February 14, 2023

The New Key to Product Positioning is Data Objectivity… and Apple Sauce

When I was a kid, my parents used to grind up my vitamins and medicine and hide it in apple sauce so I would eat it. The way B2B Tech has changed, that’s become a useful lens through which to reconsider product positioning.

Ten or 15 years ago, B2B Tech was all about Sales, and Marketing was largely a means to drive Sales conversations. Buyers bought from people they knew and trusted. But as Harvard Business Review recently described, that model has completely changed. A key reason is generational change, as Gartner says most Millennial B2B buyers prefer a rep-free buyer experience. The B2B buyer journey is largely digital today, where buyers can make themselves smart and confident independently via the proliferation of content online.

In that context, companies need a carefully crafted, compelling, and unique point of view, or POV. That’s not a novel concept. The problem is, most companies today think that means sharing opinions via content marketing in blog and social posts. But opinions are fleeting. They’re entertaining to the audience briefly, but opinions don’t age well. They’re tied to a moment in time. When was the last time you sought out a commentary article or podcast more than 2 days old?

To really move the needle, marketers need to attain shelf life for their POV. The key to doing so is to hide the POV behind data, thus giving it the appearance of being objective. Objectivity becomes more than entertainment; it becomes reference material. Reference material has shelf life, and makes a bigger impact on its audience. It teaches, not talks. Personally, when I find survey results from 6 months ago, for instance, I consider those to be “recent”. Very different from opinions.

In this analogy, data is the apple sauce that makes the vitamins palatable. To get this data, tech companies have two primary options. The first is to use internal proprietary user data to uncover and quantify industry trends about which others may have a gut feeling, but haven’t seen proof. The second is to use primary survey data to show how the market is changing, how opinions are changing, and to drive urgency about the impending irrelevance of the status quo.

To embed a company’s POV behind its data to achieve objectivity, and thus shelf life, the key is to use user data or survey data to develop powerful and unique data points that prove or backup your POV. However, it’s best to create these data points by starting at the end and working backwards. Start with the wish list of powerful data points a company is hoping to be able to share, and then formulate surveys and data analytics projects that are designed to achieve those powerful data points.

Once you have those powerful data points that prove or backup your company’s POV, you can use them as the basis for content of a wide range of forms, such PR briefs, gated content, paid media teasers, email subjects, lead nurturing, and sales materials.

For help documenting your company’s POV, and planning out the projects to acquire the data to make that POV objective, start with a free consultation with Persuasion Art, schedulable here.