In this episode, Brian Anderson interviews April Dunford, a marketing and positioning guru and consultant who has managed large marketing teams at dozens of B2B tech startups in her career.
April shares all about her unique entry into the world of product positioning. She studied systems design and engineering at the University of Waterloo in Canada.
After graduation, she landed a job at a small startup in product marketing—making compilers and database products. The two requirements were that she be comfortable with SQL and public speaking—which she was.
Eventually April’s company was acquired by a large Silicon-Valley organization and, as she claims, she was “standing in the right place at the right time” when she was made Vice President of Marketing—in charge of more than 30 team members.
However, April’s story is much more nuanced than she jokingly gives herself credit for.
One of the first tasks she was assigned in her first job was to talk to 100 customers to determine whether or not to kill a database product. As she began making phone calls, she discovered something incredibly interesting. One out of every 20 people she spoke with simply raved about the product—but they were using it completely differently than her company’s intention.
Instead of using the software for personal productivity, this small sample of people were equipping their field salesmen with it for mobile use. Because of her intimate connections with customers, April was in a position to speak up to her superiors and make a case for re-positioning and re-launching the product, complete with new pricing and packaging strategies.
From there, April embarked on a long journey to discovery exactly what the real formula for product positioning looks like—and wrote a book about her findings!
You can find out more about April’s extraordinary career at aprildunford.com or order her book, Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get It, Buy It, Love it.
We thank April for her time on the Augusto Podcast and wish her the best of luck in all her consulting engagements!
Read, watch or listen to the podcast here!
Click to See the Full Transcript for This Podcast
k to See the Full Transcript for This Podcast
Brian: This is the Augusto Digital Insights podcast and I’m your host, Brian Anderson. Here, we talk to industry leaders about how they’re using digital technology to transform their businesses. There’s a lot to cover here. So let’s get started.
Welcome everyone to the Augusto Digital Insights podcast. This is your host, Brian Anderson. I am with April Dunford today. April is a guru at positioning and marketing, and she has amazing insights to share. So I’m really looking forward to this interview.
April: It’s good to be here. Thanks for having me.
Brian: Thanks for being with us. And maybe just to share a little bit about your background, April. It’s really interesting.
April: Because of my experience, which is probably a poor teacher, but because of my experience, I always had this idea that product marketers make good vice presidents of marketing, particularly in B-to-B , because in order to be a really good product marketer, you need to know product pretty well, and you end up knowing a lot about customers.
So a lot of the work that I did when I first got there was I worked on a customer reference program and I also had a bunch of customer things, like we were doing case studies and quotes from customers and a bunch of things.
So I spent my first three months at that job on the phone with customers. And interestingly, that really accelerated me in that work because I came in being a bozo. I didn’t know anything. I don’t know anything about the job. I don’t know anything about the product, but after six months I knew more about customers and what they were doing with our software and how they behaved than almost anybody on the team, so it made me feel senior, even though I was very, very junior.
So I could talk with great confidence in a meeting full of people that were way more senior to me and had been with the company longer and say, that’s not what our customers do. And people in the room would be like, “Well, who the hell are you?” I’d be like, “Well, let me tell ya, this customer, and that customer, and this customer, and this customer. Who’d you talk to lately?”
Brian: Yeah. For next door, right?
April: And that’s how you win a fight with these companies.
Brian: It’s like you’re going to win the fight every time.
April: And so when we got hired interestingly, the bigger company, because it was so mature, had very mature processes for go to market stuff. Like if we wanted to do a trade show, we didn’t have to figure out how to do a trade show from scratch. We just plugged into the trade show mechanism that was already there. But what wasn’t there was the deep expertise on our thing and our thing was hot at the time. And so they wanted in charge of the marketing department that really understood the customer, and that was me.
Brian: Yeah. That’s so interesting. I would say that’s a big challenge for a lot of companies, understanding their customer. It’s a limited set of people in a company that really understands the customer.
