By Michelle Voznyuk, Marketing Specialist at Heinz Marketing
In today’s digital age, it’s harder than ever to stand out. While you might be marketing a product or service yourself, you’re also getting marketed to countless times throughout the day. Whether it’s a cold call/email from a sales rep or a promotional email from a brand you follow, there’s so much digital noise to sift through.
So, that begs the question: “how do you stand out from the crowd?”.
Well, there’s no one right answer. But I believe that one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from competitors and strategically position yourself in the market is by becoming a “category leader”.
What is category leadership?
Put simply, category leadership refers to the act of positioning yourself as the primary expert or a go-to-resource for community-led ideas and solutions to problems.
You might be wondering: “how this is different from thought leadership?”
While there’s definitely overlap, I’d argue category leadership takes it one step further. It’s not only about putting out content that demonstrates your expertise in one particular topic area, but also about increasing market awareness of a core problem or opportunity. It’s about establishing yourself as a market-leading share of voice to your target audience.
How do you enhance category leadership?
To effectively become a category leader, you should aim to get involved in a community of key buyer personas in existing community formats. In other words, you should aim to get your foot in the door in a space your target audience already operates and looks to grow their knowledge base. You should thoughtfully curate a content plan and strategy that will resonate with your audience. Ideally, it’s a multi-touch, multi-threaded campaign that will engage your targets.
Once you’re there, it’s all about creating and executing a drumbeat of value-added content and establishing your brand as the leader in your category.
Some try to carve a niche in their category and one of the best ways to generate interesting and relevant content is by regularly doing industry research.
How does industry research fuel category leadership?
Executing industry research can boost category leadership efforts for a few reasons:
First, it allows you to get ahead of new trends. Polling an audience allows you to grasp what unique challenges they might be facing today that they didn’t yesterday. This allows you to react by building additional content for your target audience that supports these new focus areas and proposes a solution to any problems.
Next, industry research unlocks a steady flow of key insights that creates multiple ways to engage with your audience. For example, you can release tenants of research to gather initial feedback. Or create an ongoing best practice series. Or drip out “sneak peeks” of research to open discussion and tease the full report. Whatever it may be, these insights provide your audience with valuable, real-world data and can help back up any claims you might want to make.
Lastly, industry research helps your brand get discovered and establishes you as an expert. When you regularly generate quality research, people notice. Think about the Gartners and Forresters of the B2B world – they’ve become category leaders because they’ve done enough research that their audience trusts what they have to say.
I hope you found this information helpful as you continue planning and executing your strategies this year. Category leadership, while seemingly daunting, is totally possible for your organization in 2023. By investing time and resources into creating value-add content for your audience, you’ll be on your way to becoming a category leader and surpassing your competition.
How do I get started?
If you need assistance with your industry research or category leadership, we’d love to help. Contact us or send an email to email@example.com. Our team can work on a personalized strategy that works for you.