Every company that crosses our doorstep gets asked the same question: When was the last time you updated your Positioning and Messaging? That may seem like an unnecessary roadblock when you just want to get out there with a press release announcing your company or its latest product, but it may be the most important question you answer all year. Whether your company is an IoT start-up or has been in business for more than 20 years, you need that core Positioning and Messaging to help guide the way your brand is positioned in the market. Every other marketing activity should take a back burner to this.
Remember the “simple” days of hardware when it was easy to tell who made what, and how it all fit into the communications ecosystem? Today, especially in the B2B sector, customers looking for IoT solutions must sift through a mountain of marketing speak—Platforms! Applications! Connectivity! Data! Analytics! Artificial Intelligence! Digital Transformation! —to find companies that can help them solve their specific problems. Do a Google search on IoT and you’ll find 101 million results (go ahead, try it! If you Google Internet of Things, there are 350 million results!)
There are so many solutions for so many problems that only the IoT has the ability to solve. Establishing a Positioning and Messaging document can help you focus specifically on the things your company does to help a well-defined set of customers solve their problems. This all needs to be written down in a formal document that becomes your company’s personal business framework.
This is a living document, and any changes to your company—an acquisition, a marquee customer, a new product, a shift in customer segment—should force a revisit to your Positioning and Messaging. At Calysto, we call this process and subsequent formal document a Strategic Business Framework or Corporate Business Positioning. It lays out, in black and white, who your audience is, what your position is in the market, your key messages, and the differentiators and unique attributes you bring to the markets you serve.
This process is hard work and not for the faint of heart. Initial versions will likely contain quite a few buzzwords. It’s important to cut those out of your vernacular because buzzwords can do more harm than good in your marketing efforts. In Calysto’s Positioning and Messaging exercises, we ask the question “’Why?” quite a bit—ask yourself “why are you the best?” and “why is this important?” and continue to dig deeper and deeper until you uncover your true differentiators. Be specific with our word choices; never use a general term when a specific one will serve you better.
And those claims you’re making? Calysto also asks you to prove it, not to be a pain, but because everyone you’re trying to tell your story to will ask you to prove it—media, analysts AND customers. Might as well prove it up front and blow the competition out of the water right out of the gates!
The Positioning and Messaging is also a great opportunity to reach beyond marketing to get the viewpoints of all of the company’s stakeholders. You might find that not everyone is one the same page and can then realign goals and expectations to create a more synergistic approach. It’s time and money well spent, and your customers, partners, and internal teams will have a clearer view of the specific role and benefits your company brings to the market.
© 2018 Calysto Communications