In startups and growing teams, marketing involves two different roles—product marketing and brand marketing.
The product marketing managers own customer research and segmentation, they craft the message and positioning statements and lead content marketing strategy that aligns with the GTM roadmap. This is essentially a cycle from the GTM strategy to sales enablement.
The brand marketers are focused on brand positioning with a goal to drive brand awareness via storytelling around the brand narrative.
I often see that many founders think of leveraging the available positioning such as an Airbnb for Y, or Uber for X. This might be a good starting point to set the ball rolling but this rarely works (leave aside exceptions). Can they match their operations, experience, delivery, support, and brand footprints with the Uber or Airbnb? And how do they scale this positioning? Certainly, their goals might be different from those of Airbnb or Uber.
As Myk Pono says in this Medium article, Positioning has to be strategic and message-driven.
What message you want to communicate, in what voice, and why the audience should listen to you, for how long, and for what expected change in their life?
Consider a few ‘product positioning statement’ examples of what I see around (edited to respect their work):
- The best product roadmap tool that keeps your team on the same page
- The best customer feedback tool around
- Create AI-driven smart surveys
- Work faster in remote teams
Why the customers will care for yet another tool? Some of them might stop to have a quick look on the landing page, they may sign up for a free trial, but the same immature positioning welcomes them in the onboarding emails, onboarding screens, and they rarely convert.
The positioning is far more critical for the product success, and a last-minute filler hero image and CTA text on the landing page (to be changed later) never works.
Product positioning is an extension of the strategic brand narrative and it should be well-thought, research-driven, and respected.
Weeks of work in the code and customer interviews and days are spent on Slack. Founders should respect their effort more, and invest in what really matters and scales their business.
Craft the message, to inspire trust, and to generate curiosity in the audience for a winning strategy.
Not doing a strategic position is almost disrespecting your product.