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, start-up 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 it. In our latest episode from the Growth Interviews series, April Dunford, expert in market positioning shares with us her many experiences and points out the fact that the first version of the product is just the beginning of a long journey.
A great product is not only a great idea that solves a lot of problems but it’s also the perception its customers have about it. There are great features in a new product but there are also redundant ones or even unwanted. No one knows from the sketch how the masterpiece will turn out in the end. Building great products means many times having a long conversations with the customers and minding their opinions and feedbacks.
In many cases, the original idea suffers many iterations and many times the original idea will morph into something nobody predicted. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to have a functional product, with 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 are the fixed mentalities of the entrepreneurs. Customers are changing, marketing is changing and competitors are coming out of thin air with strong products so, keeping a fixed idea about the product and the way it should look like is the worst enemy of a successful new product launching. In her vision, every entrepreneur from the digital world should keep an open mind about what the product might become.
Many times, while testing new products on the market, the ideas adapt to the market needs changing and evolving 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 best customers’ perspective on the product is the best way to find out what is the product’s main market differentiator is against the competition.
Everything about market positioning
April Dunford explained product positioning as the process marketing experts use to determine how to best communicate their products’ features to the target customers based on their determined needs, pressures from competition, available communication channels and personalised key messages.
In marketing and business strategy more specifically, market position refers to the consumer’s perception of a product in relation to other competing products. Critically important part of marketing strategy, the product market positioning determines to a large extent what customers perceive is being offered to them in terms of value as well as 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 start-ups 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 times working for or with a digital start-up is described as ‘a unique experience’. After working for more than 7 start-ups, April Dunford is a start-up veteran and her experience and advice are important for anyone thinking about starting to work for a digital-start-up. “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.“ Beside the fast paced environment of a start-up, April cherished the growth mentality, the team, the joyful spirit and the freedom, and shares them as unquestionable qualities for an extraordinary working experience.
eCommerce in 2020. Predictions from an expert
Direct to consumer means a brand or a producer is selling the products directly to the end customers without third-partys like retailers, wholesalers, or other middlemen, and for April Dunford this is the future. ‘I think direct 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 at 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. I think it’s a great sign. And it’s going to change everything. Not all sectors but particularly for consumer packaged goods, 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 an analysis of the market and the different sections the product can appeal to.
We hope you enjoyed our video interview with April Dunford!
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