The Position to W.I.N framework consists of three key considerations product marketing leaders need to make:
- WHO you are going to win with and who you are going to win against
- IMPACT of the value your product provides
- NARRATIVE you need to craft to convey your value
So far in our Positioning to W.I.N. blog series we’ve heard from product marketing experts at Salesforce, Marketo, Enverus & Tealium, 6sense, Gong & Highspot, and most recently Atlassian. Now, we’ll hear from marketing leaders at two companies making waves in the SaaS space: Ada and Vidyard.
On the latest episode of the Marchitect, my guest co-host, Trenton Romph, Head of Marketing at Clozd and I chatted with Ruth Zive, CMO at Ada and Tyler Lessard, VP of Marketing at Vidyard. Ruth and Tyler gave us the lowdown on what product marketing looks like at their organizations and shared how each of them helps their company position to W.i.N.
Listen to the full episode here, or skim the highlights below.
WHO to win with and WHO to win against
Let’s be real for a second. No matter how great your product is, it’s not going to be everything for everybody. That’s why as a product marketer you need to make strategic decisions about the customer verticals you can win with and the competitors you can win against.
At Vidyard, Tyler uses a combination of formal research, surveys, focus groups and anecdotal feedback from Vidyard’s sales and CX teams.
“Surveying within and outside of our existing customer base helps us to understand how our customers are thinking about us, where they’re seeing opportunities and what competitors they’re seeing in the market,” says Tyler. “And then we do focus groups to better understand what folks we're not servicing or those that we've lost opportunities with to understand why that might be. Then there’s very close alignment with the sales and customer experience teams to create open loops of feedback.”
Another strategy Tyler leads at Vidyard to source new best-fit customer opportunities is looking closely at customer success stories, including case studies and customers that are seeing high adoption.
“Very recently, we had an example where we happened upon a really great story from one of our customers who started using Vidyard in their sales team (which is our primary audience) but then they shared how their customer success team has seen even more value from Vidyard in using us as a video messaging tool to communicate with their clients as opposed to just prospects. And we've never focused on customer success as a best-fit customer. And so that got the product marketing team to raise their hand and say, ‘I'd love to talk a lot more to this customer and peel back this onion.’ And that's put us into research mode with that existing client to better understand this new use case. … That wouldn't have come from just general research. It came from partnering with the CX team and finding clients who were self-discovering new use cases.”
But what about early-stage businesses that don’t yet have a thriving customer pool to pull from? In this case, Ruth cautions against drilling down too far too early.
“Early on at Ada, we didn't want to make a lot of assumptions and so anyone who could fog a mirror frankly was a prospect,” jokes Ruth. She advises early-stage businesses to cast a wide net and then look for trends to start reeling it in. “Focus on what you know is really great and differentiated about your offering and market that to a broader audience. Then, look for trends. Determining the ‘who’ is really about looking for trends to help you zero in on your ideal customer profile.”
Using this tactic at Ada, allowed Ruth’s team to find their sweet spot in the market. “One of the things we discovered at Ada was that digital industries were really a sweet spot for us. … I don't think we would have necessarily made that assumption. We wouldn't have been able to draw that conclusion right out of the gate. We needed to go through enough cycles to really draw the data and analyze those common themes.”
Ruth shared another word of caution when it comes to determining who to win against: Don’t let your competitors inform all your decisions. “I think it's really important to understand why you're different and better and why you're winning—and to do that analysis carefully,” says Ruth. “But I would also caution against making too many decisions as a reaction to that competitive landscape. Be mindful of the competition to build a case around your differentiated value, but don’t go down that rabbit hole too deeply where it's informing all of your strategic decision-making.”
IMPACT for customers
Once you’ve decided which customers to win with and which competitors to win against, you have to start making those wins happen. And that’s by helping your prospects and customers understand the impact your product will have on their business. Ruth and Tyler’s advice? Show them the numbers.
“The ultimate goal is to get to a place where you have measurable ROI,” says Ruth. You can really connect the dots for your prospect in a sales cycle about what that value and impact is going to look like”. Ruth suggests dropping the industry buzzwords like “cost savings” and “customer satisfaction” and start giving them the hard numbers. “Represent the math so that they can see that in a tangible sense. … You have to be able to crystallize [impact] into something real.”
Tyler doubles down on the importance of clear ROI by recommending product marketers look for opportunities to build ROI metrics into the product itself. “Product marketing can play a proactive role and help get the product team to understand this is the kind of impact we are messaging to the market or would like to message to the market,” says Tyler. “The real gold mine is when you can not only help [customers] achieve a certain result or impact, but you can show it in the product itself through your own analytics.”
NARRATIVE that ties it all together
So you’ve defined your customers, your competitors and your impact (and maybe you even got your product team on board with building out new ROI measuring capabilities). Nicely done! Now’s the time to package it all together in a compelling narrative that tells the story you need it to tell—both externally to your customers and internally to the rest of your organization.
According to Tyler, the most powerful stories that come from product marketing are the ones told in the voice of the customer. “I think the biggest thing at the end of the day is just really representing the voice of the customer both internally and externally in the market,” says Tyler. “When you're talking … around this idea of ‘Hey, we help people do this,’ and it's very vague, the credibility just isn't there. The more that you can be representative of your real customers, have real empathy for what problems they're solving, and bring those stories to life … those are the best ones.”
For brands in a highly competitive space, Ruth recommends telling stories that cut through the noise. For Ada, this meant adopting an assertive and opinionated brand voice that would help them stand out from the crowd. “We feel that we do have a different point of view and we wanted to really bring that to life,” says Ruth. “We also wanted to be able to use words and tell stories that were a little bit familiar. But we anchored on a top-line message that we felt was opinionated and a bit provocative.”
Ready to learn more about how the product marketing teams at Ada and Vidyard are positioning their companies to W.i.N?
Listen to the full interview.