I’ve been working on a new model to think about market leadership and how to message at different phases of leadership.  I am doing a lot of work on this model, and would love your feedback.

Market leaders are created not born.  In B2B markets, they will go through 3 phases of market leadership, which I call creation, leadership and transformation.  My metaphor for these three phases are Flashmobs, Parades and Movements.  I believe these ideas capture the “crowd dynamic” of each of these overlapping yet distinct market leadership phases.  Let’s take a look at each of these phases and how they impact our messaging strategy.

Stage I – Market Creation

  • Metaphor – Create a Flashmob
  • Communication Objective – Insight
  • Key Audience – Problem Owner/Solution Implementer
  • Solution – Point product or tool
  • Customers – hundreds
  • Revenues – up to $10M
  • Messaging Mix – 80% Value (Feature-Benefit) 20% Viewpoint (Business Context)

At this point of our market leadership journey, we are building our initial flashmob of customers.  These customers care first and foremost on solving an immediate problem, and while they do live in a context, they are solution seekers first and foremost.  We win the communication battle by articulating the value of our better mousetrap.

Stage II – Market Leadership

  • Metaphor – Lead a Parade
  • Communication Objective -Alignment
  • Key Audience – Functional or key P and L owner
  • Solution – Suite
  • Customers – hundreds to a thousand
  • Revenues – $2M to $100M +
  • Messaging Mix – 60% Value (Feature-Benefit) 30% Viewpoint (Business Context) 10% Purpose (Destination)

In this phase our goal is to emerge as the leader of the new market segment.  There are many new mouse traps for buyers to choose from.  We must elevate our message to be almost half related to Viewpoint and Purpose, from pure value to the problem solver, to helping the P and L owner in their journey to success.  This is perhaps the hardest transition to make, and many companies cling to hard to value, as discussed here. But the rewards are great, as those who succeed rise above the crowd and win more, grow faster and increase customer and shareholder value.

Stage III – Market Transformation

  • Metaphor – Define a Movement
  • Communication Objective -Inspiration
  • Key Audience – Executive
  • Solution – Platform
  • Customers – Thousands +
  • Revenues – $70M+
  • Messaging Mix – 40% Value (Feature-Benefit) 20% Viewpoint (Business Context) 40% Purpose (Destination)

Those who create a flashmob and then transform themselves into a Market Parade leader, have the rare opportunity to Define A Movement.  Movement definers go beyond value and current context to changing and transforming the market not just for their solution, but for other complimentary and related ones.  They create business platforms for partnership and communications.  Their messaging is not only about value and context, but about shared purpose with their customers.

This framework is summarized with this table (Click to view):

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 2.50.22 PM

Zuora, an emerging leader in CRM solutions for subscription businesses, had skillfully executed this market leadership journey, and has started to Build a Movement of the Subscription Economy.  To see more on Zuora, check out this post.

I’d love to hear what you think about this framework, please comment here or send me an email.

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