Category Design Tip: When You Can’t Create Net-New Demand, DAM The Demand
How to use the momentum of a legacy category to your advantage.
Dear Friend, Subscriber, And Category Pirate,
This week’s Category Design Tip acknowledges that creating demand out of thin air sounds hard and risky.
Which is why a “DAM the Demand” strategy is so powerful.
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When You Can’t Create Net-New Demand, DAM The Demand
As we shared in our mini-book, How To DAM The Demand, a DAM the Demand strategy interrupts customers when they are shopping and educates them on the advantages of heading in a new and different direction.
It is not a product-to-product comparison.
There is no sales pitch.
No shouting match or “Pick me! Pick me!”
Instead, it raises an urgent question in the customer’s mind: “I thought I wanted X, but maybe what I really need is Y?” This question creates a gap. And it’s the perfect opportunity to educate customers on the differences between the old category and the new one you are creating.
Once there, you need to take 3 steps to DAM the Demand:
Step 1: Tell the truth about the existing category by placing a differentiating word in front.
The modification tells customers “this is different” while piquing their interest in the new, re-designed version of the existing category.
It’s not a car. It’s an electric car.
It’s not a watch. It’s a smart watch.
It’s not a desk. It’s a treadmill desk.
This framework becomes even more powerful when the modifier hints at one of the most commonly accepted pain points of the legacy category.
Step 2: Fine-tune the modifier so that it doesn’t highlight just an issue with the product, but an issue with the fundamental business model of the legacy category.
Let’s use Netflix as an example.
“Windowing,” the opposite of binge-watching, was the model legacy network TV business used to release new episodes. It required viewers to revolve their schedules and lives around showtimes. But in 2013, Netflix released the entire season of House of Cards all at once.
With “binge-watching,” Netflix put the viewer at the center of its business model—driving a stake through the heart of the legacy category’s business model.
It was only a matter of time before the legacy media world began to unravel.
Step 3: Once you’ve DAMed the demand, educate customers on the differences between the old category and this new and different category.
The way you do this is by tapping into your Superconsumers.
These Supers are the ones who adopt your different POV and then evangelize your new category point of view using the language you gave them. They are literally saying the old category’s name with the new modifier. This is word-of-mouth marketing at its finest.
When this happens, exponential growth is unlocked.
But to win the new category, you need to determine the rules of the game.
Learn exactly what that looks like in our mini-book, “How To DAM The Demand: Redesign Your Category, Take 76% Of The Market, And Leave Your Competition Wondering What Happened.”
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❄️ Snow Leopard: How Legendary Writers Create A Category Of One
⚒️ The Category Design Toolkit: Beyond Marketing: 15 Frameworks For Creating & Dominating Your Niche
📣 A Marketer's Guide To Category Design: How To Escape The "Better" Trap, Dam The Demand, And Launch A Lightning Strike Strategy
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Another excellent post, Pirates. I fear that the hard times ahead will force marketers (and businesses) to rely on the differentiation/comparison game rather than the distinction/category languaging game proposed here. Many would find greater success using the latter. Thanks for sharing - @BowTiedCoquito