- Find out how Category Design differentiates you from your competitors and have you as your market’s top of mind
- Learn how to clearly define the problem you solve and communicate it
- Discover marketing tactics and strategies that meet your business objectives
- Download your FREE PDF copy on How to Drive a Market: https://growthstage.marketing/category-design/
Do you feel like you are putting all the marketing strategies in place and yet you are not meeting your financial objectives?
Are you not having the revenue growth you thought you should be making?
Do you want to find an opportunity to engage your market differently and be top of mind?
Mark Donnigan designs and executes marketing programs and go-to-market strategies that build markets and establish disruptive innovation companies as a category king. Leveraging marketing and growth tactics that work, Mark produces real business results for early and growth-stage technology and disruptive innovation startup companies.
In this episode, Mark shares how Category Design lets you cut through the noise and become your market’s top of mind.
Check out these episode highlights:
- 02:02 – Mark’s ideal client: “My ideal clients are technical or product lead founders who are introducing technologies or deep tech-type solutions into the market. Anybody who’s solving problems where, either advanced technology has been developed to address the problems, or they’re bringing maybe some existing technologies into the market.”
- 02:51 – The problem Mark helps solve: “The problem I solve is the classic mindset of, ‘If I build it, they will come.’ ‘My solution is so good.’”
- 03:47 – Typical symptoms that Mark’s clients would be experiencing before working with them: “Most of the time they’ve launched, they have a product in market, they have customers, and they usually have to use the word you might say, product-market fit. The point is, depending on what your perspective is, you might think like 10 million, well, that’s a pretty good start, right? The problem is you get to $10 million; you look around and say now what, I’m not seeing a clear path to get to 50 and 100 and really capture the market potential.”
- 05:45 – Common mistakes they make before they find Mark’s solution: “The common mistakes are executing, frankly, a marketing playbook that was built for 10, 15, 20 years ago.”
- 07:25 – Mark’s Valuable Free Action (VFA): “Clearly define the problem that you solve. And then every opportunity you have to talk about your solution, don’t talk about your product, talk about the problem and the solution.”
- 07:52 – Mark’s Valuable Free Resource (VFR): Check out Mark’s Website: growthstage.marketing
- 08:10 – Q: Why in the world did I get into marketing? A: I’m a sales guy that started programming computers when I was 12, figured out that I wanted to be a rock star, went to music school, and so sales and marketing creativity. That’s why I’m here.
Tweetable Takeaways from this Episode:“Every opportunity you have to talk about your solution, don't talk about your product, talk about the problem you solve.” -Mark Donnigan Click To Tweet
(Note, this was transcribed using a transcription software and may not reflect the exact words used in the podcast)
Tom Poland 00:09
Greetings everyone, a warm welcome to another edition of Marketing the Invisible. My name is Tom Poland beaming out to as always from little on the white sand next the big blue ocean Little Castaways Beach in Queensland, Australia, joined today by Mark Donnigan. Mark, good day, Sir, very warm welcome! Where are you hanging out?
Mark Donnigan 0:25
Phoenix, Arizona in the desert. Phoenix, Arizona on the beach.
Tom Poland 0:29
Right? Where you take your sinuses, right?
Mark Donnigan 0:32
Tom Poland 0:32
It’s nice and dry, quite warm. But, nice and dry. And like you. Yes, yeah.
Mark Donnigan 0:37
It’s a dry heat, we say.
Tom Poland 0:39
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I sat on the tarmac at the airport there when it was about 120 degrees, it was dry, but it was kind of warm. And for some reason, the plane couldn’t take off for about 45 minutes. I sat there.
Mark Donnigan 0:50
Tom Poland 0:51
Without an aircon. Anyway, enough of my and that’s my travel adventures. And for those folks, if you don’t know Mark, he designs. This is really interesting. I saw this, the title of this. I find it fascinating, so, get this. Mark designs and executes marketing programs and go-to market strategies that build markets and establish disruptive innovation companies as a category King. Now, this is a whole Science in itself folks how to effectively eliminate in the minds of your marketplace, direct competitors. So, he leveraged his marketing and growth tactics that shock, actually work. Because a lot of marketing stuff doesn’t work. He produces real business results, measurable business results for alien growth, strange technology, and disruptive innovation startup companies. I can’t wait, to me, this is one of the most exciting subjects I could imagine. Our title, not to put too much pressure on you, Mark. But we’re pretty pumped for this. Our title is, How to Break Away from Your Competitors Using Category Design. So, let’s rock and roll, our seven minute starts now. Mark, who is your ideal client? That’s question number one.
Mark Donnigan 2:02
Yeah, my ideal client, our technical or product lead founders who are introducing technologies or, you know, deep, deep tech-type solutions into the market.
Tom Poland 2:15
Give us a couple of examples with you.
Mark Donnigan 2:17
Yeah, so you know, these would be anybody who’s solving problems where, you know, either advanced technology has been developed to address the problems, or they’re bringing maybe some existing technologies into the market. So, one space that I work in very extensively is video streaming. If you watch Netflix, for example, you have actually perhaps seen some companies products and solutions that I’ve actually helped to build.
Tom Poland 2:44
Fantastic, exciting. Thank you for that. Question two. We’ve got six minutes left, what’s the problem you solve for these people?
