What does market leadership look like? Faster lead conversion? more visibility and fame? better metrics like leads to revenue? CEO rockstars the conference? competitors on their heels and chasing? All of this and more! What it looks like is a snowball rolling downhill. Market leaders often get benefits well beyond their product differentiation would suggest. It’s a virtuous success cycle, as the snowball get bigger and gains momentum, rolling over less well positioned competitors.
Palo Alto Networks, a leader in network security solutions is a great case in point. When they launched in 2007, their message layers looked like this, focused on product and value:
The $3B firewall market was filled with hard to implement, highly technical product, Palo Alto launched with the slogan, “It’s time to fix the Firewall”
But to really establish market leadership, they then layered unique value on top of this with 3 items, user, application and threat awareness.
This created a new leadership position, by shifting the conversation to their unique value, value that other Firewalls simply could not deliver.
From here, Palo Alto added the context that was bubbly in the market, Next Generation threats. By adding this context, they raised their leadership profile above the Firewall market, to the broader Network Security market. In fact, prior to Palo Alto, Firewalls were really consider access control policy engines, not threat prevention products.
Finally, as Palo Alto expanded it’s product line, it continued to add more purpose to its messaging, the end of the breach era, and the full messaging Snowball now looks like this:
From a standing start in 2005, Palo Alto Networks should pass $1B in revenues in 2016 and has a market cap of nearly $12B. They have all the hallmark metrics of a market leader. What’s your market leadership message snowball look like?
Ken Rutsky is a Marketing Consultant and B2B Market Leadership “Ninja”. Ken helps organizations climb the ladder to market leadership. His upcoming book is entitled; Launching to Leading: How B2B Market Leaders Create Flashmobs, Marshal Parades and Ignite Movements (Morgan James 2016)
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