Category Design 101: End Of Year 2022 Q&A
Your most-pressing category design questions, answered publicly.
Dear Friend, Subscriber, and Category Pirate,
In November 2022, we created & released the first FREE Category Design 101 email course.
Day 1: The Category Is The Strategy
Day 2: Using Category Science To Discover Breakthrough Opportunities
Day 3: Framing, Naming, and Claiming A New Problem In The World
Day 4: The Magic Triangle Of Product, Company, And Category
Day 5: How To Avoid The “Better” Trap
Day 6: The 8 Category Levers Of Radical Differentiation
Day 7: Executing A Lightning Strike Marketing Event To Launch Your New Category
We’re very excited about this email course because, as far as we know, it’s the first text-based “course” on the subject of Category Design (and we felt it was important to give it away for free). And second, because the principles apply to anyone in any kind of business—whether you are a solopreneur/digital creator, the founder of a Silicon Valley startup, or VP, Director, or C-level executive at a large company looking for your next billion-dollar growth opportunity.
When you opt-in for the course, we ask you (after the first email) two questions:
What type of business are you applying Category Design to?
And what is your biggest question about Category Design at your current stage?
We love seeing the questions people ask because it gives us insight into how we can help you become a legendary Category Designer. And into what sorts of mini-books & weekly Category Design Tips we can share so these frameworks not only “stick” and make sense, but get your business out of “competition” land and into creation paradise.
So, to wrap up 2022, we thought it would be fun to recap some of the questions that have come through and answer them publicly so everyone can learn from them.
(We are also thinking of launching a paid, private community in 2023 where members can ask all their Category Design questions and get direct answers from us. If you’d be interested in this, can you please comment, “LET ME ON THE PIRATE SHIP!!!” on this mini-book so we can gauge interest?... We’re only going to do it, if you want us to!)
Let the Category Design Q&A begin.
1. “How do I design a category for a service most people don't know anything about or understand?” –Pirate Nancy
By definition, Category Design is about educating the world on something that doesn’t exist or isn’t commonly understood. This means educating people on something they don’t know anything about—yet. (That’s what puts you in the demand creation business, as opposed to the demand capture business.)
For example, in our mini-book, How To Create A Category As A Small “e” Entrepreneur, we tell the story of Daversa Partners. In the early 2000s, the founder, Paul Daversa (a friend of Pirate Christopher’s) faced this same problem. His headhunting firm was largely undifferentiated. He and his team were great at sales and recruiting, but getting business required a lot of individual sales. They had no “message” they could scale to attract business beyond convincing each person individually. And as a result, the company was stuck in a constant comparison conversation with all the other headhunting firms out there.
The ah-hah came when Pirate Christopher helped Paul Daversa realize his firm was already differentiated—it just hadn’t made that “different” explicit and educated people on its benefits.
(This is true for most companies and entrepreneurs, by the way. Chances are, you already do things that are “different,” you just take them for granted or don’t think they’re “special.” When really, those are the things you should be spotlighting and telling the world about.)
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