Why Every Marketer Should Be Thinking About Category Creation
Most marketers and entrepreneurs are fighting for only 24% of their market. And they don’t even know it.
We did some primary research, which we published in Harvard Business Review, that shows category designers earn 76% of the total value created in their categories.
Despite this reality, most people would rather copy than create. Most people have been trained to “compete”.
AND, most people fall into the trap of following.
Which means most marketers and entrepreneurs are fighting for only 24% of their market.
And they don’t even know it.
So, What Is Category Creation / Category Design?
Category creation / Category Design is the strategic discipline for creating a new market segment and dominating it over time.
Category designers introduce the world to new ways of living, working and playing.
They are people and companies who move the world from the way it is, to the way they think it should be—often by solving a problem people didn’t know they had, or by reimagining a known problem and then creating the potential for a radically different solution.
Most of all, they create (and subsequently capture) the exponential new value generated by an ecosystem of employees, customers, partners, investors, and communities.
Category creators design a new game and make their own rules. Here is why marketers like you should be thinking about category creation:
You Set The Rules
Marketing a new category is not the same as marketing any other product. You are not trying to beat another brand or prove that your product is “better”.
Category design is about being radically different. In a way that makes you hard to replace.
Competing for market share in an existing category is one skill. This is what most marketers think they are doing. Designing your own market category is a whole other skill.
Category designers do not want to be compared to what came before. They want all others to be compared to them.
You Are The Category Queen/King
Creating a category positions you dominate the market you’re designing over time. And the company that designs the category is best positioned to dominate it.
On the outside, category designers do not have direct competitors. Because they achieve the perception of being radically different in the minds of the market.
Companies that can design legendary products, company AND category become, category queens capture 76% of the market.
And you become the face of the category. The standard by which all others are compared. All subsequent brands will have to live up to your agenda and compete with you.
Capture A New Market Segment
Marketing a new category gives you the opportunity to see the market in a new light. Your market segment could be a small community that has been waiting for your product or a wide range of people who did not know they needed your product.
Either way, category creation will push your marketing strategies to new heights, away from traditional marketing. In particular, you will find yourself focusing on your audience, their problem, rather than on marketing your brand or product.
No one buys a “solution” until they have a “problem”.
Category creators fall in love with the problem.
Think about the legendary brands you respect.
What do they all have in common? They dominate their category. Everyone knows who Bob Marley is. He’s the number one reggae artist ever. He designed the category.
Now, can you name the number 5th greatest reggae band?
The ah-ha here is that categories make brands. Not the other way around.
It turns out to build a strong and memorable brand identity, you have to design and dominate your category.
Otherwise, you could end up fighting over 24% of the category and risk becoming just another, no-name reggae band.
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