There is no doubt in B2B markets many, if not all companies strive for market leadership, but few breakthrough and achieve it.  Why?  The reasons are many.  Poor product market fit, poor user experience, misaligned pricing to value, the list goes on.  But even those who get all that right can “self-limit” their success by not elevating their messaging mix to the heights required of a market leader.  A simple diagram shows this relationship nicely. Most companies find themselves stuck at the bottom of the left pyramid with product-centric messaging.  As they fail to articulate unique value, stuck in the low ground of feature/function/benefit, they struggle to find meaning in the customer’s mind.  To achieve meaning in the market, we must message not only our benefits, but be crystal clear on the unique benefits that the customers will get from adopting our solution.  Unique value is the entry level messaging needed for market leadership.

But to rise above meaning to impact in the market, where our messaging actually helps to shape influence and impact the market in our favor, we must elevate again and align our value to the world view, or Viewpoint, held by our customers.  In this context we describe not only our value to the customer, but how we can strategically impact our customer’s journey to success or failure.

However, in today’s “show-me” short attention span world, if we want to truly break out of the crowd, we need to allow buyers to not just hear, but to experience our value early and often in the buying cycle.  And then last, if we are successful in breaking through, we can add purpose to our messaging and truly transform not just our customers and the market, but the world.

Market leadership is a privilege that is earned not given.  To earn it, we need not only a great offering, but we need to elevate our messaging to new and meaningful heights.  It’s not always easy, but the rewards, both economic and intangible, go to those who dare to climb, not those who stay in the comfort zone of their product feature, function and benefit. Happy climbing!

Ken Rutsky is a Product Marketing and Go to Market “Ninja”.  His upcoming book, Stories that Sell, Messaging that Matters: The Viewpoint Marketing B2B Playbook to Market Leadership helps organizations elevate their positioning, messaging and programs from  me-too stories and tactics to unique, compelling and breakthrough ones. You can read a short preview of the book here.

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