If you’re looking for examples of the most common positioning mistakes in B2B software marketing, check out the eleven vendors who offer claims, billing and policy administration software for the insurance industry. Only two companies – EIS Group and Guidewire – are doing positioning right with asterisks. I’ll explain later in this competitive positioning assessment.
The rest of the players in the market for core insurance software fail to claim a position based on my assessment of their websites. They have no position for one of the following reasons:
- Rotating panels on the home don’t express a benefit, or if one panel does, it is not repeated on other rotating panels;
- Multiple claims stated throughout the site that compete with each other. Which claim is the position, if any of them?
- No benefit stated anywhere on the website;
- There’s no central theme to the website or consistent message. A one-time mention of a benefit that is never mentioned again is one of the most common mistakes made by B2B software and technology companies.
Here is a perceptual map that makes it easy to see how the vendors in this evaluation are positioned:
One mention of your positioning statement isn’t enough
Vitech is a perfect example of failure to repeat a product positioning statement. “Transformative insurance software” appears prominently at the bottom of Vitech’s product overview page, however, Vitech never explains how they are transforming and never mentions it again. Therefore Vitech has no position. That’s because consistency and repetition are the key to claiming a position. Read this blog about the importance of consistency and repetition in positioning effectively.
Rotating panels work against effective positioning
Six vendors use rotating panels on their home page and none are doing it right. This blog explains the downside to their use and how to use them properly. If you must use rotating panels, execute the same positioning statement on each one. Instead, Guidewire executes its position – “adapt and succeed” – on only one of four rotating panels. It’s a good, strong position that would be even more effective if it were used on all the rotating panels.
ISCS covers a lot in the five rotating panels on its home page including a new product announcement, a panel with a play on words – “Surepower innovation is much more than the core” – and two different claims on two different panels – adapt quickly and risk mitigation and peace of mind. It’s the shotgun approach to positioning which fails due to lack of consistency and repetition.
Six vendors forget buyers like benefits
An effective positioning statement explains what you do and why the target audience should care. It is a short, declarative sentence that states a benefit that solves the target’s No. 1 problem.
Many companies including the six in the evaluation make the mistake of thinking they are doing positioning when they explain what their product does. Wynsure and Innovation Group do a wonderful job of explaining what they do, but that leaves it up to the recipient to figure out the benefit. It’s much better to state the benefit clearly, using simple language.
Many software and technology companies must think that their target audience is really into and excited about technology. They tout it, but they never explain the benefit. In this evaluation, Duck Creek stands out as the company most proud of its technology. One way to avoid the technology trap is to test your positioning statement by asking “So what?” This blog explains the “So what?” test in more detail.
Avoid the benefit data dump
Two companies in this evaluation – Majesco and Adaptik – are classic examples of the approach that is based on the belief that if your throw enough benefits on the wall, some of them will stick. While this may be true to some extent, it doesn’t get Majesco or Adaptik a position in their market. Since the benefits that stick differ depending on the recipient’s frame of reference, which one of the benefits that sticks is the position?
None! That’s because the benefits that stick compete against each other. Read this blog about why you should avoid multi-claim positioning statements. Majesco makes these claims prominently – agility, speed, innovation, insight and transformation. Adaptik states two different positions on its website. “Sustainable growth” is the position on the home page. “Maximize profitability” is the position on the “About us” page. While my purpose is not necessarily to judge the effectiveness of a claim, “maximize profitability” is not a believable claim. That’s because there are too many factors beyond Adaptik’s control that affect profitability.
Even EIS Group isn’t quite doing positioning right
The EIS position – “Compete without constraint” – is executed throughout the website, which makes it more likely to stick in the target audience’s mind. It’s a strong position because it addresses a major pain point – legacy systems that constrain an insurance company’s ability to respond to competitive pressures.
But there’s at least four pages where EIS Group goes from perfection to imperfection by claiming to be “transformational.” On the “About us” page you’ll find a section about “We help transform businesses.” On the “Why EIS Group” page, you’ll find: “In today’s hyper-competitive insurance market, your business transformation is no longer a question of if, or even when…”
The problem with the use of transformation – explained in detail in this blog – is that it is overused and misused. Transform means to change from one form to another. This means that if EIS Group is helping transform an insurance company, it is going into another business. And that’s not what EIS is doing. It is helping clients do everything better and faster, which is not a transformation.
Despite its misuse of transformation, EIS Group is a good example of the way a positioning concept should be executed. It is either repeated verbatim or the idea is executed on many pages throughout the site. But it would be twice as effective if they used “compete without constraint” rather than transformation.