April: Well, the crazy thing is it’s in everyone’s job description and no one’s job description. We’re all supposed to be understanding this stuff and doing this stuff. Marketing’s particularly bad. In your day to day of marketing, you actually have to figure out how you’re going to work, talking to some customers into your day, because building your go-to market strategy doesn’t require it. It should, but there isn’t- You know what I’m saying?
I’m not like a sales person. I’m not calling customers every day and doing stuff. So if I don’t figure out a way to get that, you have to figure it out. For me, again, first job. I’m lucky. Literally almost the first task I got given when I was at this company was they gave me a list of 200 customers. And they said, “To tell you the truth, April, we’re thinking about killing this product because it’s not selling enough, and maybe we’re going to take the money and invest it elsewhere.” So we’d like you to talk to at least 100 of these 200 customers and find out how pissed off they’re going to be when we end of life it.” That was my job.
Brian: Did you have to make the appointments to talk to them by yourself?
April: Right. So I’m junior. We’re a little startup. I’m junior. I’m like, “How do I do that?” They’re like, “Whatever, figure it out.” They gave it to me cause I was the junior and no one else wanted this crappy job. So they’re like, “Oh yay. The new girl, let’s give that to her.” But I’m telling you, that thing, I learned so much. I spent a month doing nothing but that. [crosstalk 00:05:10] And I learned so much in that one.
I learned how do you actually get a customer? And we’re selling to really techie people. We’re selling a techie thing to techie people. How do you get someone to return your call? And then, when you get them on the phone, how do you get them talking? Because the trick with these calls was it was very much like a customer discovery call. I’m not there to sell you anything. I got this bad news in my back pocket, but I can’t tell you about it because we haven’t made your decision. So I’m calling, and I’m like, “Hi.” So I had this whole like, “Help a sister out,” thing. It was literally like I’d call and say, “I know you’re super busy, but I’m brand new at this company, and I know you guys have my product in there and it would really help me out. I’m a little worried my boss might fire me. If you don’t call me back.”
Brian: I love this strategy. I’m going to use this.
April: call me back. “I only need 20 minutes. And I promise you, this is not a sales call. I just want to know what you’re doing with the product. That’s it. I’m going to ask you like three questions and that’s it.” That pitch worked really good, but it took me a long time to get to that pitch. But once I got to that pitch, techie people would call me back.
They feel bad for me til they call me back. And I sound all non-threatening and I tell them right upfront, “This isn’t a sales call,” because that’s why they don’t call you, their words.
“It’s not a sales call. I just want to know what you’re doing with the thing.”
So then I get these guys on the phone, and the magical thing about that story, is this product, we had launched it and we had conceived of it as personal productivity software. It was going to be a relational database that you run on a PC that actually does ANSI SQL. So at the time, if you wanted a relational database that did SQL, you had to run that on a great big server and you had to have an administrator. It took you a week to get the thing and stuff. This was the lightweight, low footprint. Put it on a PC, three clicks, and you got it installed and I can run SQL queries on it.
So we’re a bunch of techie people. We think that’s amazing. They launch it and they sell a couple hundred copies of the thing, but it doesn’t really take off. And so, I get given this job, call all these people, and let’s see if they’re going to be all bummed out when we turn it off. Because we just want to see how mad they’re going to be. And so I call. I embark on this thing. The first 20 people that I talked to didn’t even know they had bought the product.
“Hi, I’m calling from Walcom. They’re like, “Well, we have your compiler, but I don’t think we have a …” And I’m like, “Yes, yes. My records show that you purchased it on January 26th.” And they’re like, “Oh yeah, that thing. Yeah. We just fooled around with it for a couple of weeks. And then we never use it again.” I’m like, “Okay.” So I get done 20 of these calls and I’m like, “We’re going to shut this thing off no problem. Nobody’s going to cry when we shut this off. They don’t even know they have the darn thing.”
Then here’s what happens. Then I have conversation 21. I get this guy on the phone and the guys I’m like, “Hey, I’m calling from Walcom.” He’s like, “Oh my God. That thing changed my life. I love that thing.” And he starts freaking out. He’s like, “Oh.”
