Lately, I’ve received some consulting inquiries where companies are asking for help with positioning and messaging. While that’s definitely an area of interest and passion, my business model is advice-as-a-service (AaaS) — I work with a smaller set of companies, on a broader set of issues, over a longer period of time. So I’m not really looking for such consulting projects myself.
Thus the purpose of this post is to offer a little quick advice on the subject and then refer readers to three people I’d recommend to help with positioning and messaging in enterprise software.
- Read How to Develop a Marketing Message
- Read Product is Not a Four-Letter Word
- Read The Two Archetypal Marketing Messages
- Read the classic book, Positioning, by Al Ries and Jack Trout
- Read the current, hot book, Obviously Awesome, by April Dunford
The three people I’d call for help with positioning would be:
- Crispin Read, the single best positioning and messaging person with whom I’ve ever worked. With a scalpel of a marketing mind, he’s not going to tell you what you want to hear, but he will cut through the junk in your thinking and distill your message to its essence. I’m not sure how much consulting he’s doing these days because he’s trying to drive scale with his product marketing community (PMMHive) and Product Marketing Edge. But I’d ping him.
- Jeffrey Pease, who runs a NY-based consulting business, Message Mechanics. Like Crispin, he was on the marketing team at Business Objects back in the day, and he is very, very good at messaging. He popped up back in my life via Bluecore who was droning on about this messaging wizard they loved working with — only for me to discover that I’d worked with him in the past. Testimonials on Jeffrey’s website include Bluecore, Coupa, Veeva, and well, Crispin (when he was at Microsoft). So it’s really all just one big, happy positioning family.
- April Dunford. This one’s slightly premature — as I’ve not yet finished her book and haven’t worked with her yet. But based on the part of the book I’ve read, her Twitter feed, and her work with related portfolio companies and PE sponsors, I am simply certain that we are kindred positioning spirits and that I’m going to love working with her — as we’re slated to do in upcoming months with one of my portfolio companies.
Good luck, happy positioning, and keep it simple out there.
I am a great fan of your blog and have been following you for over a year now.
As always, a great post. I’ve been in technology marketing for almost 20 Yrs. now and have red every positioning book under the sun. April’s book is hands down one of the best, so much so, I also did her did her masterclass and wasn’t disappointed! Her pragmatic approach and clarity of thought on the subject is excellent and therefore she is also my go-to when it comes to Positioning. Great Recommendation & thanks for sharing!
Thanks Dave, appreciate the recommendation! My work in messaging started with you at Business Objects and Crispin and I have continued to employ each other for years. So, it really has been one big positioning family! Looking forward to reading April’s book. I already love it for having “Obvious” in the title!
Great to hear from you, let’s catch up in NY in the Fall.
I’m grateful for the kind words, Dave. And yes, still consulting with Product Marketing Edge. It is always a pleasure to work on positioning projects with Jeffrey.
I didn’t get a chance to meet April Dunford yet. I very much enjoy her book – even her momentary lapse of reason in the section entitled “why you should never create a positioning statement”.
See reference to “scalpel mind” — awesome.