As anyone following the marketing automation industry is aware, Eloqua has been working feverishly to create a new sector: Revenue Performance Management. Establishing a new business category is never easy – and with the shifting sands of corporate generated content versus user generated content, once-established methods of category-building are no longer as effective as they once were. So let’s look at the five steps to creating a new market category, using Revenue Performance Management as the case study.
1.) Start at the top. Seed the idea with analysts. Eloqua went on an “analyst relations” tour back in April and pre-briefed major analyst firms and independents on our vision for this new category and how our technology roadmap would drive its success. Today we are seeing analysts who cover the lead generation and multichannel marketing categories begin to talk more about the relationship between marketing and revenue. Forrester’s Suresh Vital even participated in a webinar with Eloqua on this very topic.
2.) Stay out of the weeds. Keep your messaging high level. The first step is to “sell the concept.” The second step is to deliver the goods. Some vendors believe their own PR: They talk about a new category, and assume that means the world understands their vision. It’s just not the case. Nobody is going to buy a cure for an ill they don’t know they have.
3.) Welcome copycats. There’s no such thing as a category containing only one company. Followers are a good thing when it comes to category building. Encourage your competitors to claim their stake in the sector. Compete against them on a solutions level, but resist the urge to deny they are part of the category you aim to create. You need them for validation.
4.) Create buzz. This is where social media has had the largest impact on this marketing challenge. There was a time in which securing the right influencers would be sufficient. But now the public is the influencer. In many ways, the model has flip-flopped. To this end, Eloqua and JESS3 teamed up to publish The Future of Revenue animation and microsite. And it worked: The day we released the video was the single highest web traffic day for Eloqua, ever.
5.) Deliver the goods. Only after you have analyst buy-in, a consistent and compelling visionary story, competition, and a groundswell of attention should you begin to roll out solutions. Remember: a product is not a category.
I’d be interested in hearing what steps others have taken to build a category. Have I missed any stages in the above process? Let us know!