And he tells me the story of what he did with it. So what he did was he wrote some code and he basically put this database on the- This was so long ago, early days of giving sales reps laptops. He’s like, “Well, I put that thing on the laptop for the sales reps and now they can take orders in the field.” What they used to do was they took an order by hand on a piece of paper, and then they’d come back to the office and put in our order system, which has this big Oracle database. They’d make a mistake and they’d have to go back and whatever.
Now, what they can do is take out this SQL database on their laptop. I wrote them a little front end on it. They go, they take the order while they’re in the office with the customer and they come back, they plug it in and it syncs up to the Oracle database because it’s all SQL.
And I was like, “That sounds cool, dude, but that’s weird. That’s not what we built the thing for. And thanks for sharing. You’re a weirdo.” So I put it on my list, like, “Yeah, okay. We got one guy. He’s going to be pissed, but everybody else is fine if we shut it off.” I do another 10 calls. No one cares about this thing.
Then I find another one. And then that guy is doing the exact same thing. I get two of them. So in the end I did a hundred calls and I got five of these guys that are doing this thing that we never imagined the product would do. So then I go and I have the conversation with my boss and the CEO and the whole senior team, and I’m presenting my findings of my month of calling customers.
And I’m like, “Good news, bad news, depending on how you define good and bad. Here’s what I’ve learned. What I’ve learned is the vast majority of customers, like a 94 percent of them are not going to care if you shut this thing off. You are correct. It is an absolute failure. However, I got five doing this other thing and they’re freaking out happy.”
April: So what the company decided to do was to run a test. Could we sell it as this other thing? And that required a giant, not shift in just positioning, it was like pricing. We had to monkey with product a little bit, but surprisingly, not that much. But the roadmap would change, pricing and packaging. We were selling this thing. One is a tough one at a time. But if you wanted to sell it as a thing to arm mobile people, you go in and sell to the whole salesforce.
You might sell them 10 at a time, 100 at a time, and then so the pricing would be different. The packaging would be different. And then the positioning, we’d be positioning it as an embeddable database for mobile devices, as opposed to personal productivity, Excel with SQL underneath. So we tested it, and the thing sold like nuts. The timing was perfect. Everybody was arming their sales people with laptops, but everybody had this problem. All the systems are in-house and how do I sync up what the reps do and out in the field with what’s back in house? The answer was us. We got this little lightweight thing, you stick it on your knee, la, la, la, it syncs up with the Oracle back there.
So the thing takes off. We grow like fricking crazy. Nuts. We ended up getting acquired by Sybase who at the time is like the big, big database company out in the Valley. And the thing continues to go nuts and grow like crazy. And at its peak, that product line- Which became several products. But at its peak, that product line was doing almost a billion in revenue a year.
Brian: Oh my gosh.
April: And we almost killed it. Because imagine if I had have just done a survey, if I had just done a survey and said, “Will you be sad if this goes away?” and five would’ve said, “No,” and the other 95 would have said… You know what I’m saying? A survey would’ve never gotten us there.
I learned two things from that experience. One is talking to customers is kind of a magical superpower if you can figure out how to do it. Two, you’re not smart enough to do a survey, April. You don’t know what questions to ask because people are doing nut job things with your product you could never imagine in a million years. And the third thing I learned was the unhappy people can’t teach you anything about positioning. The happy people, super happy people, customers, hold the key to everything.
If you could figure out why those people are super happy, you’ve got the keys to growth and figuring out how do I get a thousand of these? How do I get 10,000 of these? How do I get a million of these?
And then the last thing is you can have a product that is essentially super winner that looks like a dog because you don’t know what you’ve got and the positioning is weak.
Brian: That is so interesting.
April: That’s my story. So that was my first job, man. So, from that I was like, “Oh, this is the thing you have to figure out. If you want to crack this, this is how you do it.”
Brian: Yeah. It was like the new kid right out of school, right? And you learned these lessons. That’s why you became the VP of marketing. Those insights.
