True market leaders own, define and/or lead market categories. Think about the Apple’s, Netflix’s and Airbnb’s of the world. They disrupted competitive and dynamic markets, intentionally created new and innovative categories in markets where technology was forcing change – and the results have been extremely prosperous.

Marketers should be REALLY excited about this because it’s not easy to stand out in crowded digital platforms – and it’s getting harder to bring new people in. Consumers are wary of filling out online forms with fears of being hounded with product promotions. They are much more selective about who they interact with and in many cases, they already know what they want.

However, with a category that is supported by a solid industry-focused narrative, not only does the marketing team have a fresh perspective to share with their audience, but they can engage in a much more meaningful way. Category leaders understand industry pain points and they work to solve customer needs by bettering the entire industry. They create the movements that push floundering industries into alignment.

For marketers, category leadership offers new leads and customers a clear vision of who they are and what they want to accomplish. Here are five BIG reasons why every marketing leader should promote category leadership:

  1. The shine factor: Category leaders don’t need to share market space, because they have defined a new one of their own. They talk different – like true leaders, and that is why they stand out. These companies have something authentic to offer and will catch the attention of influencers and potential customers.
  2. The altruistic qualities: A market category is not about promoting the company itself. Sure, the company likely offers a product or service that supports the category, but there is a much bigger picture at play. Category leaders aren’t afraid to call out industry challenges, misperceptions and trends while providing a vision for advancing the industry and bettering it for EVERYONE. That includes customers, influencers and competition. This is what allows marketers to establish a much more fulfilling connection with their audience.
  3. Live on the edge and bring others with you: Category leaders lead the industry forward and to the future by addressing the trends and paying attention to where things are headed. They look at the long-term solutions for the industry-at-large. Marketers are then empowered to be bold. Not only can they share a better vision for the industry, but they can bring their audience with them.
  4. It’s attractive: Category leaders have a magnetic force on an industry and the next thing you know the competition is talking about the same things. This is a good thing for marketers. Not only is it flattering, but your company will go down as the driver for advancing the industry.
  5. It bridges the gaps: Category building connects teams. When a company owns an industry category, every employee within the company gets a clear focus on what the company stands for and where it’s heading. When everyone in the company knows where they are headed, teams like marketing and sales can be in sync and chase after the same goals. It’s an effective forcing function for communication and partnership.

The good news for startups, and even tenured companies of the world, is that every organization has the opportunity to own or define an industry category. Category ownership enables marketers to engage with their audience in a way that builds stronger connections and offers a vision that meets the big needs.

This is why we share so much about Strategic Narrative Marketing. It is THE step-by-step approach that helps business leaders look upward, identify the industry trends, needs and perceptions, and then create a category that elevates the company to a new level.

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