How to position your company so customers think of you first

Posted on May 10, 2012 - 9:00 AM PST

This guide is based on Mixergy’s course with Sean Glass.

Sean Glass wasn’t converting his early beta customers, so he repositioned Higher One to make customers think of his company first and grew its value to as high as $1.3 billion after going public. It was all done using positioning and marketing techniques, so we invited him to teach you how to do it.

Sean is the founder of EmployInsight, which builds on-demand tools for hiring and performance management to help organizations build engaged workforces.

Here are the actionable highlights from the course.

1. Know your customer’s pain points to create solutions for them

Higher One initially offered checking and debit card services, but Sean discovered that what his clients really needed was a refund management system, so he began offering that instead and signed more customers.

Take Action:
Do surveys and meet with clients to know if your product is addressing their problems, and if it isn’t, then tweak it to become a solution.


2. Differentiate your product to attract more customers

Sean differentiated Higher One’s services from outsource check writing and coined it as “refund management,” which created a new market segment and attracted more customers.

Take Action:
Based on your customer’s pain points, create an easy-to-understand term that describes what your product does, define it, and use it to market your product.


3. Develop better solutions faster than competitors to crush the competition

Higher One beat out Sallie Mae, a competitor who spied on them and misled Sean about a possible partnership, by moving faster and offering solutions based on newer technologies.

Take Action:
Slug it out against competitors by acting on market trends and client feedback promptly to create a better product.


4. Know how clients use your product to improve your positioning

Sean had limited success marketing EmployInsight as HR technology, so he listened to feedback and positioned it as an employee management tool instead, which is what a lot of companies are looking for.

Take Action:
Conduct surveys and interviews to get feedback on how clients are using your products, and use it to change how you position your product.


5. Popularize the phrase tied to your product to build your brand

Sean encouraged clients to use the term “refund management” whenever they talked about Higher One at conferences, so that potential customers can just Google the term and find Higher One through the search results.

Take Action:
When clients tell you that they’ll be talking about your product at a conference, tell them to use the term you coined for it and offer to help by providing case studies.


6. Use testimonials to promote your products and gain credibility

Sean says Salesforce.com used testimonials to promote their products by setting up a Customer Success Stories tab on their website.

Take Action:
Ask clients for testimonials and feedback, then feature them on your website and on other promotional materials.


Want to make sure you get results?

Written by Hazel Chua, based on production notes by Jeremy Weisz

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