April: Oh, yeah. Because
Brian: Not just sit in the right seat, it’s understanding customers. Because engineering and product and marketing, they all need to know who the customer is. They look at them at a little different angles, but like once you can center on that that’s where the magic happens.
April: Normally it’s hard to do that. If I’m the brand new VP marketing, I got to basically stand back and say, “I’m not making any decisions about nothing till I do X number of customer calls,” because I can’t trust what everyone tells me. I can’t trust what sales tells me because I don’t know how to put it in context. And they will over-rotate on the last conversation they had and say, “All customers are like this,” and be like, “No, just the last one you talked to.”
April: I can’t look at the data. The data is important and interesting, but it doesn’t tell me the full story. In order for me to do really good, go to market planning, I need to know who loves my stuff and why. And the data often doesn’t tell me that. Talking to sales alone won’t tell me that. Talking to customer success doesn’t tell me that. Looking at what programs on market are working and not working, doesn’t really tell me that.
And so you have to figure out how to answer that question. And then once you understand that, then you’re like, “Are we actually positioned for that or not?” And a lot of times you aren’t, because your position for what the product was two years ago. Your positioned for what the market was two years ago and everything’s changed, and the only people that know it are your customers.
Brian: Yeah. And the CEO or the leadership team of a company, it can be their vision, and it’s changing that is a process.
April: Well, then that’s the next piece of it, right? I started to noodle on this idea. This is such a powerful thing. How would we have known, other than me doing a hundred calls, how would I have known without wasting a year and doing all this stuff that that database thing was actually an embeddable database for mobile devices and not personal productivity, Excel killer. How could I have known that?
And so I kept asking that question. It soon became clear to me, this is positioning. That’s what the marketing people call it, positioning. So, good. How do I do positioning? And I embark on this journey to try to figure this out, and I read all these books, and I’ve taken all these classes, and the first thing that hits me is we know what positioning is.
It was defined in 1982 by these guys Ries and Trout who wrote a book called Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind. It’s amazing. Everyone should read it. But what that book does not tell you is how to do it. It just tells you what it is. If you need to do it, you were supposed to call them. They ran an advertising agency and they were going to do it for you, and I’m working at crummy little startup. We can’t afford to call anybody. They work with Coke. So I’m like, “Okay.”
Brian: Yeah. Go away, flea.
April: “I’m not going to work with them.” So I’m like, “Wait. We have this fundamental foundational concept, and no one knows how to do it. We don’t have a step one, do this. Step two, do that. Step three, do this. That can’t be true.”
So I keep looking for this thing. And the closest I ever got was, if you go to marketing school, which I did later, because I’m trying to get a crash course in marketing because now I’m a marketer, if I go to this class university and there’s a module in there, positioning. They’re going to teach us how to do positioning. Great. And the guy steps up and he puts up the positioning statement, and the positioning statement, it’s like a way of writing positioning down in a way. But it’s like Mad Libs; it’s like this fill in the blank sentence.”We are a blank for blank that does blank, unlike blank.
And you write in here’s my target customers and here’s the market I’m in and this is my differentiator and these are my competitors. You write it down and it comes out this kind of gobbledygook English statement.
And so the professor’s up there and he’s explaining that and I’m sitting in the back going, “But wait.” One of those blanks, for example, is market category. And I just finished repositioning this thing, like how do I know personal productivity software or embeddable database for mobile devices? How do I know which category is the best one? And as far as I can tell, any product in the land, I can position in multiple market categories. You can’t just have a blank and say write it down.
April: That doesn’t work. So I’m at the back. I put my hand up, “Hey buddy,” and I explain the whole thing and I’m like, “How’s that work?” And the guy, the professor did this whole thing. He gave me his whole like professor attitude thing. He’s like, “Who said?” I’m like, “That me at the back.” And I say, “It could have been this or it could have been this. So how do I know? You say I just have to fill in the blank. How do I know is it this one or this one? How do I know which one is the best market category?” And he looks up his glasses at me, he looks at me and he says, “Trust me, April.” Just, no.
