In this week’s episode of Growth Interviews, we invite you to join our podcast conversation with April Dunford, marketing strategy consultant, a passionate market positioning expert and digital start-ups mentor.
Welcome to Growth Interviews!
Welcome to Growth Interviews, the fun, stimulating and engaging series of conversations driven by digital business growth. Our mission is to provide valuable insights from the eCommerce arena, and each episode is a fascinating quest into the best-kept business secrets and money-making strategies of an insightful world-class expert.
Author of the book “Obviously Awesome – How to Stand out in Noisy Crowded Markets”, April Dunford is an experienced startup executive with a deep interest in how companies bring new offerings to market. She has deep expertise in market positioning and has launched 16 products into the market. April has held executive roles in a series of successful startups as CEO, COO, VP Marketing and VP Marketing and Sales and also held executive roles at global companies such as IBM where she launched and grew a new product division.
There is no better talk about product positioning than the one we had with April Dunford. She shares a lot of insights that will inspire you in better understanding how to put digital products better in the market.
Here are the biggest takeaways:
- The struggle of companies in acquiring new customers – 00.40
- The way to change the founders’ fixed mentalities – 02.34
- The new book on positioning methodologies – 06.31
- Working with start-ups. The excitement of new possibilities – 08.05
- Advice from an expert consultant – 09.17
- A vision of the future of eCommerce – 10.38
How to stop wasting resources in customer acquisition
There is a lot of passion that comes with creating and launching new products. In the digital world, startup founders have a definite and clear idea about what they want to do and what their products should look and feel like, and they put all their energy in developing this. In our latest episode from the Growth Interviews series, market positioning expert April Dunford shares her many experiences with us, and points to the fact that the first version of a product is but the beginning of a long journey.
A great product is not only a great idea that solves a lot of problems but also the perception its customers have of it. There are great features in a new product but there are also redundant or unwanted ones. No one can know from the preliminary sketch how the masterpiece will look at the end. Building great products means many long conversations with customers and heeding their opinions and feedback. In many cases, the original idea undergoes a great many changes, and often morphs into something nobody predicted. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to have a functional product, with a clear unique selling proposition that is quickly adopted and welcomed in the market.
Changing fixed mentalities in digital entrepreneurship
While consulting her customers, April Dunford understood that one of the biggest challenges is the fixed mentalities of the entrepreneurs. The customers are changing, marketing is changing, and competitors are appearing out of thin air with strong products. Holding onto a fixed idea about the product and the way it should look, is the worst enemy of a successful new product launch. In April’s vision, every entrepreneur from the digital world should keep an open mind about what the product might become in the future.
Many times, while testing new products on the market, ideas adapt to changing market needs and evolve into something that was not initially planned. The most important thing is to respond properly to what the best customers want and need, and to recreate the product as many times as necessary until it is a perfect market fit. Using the most loyal customers’ perspective on the product is the best way to find out what the product’s main market differentiator is against the competition.
Everything about market positioning
April Dunford explained product positioning as the process that marketing experts use to determine how to best communicate their products’ features to the target customers, based on identified needs, pressures from the competition, the available communication channels, and personalised key messages.
More specifically, in marketing and business strategy, market position refers to the consumer’s perception of a product in relation to other, competing products. A critically important part of marketing strategy, a product’s market positioning determines to a large extent what customers perceive is being offered to them in terms of both value and added value.
Effective product positioning ensures that marketing messages resonate with target consumers and compel them to take any type of action that involves the product.
Digital start-ups: the excitement of new possibilities
Digital startups do have a totally different work mentality from any other type of company out there. They are buzzing with knowledge, inspiration and imagination and, most of the time, working for or with a digital startup is described as ‘a unique experience’. After working for more than seven startups, April Dunford is a startup veteran, and her experience and advice are important for anyone thinking about going to work for a digital-startup. “It’s fun in the way that everything feels like an emergency and everything is like life or death, to do or die. But, it’s stressful.“ As well as the fast-paced environment of a startup, April has cherished the growth mentality, the team, the joyful spirit and the freedom, and she shares them as unquestionable qualities for an extraordinary working experience.
eCommerce in 2020: predictions from an expert
Direct to consumer means that a brand or a producer is selling the products directly to the end customers without third-parties such as retailers, wholesalers, or other middlemen. For April Dunford, this is the future. “I think direct-to-consumer is super exciting, and I love that we’re seeing this trend of brands that used to rely on a channel, trying to go straight to their consumers, and I think everybody’s going to benefit from that. I think it’s good for consumers. I think it’s good for the brands. I think it’s good for everybody. So, direct-to-consumer is, I think, a great sign. And, it’s going to change everything. Maybe not for all sectors, but for consumer packaged goods in particular, it’s going to change everything.”
In an age where consumers have vastly increased information and choice, a product must be marketed to specific groups, with a clear identity that highlights its benefits to the intended consumer. Product positioning is most successful after market analysis of the different sections to whom the product can appeal.
We hope you enjoyed our video interview with April Dunford!
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