When was the last time you clicked on a company blog post, opened a company newsletter, or listened to a corporate podcast and said to yourself, “Wow, I sure am glad I clicked on that!”?
It’s likely been a while.
And that’s because not much content today is actually worth reading. Unfortunately, many marketers today have caught Gary Vee-D, a “content disease” that leads creators and companies alike to believe the whole purpose of content creation is to “do it”—and to do it as often as possible. It doesn’t matter if it’s good or valuable.
Just say it loud and say it often.
As a result, creators and enterprises deploy “more content, more often” strategies. This is what we like to call content-free marketing. It’s the art of saying nothing, everywhere.
The opposite of this spray-and-pray content technique is category design marketing.
Category marketing is based on a radically different Point-of-View and is designed to make a very big impact—with one strike. It’s engineered to get people talking about what makes you different, all in an effort to make your POV stick and become their different too.
Here’s what this means for a variety of roles in the marketing world:
But this strategy is radically different from the brand marketing most marketers rely on.
It’s shocking how many smart MBAs, entrepreneurs, and marketers prioritize the brand BEFORE the category. Our name. Our logo. Our team. Our “mission statement.”
Well, here’s a fact: Categories make brands—not the other way around.
Let’s break down the difference.
Most marketers and branding experts believe the Big Brand Lie.
They say, “Let’s ignore the fact there is nothing unique about us, our product, or what we do for the world. Instead, let’s do some branding.” As if sprinkling some kind of magic dust on your “brand” (changing the colors, the font, the logo design, etc.) is going to drive a breakthrough in growth.
Branding, in reality, is about us.
Our name. Our logo. Our team. Our “mission statement.” Which means brand marketing is about screaming, “LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME!”
Whereas category marketing is about evangelizing a different outcome altogether.
In category marketing, the category and brand come together in some meaningful way for the customer, consumer, or user.
Categories are about customers, their problems, their opportunities, and their future—which means category marketing is about educating customers on a new and different solution that unlocks transformational outcomes by solving a specific problem.
So, if you are a marketer, we urge you to ask this very important question:
What are you DOING with your marketing?
Comparison marketing isn’t just bad marketing. It’s bad business strategy. (Remember: categories make brands, not the other way around).
If you’re ready to pursue a new and different path with category marketing, you’ll need a few fundamental category design frameworks.
Category design is an art and a science, and there are several in-depth frameworks category designers use to create and dominate a category. These include The Magic Triangle, the 8 Category Levers, and Category Science.
But as a marketer, these are the most important category design frameworks to know:
Marketers have a legendary opportunity to use category design to position their companies as category leaders and excel in their careers.
If you’re a marketer, CMO, creator, or entrepreneur who is ready to break out of legacy brand marketing, the category design frameworks are a good place to begin. To dive into the details of each framework, check out the in-depth explanations in our Category Pirates mini-books. For category design inspiration, take a look at our roundup of category design examples to see how Category Kings and Queens use these frameworks. Or pick up the category design book we wrote specifically for marketers who are ready to jump in.
We can’t wait to see what you can do with category design.