Category Design

How to Define the Problem Your New Market Category Solves

Our Category Design Process follows five key steps.
This post will explore Step 1: Define the Category Problem 

Category design begins with identifying and defining a problem your target customers are experiencing that other market categories aren’t adequately solving or potentially even addressing.

This could be a new problem that hasn’t existed for very long. For example, the rise of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies created a new problem for governments and companies to solve: they needed the ability to monitor blockchain transactions for fraudulent activity. Because blockchain is so new and different, legacy products weren’t positioned to solve this problem. This created an opening for startups like Chainanalysis to develop purpose-built solutions that solve this new problem, which didn’t previously exist until Bitcoin and cryptocurrency use boomed in recent years.

Or this could be solving an old problem in a totally new way. For example, companies were dealing with the problem of managing their customer relationships with on-premise CRM tools. Marc Benioff had the idea to deliver CRM software via the cloud and provide a totally new way for CRM tools to be purchased and a totally new way to solve an old problem. Problems are born from rapid change and evolving trends

Problems are born from rapid change and evolving trends

Oftentimes, there’s a convergence where several factors create a perfect storm for the opportunity for a new category to be created.

Your ability to identify and articulate this problem is the foundation to your entire Category Design Strategy, so it’s critically important to get right. The better you can describe the problem to your buyers, the more your message will resonate with them, and the more they will look to you to help them solve the problem. 

The goal of these three exercises is to identify themes, terms, and phrasing that you can use to shape your category problem definition. 

Define Your Problem Brainstorm [Workshop]

Write Five Problem Statements 

With your problem clearly defined, now it’s time for Step 2:
Name Your New Market Category

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