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Category leaders disrupt their target industries by redefining the metrics and KPIs used to benchmark success. The process starts by investing heavily in projects that make early adopters successful. Once the desired outcome has been achieved, category leaders get their early adopter customers to become evangelists for their vision. They invest to get the customers on the public stage to promote the benefits that can be realized with a new approach. These early successes are then used as a springboard for a broader public relations campaign.

Category leaders succeed by pointing out the inherent limitations and challenges of the status quo. They publish research studies, KPIs, and industry benchmarks that quantify and expose the under-performance, spend leakage, and missed revenue opportunities in their target markets. They then seek out the attention of the media, analysts, investors, and other influencers in a market, which they use as a communications channel to propagate the message into the market.

Once the concept is established in the market, senior executives begin to react quickly with a “Fear of Missing Out” mentality.

illustration of success metrics KPIs for saas company

Five Ways Category Leaders Redefine Success

There are five best practices that category leaders use to help redefine success:

1) Benchmark Case Studies

Category leaders actively recruit early adopters as evangelists to share their case studies in the market. Getting a customer to speak at a high-profile industry conference raises visibility for the new vision and establishes proof the business improvements can be realized.

2) Key Performance Indicators

Category leaders re-frame their customer’s vision of success by defining new performance metrics for growth, customer success, cost savings, or employee productivity.

3) Maturity Model

Category leaders help companies benchmark their performance towards the new vision of success by publishing maturity models. The model become the foundation for the category leader’s sales and marketing efforts. Your company is only a 4 out of 10, but if you were a 9 you would gain the following advantages.

4) Industry Benchmarks

Category leaders find a way to rank companies performance against their new success benchmarks. Once the ranking is published they use public relations strategies to get news coverage. Soon top executives are asking – why are we ranking on this metric that is all over the news?

5) Awards Programs

Category leaders institute formal award programs that recognize individual heroes, all-star teams, or trend-setting companies. They create visibility to the awards with marketing strategies such as a public call for nominations, recruiting high-profile judges, and hosting announcement ceremonies to crown the winners.

Steve Keifer

Steve Keifer has led marketing and product management teams at seven different SaaS and cloud providers ranging from venture-backed, early-stage startups to multi-billion, publicly traded companies - including several that experienced hypergrowth, filed IPOs, and reached unicorn status. In Bantrr, Steve shares many of the best practices and lessons learned from building and scaling marketing organizations. Topics include new category creation, brand development, and demand generation.

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