(Note: Viewpoint is a critical part of my Breakthrough Marketing Framework, to learn more about how it fits with Value and Velocity to create impact and breakthrough, read this post…Ken )
In my recent blog on High Impact Marketing, I said,
Viewpoint is a framing of the market in the context of your uniqueness. The uniqueness of your team, your capabilities, and your vision. Some call viewpoint thought leadership, some vision with a capital V, and some brand.
and I called on providers to set a unique and compelling viewpoint to create breakthrough for their marketing efforts.
While there are many frameworks and techniques to capturing Viewpoint, however defined, one of the simplest and most effective way I have, and one the first I usually pull out of my toolset, is to simple create an X and Y set of axis and coordinate labels for the market. A simple 2×2 matrix which will then set your view firmly in one corner of the world, the best one!
There’s a running joke in MBA circles that no presentation is complete without a 2×2 matrix. This dates back at least to 1968 and the classic BCG “Growth Share” matrix, which among other notoriety is the source of the phrase “Cash Cow”! With dimensions of market share and market growth, the BCG matrix provided a powerful way to understand and measure product segment profitability. This example illustrates just how powerful a 2×2 matrix can be in setting a framework in which to view a problem. From a simple idea, sprang a wealth of insight and business for BCG.
So let’s try applying the 2×2 matrix to the problem of articulating a market Viewpoint. Setting your market Viewpoint with a 2×2 matrix simple requires these “simple” steps:
1) Identify the X-axis. A good place to start here is with the biggest and simplest piece of your market vision. For Salesforce.com, this was the transition from Software to Service (now called SaaS, then call nothing really). Now that we’ve identified the endpoints, name the Axis, in this case let’s call it “Delivery”
2) Identify the Y-Axis. Here let’s try the biggest change in the customer experience. In the Salesforce.com case, it is from Coding to Configuration. Let’s name that axis, “Customization”.
3) Claim the upper right corner as yours. Here’s how this comes together in the Salesforce.com example:
The “End of Software” became Salesforce.com’s viewpoint, mantra and vision. All from this “simple” 2×2 framework.
Viewpoint is all about framing the marketplace discussion, so you can then deliver your value to the customers who see through your market viewpoint. Salesforce’s value came in the proposition of lower TCO, faster Time to Value, and greater utilization than traditional CRM software packages. And while “the End of Software” viewpoint did not sell any customers, it set a powerful market context for Salesforce to define and own the emerging SaaS CRM category, and create their own cash cow business.
Jim Barksdale, former CEO of Netscape, and one of the most amazing bosses I’ve ever had once said,
“In the battle the bear and the alligator, the victor is determined by the terrain”
By articulating a compelling and meaningful viewpoint, organizations create the terrain so that they emerge winners.