Mark Donnigan 2:51
Yeah, so the problem I solve is the classic mindset of ‘If I build it, they will come.’ ‘My solution is so good.’ That, you know, I really find people that don’t believe in marketing. But I do find a real predominant mindset around technologists and the kinds of founders that I actually gravitate to work towards. And that is, you know, that they have developed something that’s real and significant. Problem is, you have to market it just as if you’re selling hot dogs. Yeah. So, it’s a different kind of marketing, but you still have to…
Tom Poland 3:29
It’s got to be done. Thank you, well may not be the path to your door, just because you build a better mousetrap. Question number three, Sir, five minutes left, what are some of the typical symptoms that your clients would be experiencing before working with them? And give us a bit of an example on what’s going on in their business with the minor clues that they need to reach out to you?
Mark Donnigan 3:47
Yeah, so quite commonly, I don’t work with companies or rarely work with companies who are pre-market, you know, or say pre-commercialization. Most of the time they’ve launched, they have a product in market, they have customers, and they usually have to use the word you might say, product market fit. So, in other words, there is enough validation that, hey, what we build is real, there’s a market for it, people want it, they’re willing to pay us, etc. The challenge, though, is, they get to a point and that point could be a million dollars in revenue, it could be $5 million in revenue could even be $10 million. The point is, you know, depending on what your perspective is, you might think like 10 million, well, that’s a pretty good start, right? The problem is you get to $10 million; you look around and say now what, you know, I’m not seeing a clear path to get to 50 and 100 and really capture the market potential. And so generally, what that means is that they have had marketing, so there’s somebody now might be a founder, working with an agency, maybe they’ve hired a marketing person, you know. And, yeah, and in some cases, you know, it’s super interesting because I get involved inside, and rarely do I get a founder that, you know, sort of calls me up and says Mark, you know, what we’re doing is just broken. And you know, but usually they’re like, Mark, you know, I feel like we’re kind of doing the right things, or we’re doing some things really well, we can always be better, but my business objectives are not working. So, can you help?
Tom Poland 5:17
Because that’s probably the biggest symptom is they’re just not making the revenue growth that they thought they should be making at that point.
Mark Donnigan 5:23
That’s right. And yet they’re doing in their mind what they, quote unquote, should be doing right. But clearly, it’s not executing against the…
Tom Poland 5:32
Might be a matter of what got them to where they are now is not going to take them to the next level. Thank you, sir. We got three minutes left, so, we will keep moving. Question number four, what are some of the common mistakes they make before they find your solution? Just two or three so we can keep moving?
Mark Donnigan 5:45
So, you know, the common mistakes are executing, frankly, a marketing playbook that was built for 10, 15, 20 years ago. And that is, you know, thinking of everything as a channel, everything is a campaign, in some cases, an over-reliance on again, an air quotes brand. So, if everybody just knows about me, then I will sell more. This is where category design is a silver bullet. Because what category design does is, while there’s a party on the beach, and everybody’s, you know, hanging out and having a great time, category design is where you say, you know, what, if I stand in the middle of this group, even with a megaphone, and I’m shouting messages, A) everybody else is shouting, too. So, it’s just going to be a cacophony of noise, certainly, no one’s going to hear me. But if I go stand, you know, 25 meters away, you know, and, I’m all by myself. Now, this is counterintuitive, because people are like, well, but don’t you want to be where the crowd is? I mean, hey, you know, maybe you bump into the right person, etc., you know, the guy next to you is going to hear what you have to say. No, the answer’s no. Because think about your own behavior, just kind of walking down the street. Is that kind of curious, when you do see a group of people or there’s a line at a store, and then all of a sudden, there’s just one person standing off on their own? And you’re thinking, and then that’s when you have an opportunity to engage in a whole different way.
Tom Poland 7:11
Thank you, Sir. So, 90 seconds left, three questions to go. So, I’ll keep moving forward. One valuable free action is like a top tip, that’s not going to solve the whole problem, but it might take them a step in the right direction. That’s question five.
Mark Donnigan 7:25
Okay, it is, clearly define the problem that you solve. I would say, just clearly define it, name it. And then every opportunity you have to talk about your solution, don’t talk about your product, talk about the problem you solve.
Tom Poland 7:39
The problem and the solution. Perfect. Thank you. Great top tip, question six 60 seconds left, one valuable free resource where people who, the light bulbs are going off, they can go and get some more, a website, they can go to perhaps
Mark Donnigan 7:52
Go to my website, growthstage.marketing, and I’m sure we’ll link up to it. At the very top navigation, you will see category design. Yeah, click that and there’s a nice little PDF that a lot of founders have found really helpful to guide you through this process.
Tom Poland 8:10
Beautiful! growthstage.marketing, find the category design link and download it and consume. 25 seconds left, so what’s the one question I should have asked you but didn’t?
Mark Donnigan 8:21
Why in the world I got into marketing?
Tom Poland 8:24
Then in less than 15 seconds, why did you get into marketing?
Mark Donnigan 8:28
I’m a sales guy that started programming computers when I was 12, figured out that I wanted to be a rock star went to music school, and so sales and marketing creativity. That’s why I’m here.
Tom Poland 8:41
Perfect, knocked out again. Thanks so much for your time.
Mark Donnigan 8:45
Tom Poland 08:45
Thanks for checking out our Marketing The Invisible podcast. If you like what we’re doing here please head over to iTunes to subscribe, rate us, and leave us a review. It’s very much appreciated. And if you want to generate five fresh leads in just five hours then check out www.fivehourchallenge.com.