The Powered by Battery podcast features guests from inside and outside the Battery ecosystem discussing major tech issues of the day. Guests from the Battery portfolio in this season of the podcast represent a subset of business-software and enterprise-infrastructure companies, across investment stages and geographies, highlighting the trends of marketing tech; the broader use of big data and AI; productivity software; user experience; and healthcare software. If you’re interested in learning more about these companies, or others in the Battery portfolio, you can access more information here.
Do you run a technology company that doesn’t fit neatly into an existing tech category—say, CRM software, data analytics or collaboration tools? One that doesn’t get much analyst coverage (because analysts don’t know how to classify you) or attention from the press? Then congratulations: You might be creating a new category.
In this episode of Powered by Battery, Anthony Kennada, currently a Battery executive in residence and the former CMO of software company Gainsight*, walks marketers through the best practices for creating a brand-new tech category. It’s what he did at Gainsight, which pioneered the category of “customer success” software to help businesses hang onto—and upsell—customers paying through a recurring subscription model.
To Kennada, the key to creating a new tech category is content, content and more content. This includes events, whitepapers, blogs, webinars and other products to help promote your company’s new category. This has the added benefit of making your company the main, trusted source of information about the new sub-sector, potentially leading to sales. Kennada’s book on this topic is coming out in October.
- Often, communities of people working in your new category already exist before specific companies have sprung up to serve them. Find these communities—online or in person—and figure out their wants and needs. This will help you develop your product.
- Position your product, and category, around the specific people who need it. What is the specific business persona you’re targeting? How specifically can you help them?
- Create reams of content to help these people. Write e-books and blog posts and hold webinars, and then promote all this content through paid advertising. If you do enough of this, people searching for your specific term on Google (like “customer success”) will probably stumble upon your content, which uses this term.
- Written content and online interaction is still no substitute for in-person meetings. People have an innate need to connect with others live: Hold events to promote your new category, even if you’re organizing them remotely and no one from your company attends. This could help develop a community that you can tap for sales later.
- Measuring ROI on your marketing efforts will likely be challenging. Track metrics where you can, such as what percentage of your sales pipeline is coming from marketing; which pieces of content are driving the most traffic to your website; and trends in event attendance.
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The information above may contain projections or other forward-looking statements regarding future events or expectations. Predictions, opinions and other information discussed in this video are subject to change continually and without notice of any kind and may no longer be true after the date indicated. Battery Ventures assumes no duty to and does not undertake to update forward-looking statements.
*Denotes a Battery portfolio company. For a full list of all Battery investments, please click here.