Episode 31: Jack Mardack and Mariano Suarez-Battan

In our 31st episode, Olivier talks category creation with two B2B leaders from the global HR and visual collaboration software categories.

Panelists for this episode include:

  • Jack Mardack, Cofounder of Oyster and leader behind the global HR software category
  • Mariano Suarez-Batta, CEO of Mural and leader behind the visual collaboration software category

You’ll walk away from this episode with an understanding of content strategies, strategic narratives, and product use cases.

Takeaway 1. Build your content strategy around educating your audience

Creating a new category is a challenge regardless of your industry. Competition is high, and customers are more resourceful than ever when researching your brand. As a result, you have to look at category creation as an exercise that goes beyond market positioning. It should also be about building trust through information. And one of the most effective ways to do that is by developing a content strategy.

Your potential customers are real people with pain points that need to be solved. Through content, your goal should be to provide them with insights and opinions to help them better understand how your product fits into their daily workflow and makes their life easier. Relevance is key.

The goal of any content strategy should ultimately be to simplify the complex parts of your solution into a story that your audience can quickly identify with and understand. Even if your startup is on the cutting edge of innovation, customers aren’t going to care about all the cool technology you developed. They will remember whether or not your technology solves a real problem.

Takeaway 2. Use review sites to create your strategic narrative

If you’re still in the early stages of creating your product, you can use review sites as a starting point for building a strategic narrative. Your strategic narrative is the story that differentiates your company from competitors. By seeing how users talk about your product on review sites, you’ll have a better chance at creating a narrative that sticks.

You want to pay particular attention to the things people say they don’t like about other competing products in your industry. That’s where you’ll find key insights into what problems customers are looking to solve. It could be a feature you already offer, a more straightforward way of doing a task, or something else that you might not have thought of before.

Once you’ve identified what your customers care about, you need to add that to your narrative. You’ll know your strategic narrative works if customers can immediately attach your brand to the problem your product solves. Positive word of mouth will also be an outcome of a successful narrative.

Takeaway 3. Match your personas to use cases to simplify your story

One of the strategies for storytelling mentioned in this podcast episode is the idea of matching use cases to different buyer personas. Content created around use cases makes it easier for each buyer persona to understand how your product works. This is especially true when your product is super complex with many possible categories that it can belong.

Focusing on specific use cases allows you to position your product as an ideal solution for your ideal customers. The key to making it work is getting to know as much as possible about their problems. When you take the time to do this, you’ll end up with highly personalized content that can improve your marketing ROI.

In addition to its marketing benefits, use case content also benefits your sales team. Internal sales can use it during product demos when talking to prospects. And this can easily lead to more deals being closed for your company.

For more insights on matching personas with use cases, using review sites, and creating a content strategy, be sure to listen to this episode of category creators.


Jack explains why every executive should work at a hotel at least once in their lives.

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