Brian: What a great answer.
April: And that was the moment where I realized nobody knows. Nobody knows it’s the big secret. No one knows how to do this stuff. Maybe Ries and Trout, but they’re not sharing. No. And no one else knows that the smart guy in marketing school doesn’t know that. So that’s what’s sort of got me on this, “Well, there’s got to be a way to do it.” And because I’m an engineer, I was like, “Well, we’ll solve this like all problems. How hard can it be? We’re just going to break it down into pieces, solve for the component pieces, put the pieces back together.” Positioning, it’s easy to break into pieces because the component pieces and positioning are in essence two blanks on the positioning statement, and so it’s market category, competitive alternatives, unique features, value for customers and customer segmentation. Who’s the customer I’m going after? Who’s my target? That’s it. Five pieces. I can break it into five pieces. All I’ve got to figure out now is how do I find the best answer for the five pieces? How do I smash it together? Voila. Problem solved.
And so, I get to this stage and then that’s when you break it apart and you’re like, “Ooh, actually the tricky part in this is that all the pieces actually have a relationship to each other,” which is something that positioning statement doesn’t clue you into.
In fact, nobody ever talked about this in anything I learned about positioning. If I say, “Look, what is the unique value that my product delivers to customers?” That is completely dependent on my unique features. So those things are related. My unique features are only unique when I compare them to a competitive alternative. So I can’t figure out what distinct value because I need to figure out competitive alternative.
My target customer, my ideal customers, are essentially the people, or if we’re talking about businesses, the companies that care the most about my unique value, that’s what makes them ideal.
They’re a good fit for my stuff. So those two things are related. And then the last bit, which is market category, you can think of it as it’s basically the context that I position my product in that makes this value that I’ve got obvious to these people that I’m trying to communicate it to.
So I can’t figure out market category without knowing those two things. So where do I start? And the more I thought about this, I spent six years where I decided it’s impossible. There is no starting point. Everything really is to everything. And all you can do is pick one, work your way around to all the other ones and then test it. And if it works, great, and if it doesn’t, you throw it out and you try something else and it’s just trial and error. And for five, six years, that’s how I repositioned stuff, trial and error.
And then, I had an epiphany of sorts, in that I started reading a lot of Jobs to be Done stuff, you know, Clayton Christensen. So I started reading this Jobs to be Done stuff, and I had this- Do you know this, Jobs to be Done? You know the book?
Brian: Yeah. Because what’s interesting is it’s the same thing with the positioning statement. There’s not like a guide that says how to do jobs to be done. There’s a few of them now, but it’s like Clayton Christensen was just a theory.
April: Right. It’s getting better now. But, the Jobs to be Done stuff got me thinking about where the starting point was for this stuff, because that’s what they’re trying to do in Jobs, right? What’s the job the customer is trying to do? And then I thought, “Maybe the starting point is the job. We have to figure out the job.” But in order for me to do jobs interviews and all that stuff, I had to know all the other stuff, so I couldn’t start with the job. And a lot of times I was in these companies where it wasn’t really the job.
And so, I get started bending my brain around this thing, and eventually I had this epiphany, that actually what it is that-The milkshake story in Jobs to be Done is that one where they’re selling all these milkshakes in the morning and they can’t figure out why, and it turns out people are actually using them for breakfast, but also because it’s boring and you’re driving, and so they’re going through the drivethrough. The conclusion of that story was they made the milkshake thicker and to last longer and whatever.
April: I read that story as a marketer and went, “No, dummies. Your positioning’s wrong. It’s a smoothie.” Right? And you think your competition is soda, but your competition is actually egg mcmuffin. If you knew the great competition, then you’d build the right thing. And then I had this thing, like, “Ah. It’s competitive alternative, not competitor. Actual competitive alternative.”
So the trick in this- And it worked it. I went back and reworked all my old stuff and said, “Could I have known that if I don’t understand happy customers and who my happy customers think their competitive alternative is?” Then I’ve got something.
