SUMMARY - Obviously Awesome - April Dunford

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Here are the key points from the summaries:

  • Positioning provides important context that helps customers understand a product's value and how it solves their problems/meets their needs. Good positioning frames the product in a way that resonates with target customers.

  • Positioning should highlight the unique attributes and advantages that differentiate the product from competitors. It focuses on the customer benefits and proof of those benefits.

  • Traditional positioning templates often don't provide useful insights and don't get used after completion. Alternative frameworks like focusing on competitive alternatives, unique attributes, customer value, target market, and market category are more actionable.

  • Optimal positioning targets specific customer characteristics that indicate who will value the product most. These target customers should be the focus of sales/marketing efforts.

  • Adjusting positioning messaging to emphasize relevance to customer priorities like direct-to-consumer initiatives can speed up deal closing and prioritization.

  • For multi-product companies, positioning individual products separately while also positioning the overall company brand provides clarity on why customers should consider multiple offerings. Determining the starting point depends on business objectives.

The key takeaway is that deliberate, customer-focused positioning that highlights unique value is important for success, and should evolve as products and markets change over time.

Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Positioning as a "create a new game" approach should only be used if your offering truly enables something new and cannot fit within existing categories.

  • You are actively creating new demand by defining a new market category from scratch, rather than capturing existing demand.

  • This is typically only possible when major changes in technology, customer needs, or the business environment have created the potential for significantly new capabilities.

  • A new category emerges when an enabling technology, shifting preferences, and supporting ecosystem all align simultaneously.

  • Your solution must require both a new way of thinking about existing boundaries and new evaluation criteria, not just stretching multiple categories.

  • Category creation involves the most customer education as there is no existing frame of reference. You must credibly show how your product warrants its own category.

  • Timing is important to explain why the category has emerged now versus before. Customers need to understand the problem, costs, and potential solutions before your product.

  • Category creation is about first selling customers on the problem and opportunity rather than just the product solution.

    Here is a summary:

  • A CIO was excited about a small appliance he purchased from a startup due to its unique "cool purple lights", standing out from typical server hardware.

  • Within a year, all companies started packaging their server products in stylish boxes and talking about design, showing the startup influenced the industry with its innovative product design and presentation.

  • The conclusion discusses how positioning products strategically is a learnable skill. With experience evaluating successes and failures, and understanding customer needs, one can improve at positioning to influence how a product is perceived in the long run.

  • While trends can help, superficial attributes alone won't lead to long term success. The book aims to teach a deliberate process for effective product positioning through analytical skills like customer understanding.

The key points are that a startup influenced the larger industry through a distinctive product design aesthetic, and positioning strategically requires analysis, experience, and addressing real customer needs rather than superficial attributes alone. The book aims to impart systematic positioning skills.

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