Market temperature can be confusing to some but is vital to understand in order to strategize accordingly for the type of market you’re in. Marketing legend Dave Kellogg has always been an advocate for reductionism and simplicity in marketing; he refers to competitive markets as hot markets.
In this PMM Hive Talk with Dave Kellogg, Crispin Read, founder of PMM Hive, interviewed Dave Kellogg to uncover some of his tips for marketing success in a hot market as well as notable mistakes to avoid.
1. Knowing You’re in a Hot Market.
The first rule of hot markets: “if you’re in one, you don’t ask the question.” People tend to be optimistic, wondering if they may be in a hot market. Chances are, if you have time to ask yourself that, you aren’t.
A Kellogg-defined hot market is “essentially a land grab.” Recognizing when you are in a hot market is necessary when thinking about strategy.
Avoid: Making the false assumption that a market is turning cold or maturing when it’s not.
2. Dave Kellogg Marketing: Answering the Right Question
In a hot market, customers will be calling you up asking “I need this product. Should I buy yours, or someone else’s?” This is a very different question than “why should I buy this product?” If the customer is asking you why they should buy your product, you need to answer that question. If you keep answering their question with the wrong answer, they will end up buying the product from someone else. Avoid the triple qualification. Don’t make a potential buyer jump through hoops to demo your product. Get them talking to a sales person and show them the product quickly if that’s what they want to see.
Avoid: Misunderstanding the question. In a hot market, the fundamental question is “I’m going to buy this product, why should I buy yours?”
3. Winning the Axe Battle
Dave Kellogg has described differentiation as an axe battle, with each potential vendor taking swings against their competition, trying to convince the customer that your differentiation matters to them.
Differentiation is a major key to succeeding in a hot market. Sellers must excel at highlighting differentiators between their products and their competitors’; emphasizing the unique qualities their product offers over the other. And, most importantly, why those are relevant to the buyer. This strategy goes beyond explaining why your product is different. It’s all about exposing the reasons those differences are important to the customer.
Positioning for Advantage is a framework for messaging and positioning that is well-suited to B2B technology companies that are challengers in a competitive market. The framework emphasizes competitive differentiation as the anchor to product positioning. It is a proven framework that has been used by many of the world’s most successful technology companies. Positioning for Advantage online training course is available now.
The key to winning an axe battle is building a good message. Understanding why customers buy your product is more important than why you think they should buy your product, or what the founder likes about the product. Once you have this 3-5 point message, the priority should be sales training and sales enablement. Articulate your differentiators clearly.
Avoid: Avoid talking haphazardly about features. Customers will see you as all being the same.
Being in a hot market can be exciting, but the products won’t sell themselves. In the wise words of Dave Kellogg, “hot markets are great provided you can execute a hot market strategy.”
You can find more insightful articles on Dave’s own website kellblog.com. Stay tuned for a follow up article about what marketing is like in a cold market, and join PMM Hive here to start a conversation, ask questions, and receive updates on new content!