Dominate a Category Through Education, Not Sales

Book Writing

Here’s a transcript of an interview I did with Chris Lochhead, the Godfather of category design. The interview is a key part of my upcoming book, but I wanted to share it with you now so you can start thinking about writing your own category creation book.

Here’s my interview with Chris.

Christopher Lochhead, Chief Category Pirate: To Succeed Today, You Must Become a Thought Leader

Christopher Lochhead, one of the Category Pirates
Christopher Lochhead, one of the Category Pirates

The future of marketing lies in designing a category through thought leadership and educating people about problems, rather than simply marketing products.

The key to changing the status quo and dominating a category is through education, not persuasion or sales. By educating people about a new way of doing things, companies can shape the future and create a lasting impact.

Legacy marketing strategies have become less effective, and relying solely on SEO and Facebook ads is insufficient. The key is to understand why people search on Google in the first place, as they are already educated by that point.

To succeed in today’s market, one must establish themselves as an acknowledged thought leader and adopt an educator posture rather than a marketing one. This requires educating people through content, which has been a fundamental method of teaching since the beginning.

Have a Radically Different Category POV

In our digitally native world, winning requires having a radically different category point of view that is effectively communicated through content and community. Community is crucial because word-of-mouth remains the most influential form of marketing, yet many marketing plans fail to acknowledge its significance.

Content is the primary marketing strategy today, and being a successful author or podcaster can have a transformative impact. The recognition and credibility associated with being a published author or having a highly ranked podcast can open doors and change perceptions.

Purpose, Gina Nianchini

Gina Bianchini, a respected entrepreneur and founder of Mighty Networks, recently wrote the book “Purpose” that is generating significant buzz. The impact of a book extends beyond its readership, as being a successful book author can enhance one’s reputation and influence. It is predicted that companies without a Mighty Network (a community-building platform) in the next five years will be comparable to companies without websites.

Thomas Siebel and the Invention of the CRM Category and the Enterprise AI Category

​In the 1990s, Tom Siebel wrote a book called “Virtual Selling” to launch the CRM category. He succeeded in doing so.

He founded a company about 10 years ago called C3.AI, aiming to create the category of enterprise AI. To support this, he commissioned Nikhil Krishnan, Ph.D. Group Vice President of Products at C3.AI and former McKinsey consultant and Columbia University professor, to write the book titled “Enterprise Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for Managers

Similarly, Peter Thiel wrote “Zero to One” to position himself as a different category of investor, offering insights on building a rapidly growing monopoly. Reed Hoffman wrote “Blitzscaling” and hosts “Masters of Scale” because he is a venture capitalist and wants to be recognized as the scale guy…

…A legendary category designing CEO plays a significant role in evangelizing a category, introducing new language and concepts.

Publish a Book, Go On a Podcast Tour

Having a book allows for a podcast book tour, and the quality of the book and the author’s performance on podcasts determines their upward trajectory.

The mention of Joe Rogan brings up an interesting point. “Follow Your Different” (my podcast) is a successful podcast, albeit on a different scale compared to Joe Rogan’s massively popular show.

However, being on “Follow Your Different” can pave the way for authors to subsequently appear on Rogan’s podcast. This phenomenon has occurred numerous times, with authors noting that their appearance on “Follow Your Different” helped them secure a spot on Rogan’s show.

All of these opportunities stem from the creation of a book. So to be a successful category designer in today’s world and make a meaningful impact, an educational approach is crucial.

It’s about teaching and helping others rather than traditional marketing tactics. True category designers are driven by a mission and understand that while making money is important, creating value for people is equally if not more significant.

That’s it for the interview!

Over the next few weeks, as I bring the book to a conclusion and publish it, I’ll be sharing interviews and excerpts like this.

What did you think? Any questions or suggestions?