Brian: That’s the starting point.
April: So that’s it. You start by saying, “Who are my good fit customers now?” I don’t need to know why they’re a good fit, and most of the time, I don’t know at this stage. I don’t even know why they’re a good fit, but I can NPS them and know who’s happy and who’s not, and if I talked to those folks on the phone and say, “Look, if my thing didn’t exist, what would you do?”
April: It’s like a jobs interview. Right? “If my thing didn’t exist, what would you do?” And their answers are often totally surprising. Like in B2B software, we often think of our competitors as other companies that look just like us, when, in reality, the competitors often- “If you guys didn’t exist, I’d just do this in a spreadsheet.” Or, “I’d just hire an intern to do it.”
And so, you need to actually understand who, in the mind of your best customers, who did they think you compare to you? And then you have to say, “What have I got that they don’t have? How does that translate to value?” Therefore, what are the characteristics of a customer that makes them really put a high price on that value and therefore a good fit for my stuff? And then, where’s my best market category, given I’m trying to position that value for these people? What’s my best context to put it in?
And so, once I figured that out, then I had a methodology that I could do step one, step two, step three, step four, and for all the companies I worked at after that, that’s what I did.
April: Yeah. And now, as a consultant, that’s what I teach people. So I have a book with the methodology written down. And again, I don’t know if it works for everybody, but if you’re B2B tech, it does.
And then what I do as a consultant.
Brian: I got it.
April: I got one here too. I got one right here in the frame. Look, right there. And so that’s what I do. But it took it literally took me 10 years to figure it out.
Brian: That’s amazing. Yeah. That’s so interesting. And it’s tried and true. It’s proven. You’ve actually.
April: Well, it’s proven for me. So I get lots of people that call me that are outside of where I’ve proven it. So they’ll say, “But I run this consumer tech thing,” and I’m like, “I don’t know. I don’t know if it works with consumer tech, because I don’t do consumer tech.” Or sometimes I’ll get people that are …
I’ve done a handful of B2B, but it’s not tech, and it seems to work. But have I thoroughly tested it there? No. But if you’re B2B software, particularly B2B software, that’s a little more complex, like there’s a sales person involved, it always works. Yeah, totally.
Brian: Yeah. That’s interesting. There’s a lot of those companies out there.
April: Yeah. So workshop-wise, I’ve done more than a hundred of these workshops as a consultant. And then, I’ve got 16, 17 products I repositioned when I was in companies. So I feel like it works.
Brian: That’s great. Yeah.
April: Maybe there’s conditions where it doesn’t and at some point I’ll hear about them, I’m sure. If it doesn’t work, people love to tell me.
Brian: Just a couple more minutes. It’s so fun to talk to you about this stuff. What are some of those success stories? When you actually figured it out and you started doing it this way, what are some of those successes?
April: The recent one was a bit weird because normally I would come into a company after we already had some customer traction. And so, the methodology kind of assumes that. But the last company where I was an employee, we had a little customer, two customers basically, and it was enterprise software. So we didn’t follow the methodology exactly, but more or less.
We had raised money based on what I would call a positioning thesis. The positioning thesis said this thing was going to be back office omni-channel software for big retailers, and the value was it was going to allow you to do this omni-channel stuff like order online pickup in store, or endless aisle shopping, or things that retailers can’t do today because they have one stack for e-commerce and another stack for in store.
And so, this thing was going to be the omni-channel glue in the middle. That was the thesis and the thesis worked great with the VCs, Pitch it to the VCs, they love it. But it didn’t work with customers for a lot of reasons. And this is quite common, that your thesis proves to be untrue. And so it was untrue mainly because there wasn’t an obvious buyer.
So our thesis was that there was always a head of omni-channel at these big retailers, and our thesis was that was the buyer. In practice, however, that person generally doesn’t have a budget and the budget sits either with e-commerce or in store. And if you’re pitching a thing in the middle, nobody knows whose budget it should come out of, and you’ll get stuck in evaluation, limbo, forever, and you’ll never do a deal. So we went back to the drawing board and we looked at the customer that we did have. So I only got one happy customer more or less.
