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Position Your Product Like a Pro With Anthony Pierri

Have you ever wondered why all Cinnabon stores are located in high-traffic areas like malls and away from other restaurants? 

Well, that's because they have this genius marketing strategy to attract people with the smell of their product - cinnamon rolls. 🤤 And they understand that product placement plays a huge role in how people interact with it. 

The truth is people will only learn the value of your product or service if you position it well. 

But unfortunately, many people underestimate and ignore its importance. So, we reached out to Anthony Pierri, a product positioning expert, and asked him to share some nuggets of wisdom on how our audience can position their product across their marketing platforms.    

Anthony has helped many early-stage SaaS companies position their products better, effectively communicate what value they offer, and increase conversion rates through website marketing.

So, let’s get started with the interview. 

1. To begin with, we’d like to know a little more about you. So, please tell us when and how you started taking an interest in product positioning and realized that’s your jam.

A few years back, I was working at an agency that worked with early-stage startups. We started to realize that the way a startup positioned itself affected so many things — product strategy, go-to-market strategy, etc. I became obsessed! And that is how this story began…

2. What advice would you give to SaaS marketers in regard to crafting their messages in a way that helps prospects choose your product/service over other alternatives?

If you have chosen a specific group, you want to determine what "use case" they are trying to accomplish. And not just that, you also have to find the "current ways" they accomplish that use case. 

Likely, there will be problems with their approach that are solved by your product or service. The best way to help them choose your product is by showing, making it obvious to them, how the features/capabilities of your product improve on the limitations of the current ways they attempt to complete a specific use case.

3. Suppose someone’s designing a landing page. What type of features or capabilities do you think should be highlighted in the hero section?

This all depends on how specific you are willing to go. If you narrow down to one use case, you potentially will shrink the audience that will resonate with your page, but you will exponentially increase the likelihood that you resonate with that smaller group. 

On the flip side, if you talk about multiple different use cases, you will increase the size of the potential audience but also lower your resonance across each different group. 

You need to find the smallest level you are comfortable with and then highlight the relevant features/capabilities that show how you help them accomplish that use case.

4. You’re a firm advocate of “being relentlessly focused on the customer.” How should marketers address multiple personas and use cases?

If you're an early-stage startup, this usually means choosing one persona and one use case (and going through the Lean Startup process of launching an MVP and pivoting when needed). 

Once you've nailed the single persona/single use case, you can expand to others using your initial success. To be relentlessly focused on multiple customer segments at once requires having entire teams dedicated to each segment (i.e., product teams, go-to-market teams, etc., for each customer type.)

5. You once shared, “Your messaging will land better by explaining how it solves a specific pain point — not general aspirational longings.” Would you elaborate on this for our readers?

As Bob Moesta says, "Struggling moments create space in the brain for your solution to exist." If there is no struggling moment, there's no urgency to shop. 

For example, if you're a password management software, you have more of a chance of landing a new customer who has recently been locked out of the software (from forgetting a password) than one who is looking to "be more secure." 

It's similar to the vitamin/painkiller dynamic. People buy painkillers more often than vitamins because the pain itself drives action.

6. When it comes to designing or writing content for your SaaS product, should one go for the entertainment-style approach? If yes, then to what extent?

I think the more entertaining your content, the better! Obviously, you want to find the right type of "entertainment" that matches the target audience. Some industries and roles will respond better to memes, while others won't.

7. You once mentioned that SaaS marketers should use the word capabilities more. Please elaborate on the benefits of doing so.

People often think they should message the "outcome" (or "benefit) of using their product - which is why so many websites say things like "increase your revenue," "save time," etc. But these outcomes are meaningless unless you first explain where your product fits in a functional "use case." 

"Capabilities" are the bridge to making this jump. If you take a single "feature" of a product, the "capability" is what someone does with that feature. 

If you combine multiple capabilities, you can show how they help someone accomplish a functional use case. For example, Feature ("password vault") —> Capability ("store your passwords") —> Benefit ("so you never forget them again")

8. What are your top 3 product positioning tips?

To position a product better, one needs to: 

1. Choose a specific department and company type (if you've created a vertical solution) 

2. Choose a hyper-specific use case (if you've created a horizontal solution) 

3. Make your positioning abundantly clear in the hero of your website. 

9. What must-have design elements should marketers include in their SaaS emails or landing pages? Also, how should they place it? 

The hero message of a landing page, at minimum, must include: 

1. What is the product? 

2. What use case(s) does this product address? 

If there are multiple use cases, you should include which group is likely to have these use cases. I would also recommend (almost always) sharing screenshots or GIFs of your actual product.

10. What’s your biggest challenge when communicating with clients from early-stage SaaS founders?

Many early-stage SaaS founders are cautious about their products in the early stages, so they constantly try to market and sell the future. But this is a mistake because people don't buy your future product — they buy (or don't buy) what you have today. 

You are much better off being honest about today's product and sharing exactly why (and how) someone should use it.

11. What one trend should SaaS marketers look out for in 2024?

People look more and more for opinionated software — make sure you have a distinct point of view in how you approach a specific use case (i.e., "everyone does this use case wrong — here's how we do it differently and why that's better for you.")

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In Summary

To position your product like a pro, you must put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and think about the areas you would pay more time and attention to.

Then, place your most valuable resources accordingly.  

Also, try to incorporate Anthony’s valuable insights into your product positioning strategies. These tips and tricks can easily skyrocket the conversion rate of your product by marketing it effectively. 

Before you go, let us know who you’d like us to interview next in the comments section below. 



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