Category strike

The Magnificent Seven – the essential components of a first Category Strike

Written by Jonathan Simnett

A first Strike is the moment you reveal your new tech Category to the world. You’ll never get  another chance to do it, so it has to be planned and executed with precision to catch the market off guard and create maximum impact.

In a recent blog we talked about how to keep the team with you on your Category journey. So, assuming that has happened, and that you have agreed your Point of View, your Fro-Tos and the Personas you are targeting and overall Category Blueprint, what are the essential components of a Strike? 

Categorical’s Magnificent Seven

First. Coordination:  Don’t start planning for a Strike until you have appointed Strike leaders across disciplines in the company – these might be at board level or reporting directly to them – and the vital Strike coordinator.  The latter is one of the most important appointments you can make and provides a major career opportunity to anyone taking on the role.  Ensure, too, that the entire Strike team understands their individual functions and the vital importance of confidentiality in what they are doing. 

Second. Timing: Vitally important as it has to fit both with your company’s planning/financial year and when you could achieve maximum impact.  It’s not a good idea to Strike in the middle of the holiday season or in the run-up to major festivals when people’s minds might be on other things. Don’t spread your marketing resources thinly across the year, concentrate them on the Strike.

Third. Association: If you are aiming to change your sector, it’s a good idea to announce your Category at an industry event where, for instance, you could hold a reception for the audiences you want to address. You may also be able to secure a speaking slot and hold associated media interviews. If you can do this with industry partners, so much the better.

Fourth. Corroboration. As you approach the Strike date you may have engaged with an industry analyst that believes in your Categorisation.  Ensure they are on-hand for discussion, quotation etc and liaise with them about their plans for publicising materials they have created, ensuring that their timings are in lock step with yours. 

If you have engaged early ecosystem partners make sure they are similarly engaged. Use the power of social media using prepared narratives delivered by thought leaders in your company and partners so that messaging is consistent and hits home.

Fifth. Sales:  Ensure the sales teams are fully briefed on, and understand, the new Category and they have all the necessary decks and Q&As to be able take the Category to the customer.

Sixth. Feedback: Once the initial strike is completed, be sure to analyse what went well and what didn’t.  Be sure to tell your extended team the results in order to keep them on side and so that they can put into context what follows. 

Seventh. Follow up: Striking is part of a strategic process to establish and maintain Category leadership. It has to be a regular to evolve the Category discussion and keep ahead of responding competition. 

No one-hit wonder

Strike cannot be a one-hit wonder. As soon as one Strike is achieved, planning for the next one starts against an agreed Strike date.  

Successful strikes are about timing, coordination and ruthless execution.  As they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so focus the entire resources of the company on making it happen, getting noticed and prompting reaction and comment in the market.  

Find more discussion on how to effectively manage your first Strike and many other contentious Category issues on The Difference Engine podcast at 

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