But if I look at the customer and see, “Well, what were they using it for? And what would the competitive comparable be for that?” They were using it heavily in store and how they were using it was as a way to give the in-store sales associates the power that came with understanding, not just the information available to them in in-store systems, but also the e-comm stuff.
And what it really did was it supercharged the sales associate. They could come in and line up products like you do on a website and compare features, but do it in this kind of assisted way, like, “Let me help you.” They could do things like price comparisons, which is a routine thing that some of these companies do on their websites, but you can’t do it in store. And so, where the result was, people bought more stuff in the store instead of like showrooming, where they come in and they look at it, then they leave and they buy it from Walmart online because it’s cheaper.
So we got this idea that we could reposition this thing as a solution for sales associates, a mobile solution for sales associates, run on a tablet, supercharge your sales associates, and that was quite successful. But the longer term vision of what we want it to be didn’t change because we were still, longer-term. Going to be this glue between the two, but the way we did a deal and how we position it for a customer completely changed. Same software but a complete change in how we sold it, so that we had an obvious buyer, an obvious reason to buy it right now, obvious payback on doing it.
Brian: Yeah. That’s interesting. There’s so much to positioning. It’s such a complicated topic, too. I think you described it really well in the beginning, is it starts with knowing your customers and being willing to talk to them.
April: Yeah. You got to know customer, but in particular, it’s like, “Who loves you and why?
Brian: Who loves you and why? That’s great.
April: Who loves you and why?
Brian: Well, it’s been great. It’s been great talking to you April. I really enjoyed it. How do people learn more about what you’re doing and get into?
April: My website is aprildunford.com and if they’re interested, they could go there. The book is a good place to start because it describes what the methodology is all about, and a lot of companies read the book and then use that as a guide to do stuff internally. And then, sometimes I work with companies, I do a lot of positioning workshops, where we spend a couple of days and we just work through the positioning with the senior team. It’s an efficient way to get through that process with the person that invented it.
That works pretty good. And now that we’re all stuck in our houses, I’m running these things virtually and they work surprisingly well.
Brian: Okay, cool. New model.
April: It is, a new model.
Brian: Is it just you, or do you have more people that work and do the same kind of coaching?
April: It’s just me, and that’s very on purpose. I’ve spent decades running big teams and I’ve taken a break from having employees. Maybe I’ll want to have some next year, but this year I’m really enjoying being picky about the companies I work with. You can be when you’re just a person. I’m very narrow in who I work with. You’ve got to be tech. You’ve got to be B2B. You’ve got to be in this thing. You’ve got to pass my qualification criteria where, if I don’t think you have a positioning problem, I don’t take you on. If I don’t think we can do good work together, I just say, “No, I’m too busy.”
Brian: You get to choose right?
April: Yeah. I like it. This is my third phase of my career. I feel like I spent 25 years managing big teams of people, and working with startup founders that aren’t always easy people to work with and stuff, and now I’m kind of enjoying just doing what I like.
Brian: That’s great. Yeah. Yeah. That’s great to be at that stage.
April: It is. It is. You’ve got to be old, but once you get here, it’s good.
Brian: You’re not at all. At least you don’t look that old.
April: Aw, thanks.
Brian: I’m getting old. Well, thanks again, April. It has been really great and we’re looking forward to getting this message out to our community and hopefully helping them. Thanks for publishing all that knowledge and all that great work that took a career to develop.
April: Yeah. Well, thanks. It’s been good to be here. Thanks for having me on.
Brian: Hey, thanks for listening to the Augusto Digital Insights podcast. Augusto is a custom software design and development company. If we can help you on your next project, or you just want to say hello, contact me today by calling (616) 427-1914 or visit www.augustodigital.com. Remember, you can always find this podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google, and YouTube.
Want to learn more or work on an idea together? We start our engagements with an intro call.
Schedule one today to see how our product centric approach can revolutionize your process.