Episode 32: Garin Hess & Lars Grønnegaard

In our 32nd episode, Jason Widup, VP of Marketing at Metadata, talks category creation with two B2B leaders from the digital presales and B2B revenue attribution categories.

Panelists for this episode include:

  • Garin Hess, CEO and Founder of Consensus and leader behind the digital presales category
  • Lars Grønnegaard, Co-founder and CEO of Dreamdata and leader behind the B2B revenue attribution category

You’ll walk away from this episode with an understanding of how to build analyst relationships, position your brand, and create a go-to-market strategy.

Takeaway 1. Competition is a good thing when creating a new category

One of the key challenges of creating a new category is the market won’t always know how to make sense of your innovative solution. They will try to put you in a category that makes the most sense in their minds. The problem is that this imagined category doesn’t always reflect what your product is all about. And without any competitors to use a proxy, companies might be reluctant to create a new budget line item for your unique solution.

So, in some ways, competition is a good thing for category creation. The presence of other competitors means that there’s a path you can follow. Customers are familiar with how similar solutions work. All you need to do is find out how to lead that path. That’s where positioning and branding come into play.

It takes some time to see the difference branding makes to your company’s growth. And that difference is often the difference between creating and leading a category and being just another solutions provider in the market. The sooner you start thinking about using branding as a category creation strategy, the better off you’ll be.

Takeaway 2. Category creation is a result of many small activities that compound over time

You don’t have to hit the ground running on day one and go to market with your new category narrative, but you do have a vision for how you want to define your brand. As we’ve learned from previous guests of this podcast, category creation is not a marketing tactic. It’s a strategy that involves a lot of things. The first thing you should pay attention to is whether you have a unique product that offers unrivaled value compared to other competitors. Without this, category creation doesn’t make sense.

Besides having a good product that solves a real problem, you also need to ensure you have the resources to support your strategy. Creating a new category is expensive. You’re going to need to spend a lot of money before things start to pay off. Your market will need to see your product many times before they understand how it can help them. That means investing in awareness campaigns, product demos, webinars, events, and building analyst relationships.

As you can see, it’s not possible to create a category in weeks or months when you factor in all the activities involved. The time scale is much longer than that. And out of everything, building relationships with analysts takes the most time.

Takeaway 3. Build relationships with analysts as early as possible

Analysts continue to play an essential role in how c-suite leaders make decisions. Their word carries a lot of weight, often more than any self-published blog post or reports you might publish. If they recommend your product, your chances of getting selected as a vendor increase significantly.

The best mindset to have when approaching analyst relationships is to think of them as personal instead of transactional relationships. Analysts talk to many companies, and they’re always open to new insights about the problems you’re trying to solve.

It’s also good to ask for their opinions. Garin says, “If you take their advice and it works, and you build them up, well, they’re going to love you because who doesn’t love to give advice and see that it works?”

For more insights on analyst relationships, creating a go-to-market strategy, and brand positioning, be sure to listen to this episode of B2B category creators.

BONUS!

Garin explains why you should introduce your customers to analysts.

Metadata.io acquires Reactful to continue building Marketing OS for B2B.
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