My guest today is April Dunford, a Product Marketing and Positioning expert. She’s also the author of the best-selling book, Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It. She is also the founder and CEO of Ambient Strategy, a boutique consulting firm that specializes in positioning for technology companies.
In this episode, we discuss how positioning is a crucial element of every product and how bad positioning can have a devastating effect on your roadmap. We talk about the benefit of product management working closely with product marketing (especially at the beginning of the innovation journey), how companies should implement and execute their positioning strategy, and how to begin to create a cohesive product strategy that can generate value and money.
This is a fun and insightful episode that no product leader should miss!
Episode Details: How Great Positioning Leads to Great Roadmaps (and Not the Other Way Around) with April Dunford:
“One of the first things I teach people is that everybody’s got to own positioning. … Because positioning impacts everything we do. It’s going to impact what we’re doing in product, it’s going to impact what we’re doing in sales, in marketing, … customer success — it impacts a lot of things.” — April Dunford
About April Dunford:
April is an experienced startup executive with a deep interest in how companies bring new offerings to market and get them into the hands of customers that are willing to pay for them. She has deep expertise in market positioning and has launched 16 products into the market. She has experience in creating new markets, expanding markets, and positioning new products in existing established markets.
April has held executive roles in a series of successful startups as CEO, COO, VP Marketing, and VP Marketing and Sales. She has also held executive roles at global companies such as IBM, where she launched and grew a new product division.
Additionally, April is the CEO of Ambient Strategy, a boutique consulting firm that specializes in positioning for technology companies. Through this, she has worked with over 200 companies across the globe, helping them grow faster by ensuring their offerings are clearly differentiated in the market.
Topics We Discuss in this Episode:
About April’s career background and the work that she does today
About her book, Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It
The impetus of what got her interested and invested in positioning
Why positioning is so fundamentally important for the marketing of your product
The differences between market categories vs. trends (and what makes good ones vs. bad ones)
Why you don’t have to be trendy in order to sell product
How to create a cohesive product strategy that can generate value and money
How to better structure the relationship between product management and product marketing
The scope that positioning covers and why everyone needs to be involved
Key components of positioning and what you need to consider as a product leader
How to have conversations about positioning on all levels of the organization
How to mitigate positioning challenges before they happen
How to get your whole organization aligned with the positioning
How to execute on your positioning throughout the lifecycle of your roadmap
Advice for leaders who are new at defining and executing a positioning strategy
Product Leader Tip of the Week:
You have to create your positioning strategy deliberately. A good product leader should be open to the idea that there are other ways to contextualize what they do beyond databases. You also need to have a structured process. If it is not structured, you will not be able to get a good result.