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Winner Takes All // Category Design Insights

In Season 1 // Episode 4, Dave Peterson illuminates key category design insights to attendees of this Israeli tech-based webinar, moderated by Ben Wiener of JumpSpeed VC.


Following up on his points about the fact that companies are in a “winner takes all” game, Dave added some insight about their research and the over-arching importance of including the Lightning Strike to your tool kit:

“So, this category work that you're doing is a long game. You’ve got to care for and feed for your category, just like you have to care and feed your business and your company and your culture.

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You have to care and feed for your category and constantly evolve it through Lightning Strikes, no different than you have to version your products over time.

Again, if you're going to do all the work, you might as well apply it to your category, too, because it's something that you can control.

You don't need to be Qualtrics and have millions of dollars available for every Lightning Strike. You can do some of these basic things that we just talked about and start to embed this kind of thinking and strategy into your business.”

So, what’s a Lightning Strike, you ask?

Here’s how the PLAY BIGGER book describes it, from page 128:

"A lightning strike is an event meant to explode onto the market, grab the attention of customers, investors, analysts, and media, and make any potential competitors crap their drawers. It is the full concentration of the company’s resources on one high-intensity strike.

This is in complete opposition to traditional peanut butter marketing, which involves spreading marketing and PR across a wide swath of the market over a long period of time and hoping somewhere it sticks.

Peanut butter marketing doesn’t break through in this era of cacophonous media and never-ending swarms of new start-ups seeking attention.

A lighting strike must overcome the noise. The strike is a shock and awe version of what some marketers call “air wars” – the campaign to change potential customers minds so they consider buying the company’s offering.

The most important thing to understand about a lightning strike is that it’s not a marketing event. It’s a company event.

And this is why the strike becomes a forcing function for every part of the company.

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