In tech, as in life, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. That might be one of the coolest aspects about building super-exciting software products. There’s any number of ways to get the job done. As product people, we lend our education, our experience, and our intuition to improving people’s lives. Our varied life circumstances inform both our efforts and the many potential means by which we pursue success.
For April Dunford, who joins Sean and Paul in this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, getting your Positioning right is the straw that stirs the drink. “Positioning is foundational to everything that follows,” April confidently points out. “It essentially defines how your product is uniquely qualified to be a leader at something that a well-defined set of customers cares a lot about.”
April isn’t shy in proclaiming the mission-critical role that Positioning plays in product success. Nor is she bashful in calling out product-market fit as “a myth” (and making an interesting case in the process).
Listen in to catch April’s thoughts on those topics, as well as the following:
[02:20] Product managers & product marketers. We’re sort of becoming hip. We’re cool now.
[04:27] Positioning is foundational. In fact, it’s so foundational that we either think it’s already been done…or that we can’t do anything about it anyway.
[06:32] Positioning. What it is; what it isn’t.
[09:16] Good-fit customers. You want a pipeline of those.
[09:38] Bad-fit customers. Cull the herd.
[13:13] Good fit means “good for the customer and good for the business.”
[13:50] Segmentation. So much more than demographics and firmographics.
[15:51] Actionable Customer Segmentation. Catch how April’s discovery process leads to actionable customer segmentation.
[19:45] Product-market fit. “I do have a bit of hate on for product-market fit.”
[26:10] Product-market fit part deux. “It’s baloney. It’s not a thing.”
[27:32] Magic marketing moment. When everything feels easy. Like you’re running down hill.
[30:01] (product + category) x Trend. Trends are accelerants to positioning. They make your stuff seem sexier.
[31:04] Trends part deux. The trend answers the question, “Why now?”.
[32:49] In competition with the status quo. Doing nothing is always an option for customers.
[34:00] Positioning: investors vs. customers. Why the pitch is so different. (hint: it’s about value)
[36:39] Innovation. There’s lots of ways to be innovative outside of the technology.
[38:23] Acquisition features and retention features. One to set the hook, the other to make sure it stays there.
[43:23] Positioning as a superpower. It can change the way both your team and the world think about the problems you solve, your technology, or even your entire market.
April’s Recommended Reading
Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended on It, by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz.
April Dunford is a consultant, author, speaker, and globally recognized expert in Positioning. She helps technology companies make complicated products easy for customers to understand and love. Previously, April has run marketing, product, and sales teams at a series of successful technology startups and has launched 16 products into market. She is also a board member, investor, and advisor to dozens of high-growth businesses and is the author of the best-selling book Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get it, Buy it, Love it.