You see signs of weak positioning across your entire sales marketing funnel, but often the place where it’s most obvious is looking at how a customer reacts when they first encounter your product or your offering. If you have salespeople and they do sales pitches with customers, those are often really, really good to sit in on. When a salesperson first comes in and says, “Hey, this is our thing. It does this stuff. What do you think?”
If your positioning is weak, you will see a handful of things. The first thing you’ll see, usually the most common thing you see with weak positioning is, the customers get a little squinty-eyed on you, and say, “Run it past me again.” They just don’t get it, right? Your rep is doing their best job pitching it, but customers just don’t get it. Sometimes, it’s not as obvious as the customers saying, “I literally, don’t get it.” Sometimes they’ll say, “Yeah, I get it. You’re just like Salesforce.” You’re like, “Oh, gosh no. We’re nothing like Salesforce.”
The second sign is they will frequently compare you to a company or an offering that is not your competitor. So that means, there is something in your pitch that’s making it sound like you’re in a market you’re not even in. That’s the second one.
The third one, which you’ll see a lot is, people will kind of understand what you do, they just don’t get the value or why they should care. They’re like, “Yeah, that sounds okay. I don’t know why I’d ever buy that, but yeah, sure. You’re selling that thing. Great.” There’s that. That’s kind of a slippy, dangerous one. They understand what you do, they just don’t understand your differentiated value. They’ll say, “Yeah, yeah. You’re a piece of paper. I can get paper anywhere. Paper is a commodity. Paper is all over the place. I don’t get why your papers—it’s paper, but it’s not special, so I’m not buying that.” You’ll get that. Those are the most common signs of weak positioning.
Eric: Yeah. I guess if you’re not able to identify and clearly communicate that unique positioning, then it just comes down to, I think the worst cases are, like you said, they’ll be one of those three scenarios, or it becomes a commodity and they’re just evaluating based on price and not your…
April: You know what’s even worse is, if customers are really confused, they’ll make some up in their own minds. Sometimes the thing they make up is way worse than your thing, which is bad because then they won’t buy it because they think all this thing is just stupid. Or they’ll make a thing up in their mind that is actually way better than your thing. They’ll make up magic in their mind. Then they actually buy your thing, and then they’re all bummed out like, “Oh, it doesn’t do the magic thing that I thought it did. I thought it did this magic thing?” Then they churn on you and then everyone’s sad. You’ve wasted all your marketing effort, all your salesperson’s time on a customer that’s ultimately going to churn because they thought that you did something that you didn’t.
Eric: Yeah. I’ll also say, maybe lastly here, again, when we fall in love with our product or service, it’s hard not to talk about features and the things that we think. The difference between the features that might make our product unique, but is it really more about how it will impact their day to day business, or processes, or lives? What’s the connection?
April: Yeah, yeah, probably. The big thing is you can talk about features if you want, but the context for your features always needs to be differentiated value. You always have to start with, “This is why you care, and oh yeah, by the way, this is how we do it because we have these features and no one else has these features.”
If I go back to my CRM example, we have this feature, which was this, “Many-to-many relationship. We could model that thing.” That was the feature. They actually have a process in investment banking. It’s this thing called Reasoned Call. What it means is, you as a guy who’s trying to sell a lot of securities or something, you go out for lunch with a target prospect, and you talk about this thing you’re trying to sell. Then you go back to the office, and the next thing you got to do is call the next person, and you need a reason to call them.
If I could look up in my CRM and say, “Hey, Sandy sits on the board with Josh.” If I’d come back from lunch with Sandy, I can call Josh and say, “Hey, just had lunch with Sandy. She’s really excited about this Uber thing. We should have lunch too.” Then Josh is way more likely to take the meeting because Josh doesn’t want Sandy to know something he doesn’t know, right? That’s what we talked about is, we talked about being able to mind your relationships, to get more calls, to ultimately drive more business, that was the value.
How we did this was this many-to-many relationship. We had a name for the feature, it was called the Hierarchy, but we never talked about the Hierarchy first, we talked about the value in the process, “This is what you can do with our system. This is why you care because you’re going to make more money.” But the feature on its own wasn’t interesting. That was the reason why we never sold it in the beginning. We always pitched it, but we just pitched it as a feature, and the customers are sitting there going, “So, what? What does that mean for my business?” You always got to have that. You always have to start with, “This is what it means for your business. Oh, by the way, this is how we do it. You know what, no one else can do this. It’s amazing.” But, “This is what it means to your business,” is the actual important part
Eric: That’s right. I was going to say that we’re going to that right now. With CoSchedule, we’re really excited about our features. We certainly talk about how our features can help and improve, and putting them in context for that differentiating value, but it’s about what are the outcomes of these features? That’s a practice we’re going through right now.
This has been great. April, you are awesome. The book Obviously Awesome launch is today, so congrats and of course, I want our listeners should be running physically to the bookstore or just like a click of a button. Where should they go?
April: Click the button. Don’t physically go to the bookstore, just click that button.
Eric: Where do they go? Where should they be clicking the button to? Is it just on Amazon?
April: Just go on Amazon. It’s actually online anywhere. If you like to shop at Barnes and Noble or anywhere else, you can find it there too. You could buy ebook, you could buy the physical book,but yeah, it’s online, wherever books are sold.
Eric: Wow. We will put a link to it for sure in our transcript here it’s called Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning So Customers Get it, Buy it, Love it. I’ve loved our conversation today, April. Thanks so much for coming on and congratulations.
April: Thank you so much for having me. This has been super fun.
Eric: You bet, you bet. Enjoyed it, take care.
April: Okay, thanks a lot.
Eric: That’s a wrap on another good episode. Thanks so much to April Dunford for coming on the show and really given us a real fun sneak peek into her book, Obviously Awesome. If you’re so inclined, go grab yourself a copy. A lot of good actionable tips that you can take away even just from this podcast to really start thinking about how your positioning, your products, how are you marketing them, are you tackling the right target audience. If you thought about who it is, you want to go after and who your competition is already in your market and how you’re differentiating yourself—some really good questions to ask your marketing team and your executive team if you’re not on that. Good stuff, another fun one. My name is Eric Piela, again, host of the Actionable Marketing Podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in. I will see you next Tuesday for another fun episode.