Introducing UCIoT and the Importance of Being in the Right Category

Quick, in three or fewer words, tell us what category your company is in.

Is it enterprise security, 5G wireless infrastructure, managed services, IoT sensors? How do you classify yourself? Is it possible that the right category doesn’t yet exist?

That surprisingly happens more than you might think. Categories are buckets that companies put their products, solutions and services into (or that they get placed into by third parties). They’re helpful for competitive analysis, for working with analyst firms on things like the Gartner Magic Quadrant and other reports, and they’re a great catch-all for summarizing what you do for your target audience(s) in just a few words.

But are they always accurate? The majority of the time, the hundreds of current major categories are perfectly accurate to describe your products and company. However, companies also are categorized incorrectly by the analyst firms just so they are in a bucket. It makes much more sense to develop a new category that better fits where your company is at a given point in its lifecycle. While it’s nice to be in a category, the wrong category can be detrimental to your company’s overall success.

A New Category: UCIoT
To underscore the importance of new category development, take the topic of our recent conversation in PRVibes™ with Zeus Kerravala of ZK Research. Zeus recognized that a few companies he worked with were taking a different approach to IoT—”giving machines a voice.” And so, Zeus collaborated with Calysto CEO Laura Borgstede to create the category UCIoT, or the intersection of unified communications and IoT. There are already a few companies that fit into this category with more to come as the technology set grows.

As Zeus says, “Think about a connected refrigerator. Why can’t your refrigerator tell you when the water filter needs to be replaced through a SMS and then the filter could be ordered through the device? That whole transactional process should happen because the connected thing can actually communicate with a person. A few vendors are pushing forward with this area, but, for the most part, I thought we would be further along by now.”

One potential reason for the slowdown? There’s was no category in which to group these like vendors and have them gain momentum from larger scale market forces—or for potential customers to understand the benefits they bring to market.

Why a Category Is Important
So why is it so important to be in the right category, like the one we developed for UCIoT? There are a number of reasons, but the first is the ability to claim leadership. The first few companies in any category have the ability to stake their claim to leadership benefits in a few key areas:

  • First-mover leadership in the category for the company as an early entrant
  • Continued leadership in the “next level up” category, such as UC or IoT
  • Thought Leadership for company executives as early spokespeople about the category
  • Market leadership in the category for companies named the “winners”
  • The ability to quickly identify competitors within the space as they begin to use the category name
  • Better understanding from media and analysts (and, subsequently, end users) about where the company fits into the overall UC and IoT ecosystems

Every New Category Needs Champions
Finding the right champions can be difficult, especially if you are a new company without a lot of street cred. That’s where relationships come into play. You need to know a wide swath of influencers, but also have deep relationships with the people that truly understand your target market from bottom to top. That’s where working with a marketing communications firm can be incredibly helpful. Calysto has played a key role in the IoT, cloud, mobile, wireless, and telecom technology ecosystem for more than 20 years. Over the years, we’ve successfully launched more than a dozen new categories and positioned companies as First Movers, Thought Leaders, Market Leaders, and more.

Creating a new category isn’t easy, and it could take up to a year before it’s more commonly used. It’s better not to go it alone. You need the consistent feedback loop from seasoned third-party marketing and industry experts throughout the cycle—people who have done this successfully time and time again. Creating a category in a bubble rarely ends well.

For more information on how to get started with a creating a new category definition, contact Laura Borgstede or Marissa Evans at Calysto Communications™.

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