Friday, June 27, 2014

Positioning Your Product - Example of BuzzSumo and Content Marketing Software

As you develop a software product you become very aware of how people want to fit you into a category or type. This is understandable and largely desirable as it helps people understand what you do. Software can be conceptual and positioning helps avoid confusion and makes it easy for buyers to understand what your product offers. It also makes it easier for them to find you by searching for a known product category. Often people position by comparing themselves to others e.g. we are the eBay of industry x. The challenge is greater in new and fast changing markets and where you are creating something that doesn't obviously exist currently.

Our BuzzSumo software generates content insights by finding the most shared content for a topic, author or domain. In essence it finds content that resonates with audiences and also the influencers who amplify content in particular areas. The software has been referred to by people as a social search engine, an analytics tool and as content marketing software. The reality is it is all three but maybe it is best described as content marketing software.

The real difficulty of describing something as content marketing software is that the term is very new and covers a multitude of products. As the Google Trends chart below shows the volume of searches for 'Content Marketing Software' is growing and didn't really exist pre-2012. 

content marketing software search vol
As content marketing has grown in importance so has the number of people looking for and developing content marketing software. But what is content marketing software? This month we saw the publication of a new report The Content Marketing Software Landscape by the Altimeter Group. They found a very embryonic market split between very small companies (operating a freemium model within which one-third of their customers pay nothing for the service) and a small handful of giants namely Adobe, Oracle and

Altimeter identified over 110 different content marketing solutions which they split into use cases or categories as follows:

Forrester Research senior analyst Ryan Skinner has commented that at the most basic level, content marketing tools are replacing spreadsheets "as a means of tracking and coordinating simultaneous writing or content development projects." However, according to Ryan the content marketing software promise is far grander namely "helping marketers stay more “culturally informed” about which messages might resonate with their target audiences."

This 'grander promise' is contained within these five blocks:

Our BuzzSumo tool is all about this 'grander promise'. It is about creating insights that help marketers create content that resonates with their audience. It is important to have efficient workflow, scheduling and distribution systems but at the very heart of effective content marketing is creating and curating content that resonates with your audience.

As we move towards the launch of our paid product we are looking closely at the positioning of BuzzSumo and where we fit in this complex landscape. What we are very clear on is our focus on understanding what content works in any particular topic area i.e. what content resonates with audiences, the networks where this content gains most traction and how the content is amplified. All the advice is to stay focused and be good at one thing, we believe this is where our software excels and where we will focus.

We also know we have to be flexible, many successful products were started by companies for one purpose but were used by customers for different purposes. In some ways when you have a flexible product you gain from the creativity of your customers. In our case marketers may use it to find content that resonates but others may use it for influencer marketing or for competitive analysis. Journalists may use it for finding trending stories or staying informed through our content alerts. Some people already use it for content discovery and as an alternative to Google to find the most shared content in their area in the last week. 

We know the next few years will see many changes in the content marketing software landscape. Not least we will see significant consolidation, which is already happening through acquisitions and mergers. It does appear that partnerships will be key to thrive in a world that wants integrated solutions. We can see the potential for BuzzSumo results to be integrated with other software such as the ExactTarget Social Studio or Hootsuite. Other tools such as Kontera and Trendspottr already integrate with larger social suites. Lots to do and to think about....