Mark Organ’s 6 Rules of Category Creator Go-to-Market

Follow these rules, and your category can be the rising tide that lifts your ship.

[Mark Organ, formerly co-founder and CEO of Eloqua and now co-founder and CEO of Influitive, recently joined us to share his ideas about creating new market categories. This is the third post that’s a direct outcome of his session. If you haven’t done so, I recommend reading How to define and dominate your billion dollar category first]

6 RulesCreating content when you’re at the leading edge of an emerging category is very different than creating content when everyone’s already convinced that your category is a real thing. Sure, you’ve got your own set of demand generation objectives, but first and foremost you have to nurture the category.

To help us out, Mark provided us with six clear rules about go-to-market for category creators.

Follow these rules, and your category can be the rising tide that lifts your ship.

[it turns out that Mark gave this same presentation at Dreamforce 2014, so you can follow along with the slides]

#1. Market the Category

First off, people need to know about your category and the needs that it fulfills well before they need to look at individual companies within that category. Promoting your category gets it in the prospect’s mindset and increases awareness, which is a first step towards them discovering your company.

At first, interest in the category itself tracks with interest in the category creator.

But after a while, a wonderful thing happens: interest in the category creator pulls away from interest in the category itself. This transition is visible about halfway through the two graphs in the image below.

Notice the two distinct stages within each graph.

Notice the two distinct stages within each graph.

Mark also warned us: “Don’t call yourself the leader; let your advocates do that.”

#2. Elevate the Under-Served Missionary

Recall that your category is defined by and built to serve the early outcasts who saw themselves as different. In Mark’s presentation, he refers to this group as the “under-served missionaries”, and as the category creator it is your job to elevate them to rockstar status.

Enable and genuinely celebrate their successes, make their lives easier, link them with like-minded folks, bring them into your customer forum…do whatever it takes to help them achieve group status and to have their voices be heard.

By doing so, you will create an environment in which they become a major force in growing your category and spreading the word of its virtues.

#3. Advocate Marketing: Create Powerful Word of Mouth

Mark has created a company around the concept of advocate marketing. This rule aligns very well with the previous one, but takes it one step farther: whereas elevating the under-served missionary is all about legitimizing and validating the category, advocate marketing shifts the focus a bit over to you and what you can do.

By identifying the folks who believe in you, and aligning with their motivations, you can turn them into your most powerful demand generation force.

#4. Influencer Marketing: Leverage Influencers to Recognize the Category

New categories get no respect. To change that, you’ll need to identify the influencers and convince them that your category is real.

So, who’s an influencer? Nowadays, influencers take many forms. Beyond industry analysts and media (both mainstream and topical), you’ll need to get the bloggers onboard.

From my own experience, I can tell you that trying to change an analyst’s mind is a tall order. So, um, good luck with that!

#5. Community Marketing: Enable Practitioners to Co-Own the Category

If you’re the only player in the category, or are perceived to be the only player, then people probably won’t think you have a real category. So, counterintuitive though it may be, you need to enable your competition to co-own the category.

How? Well, one way is to create a category forum or to run a category conference that covers issues in general, and you invite other practitioners to participate.

#6. Category Creator Business Development: Integrated Partners → Transformation Experience

Think: openness, APIs, partner enablement, hooks into other systems, etc.

The more players who depend on you or your data, the more folks you have on your side. Find the interested parties and help them integrate!

What they bring to the table will vastly extend your own solution, leading to a truly transformational experience for the user; plus, they’ll help you identify new opportunities for product extension.


Lee Brooks is the founder of Cromulent Marketing, a boutique marketing agency specializing in crafting messaging, creating content, and managing public relations for B2B technology companies.

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3 comments on “Mark Organ’s 6 Rules of Category Creator Go-to-Market
  1. […] done so, I recommend reading How to define and dominate your billion dollar category and Mark Organ’s 6 Rules of Category Creator Go-to-Market […]

  2. […] The Six Rules of Category Creator Go-to-Market […]

  3. […] So, what do you do if you find yourself at the forefront, trying to define a new category? We’ll explore that in The Six Rules of Category Creator Go-to-Market. […]

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