There first thing you need to realize when cooking up an online marketplace strategy in 2022 is that the same old methodologies that have worked for decades won’t fly in the Age of the Ecosystem.
This is particularly true when it comes to how your brand voice fits into your go-to-market strategy. The traditional framework that you’re probably used to working with tells you to craft a distinct brand voice that sets your marketing materials, messaging, brand content, and advertising apart from that of your competitors.
Executing a successful go-to-ecosystem strategy requires crafting your positioning, messaging, and voice hand-in-hand with your partners.
Allan Adler agrees, and in a recent article he talks about the importance of shaping your strategy around an ‘ecosystem voice’, instead of a siloed brand voice. This means that your marketing materials, brand content, messaging, and even your value proposition, need to be based on the shared voices, stories, and positioning of your network of partners.
“In order to succeed, it is important to target customers with combined and aligned messaging and a shared ecosystem voice,” says Adler. “Critical success factors include developing an understanding of the stories circulating in the Ecosystem, aligning with those stories, engaging in an effective way and extending your own value proposition and messaging to drive stores that align with your objectives.”
Adler is talking about rethinking traditional go-to-market strategies and moving the focus to working hand-in-hand with partners to leverage a powerful shared voice and deliver a cohesive experience to ecosystem customers.
I’d like to apply Adler’s four key steps for creating and implementing an ecosystem voice to an online marketplace strategy in particular:
Step 1: Understand how your ecosystem can collaborate to meet your customers’ needs.
When setting up your marketplace, strive to meet your customers’ needs hand-in-hand with your partners by providing a frictionless, cohesive ecosystem experience. One way to do this is by co-designing pre-packaged services and/or app bundles with your partners, based on your shared value proposition. These bundles should be designed to meet customers’ needs in a holistic fashion. (Need guidance on how best to package your offering? Check out A helpful guide for SaaS on how companies optimize packaging.)
Step 2: Align your marketplace storytelling with your partners’ positioning.
In Marketplace branding 101 we looked at three main online marketplace strategy differentiators: market access, price, or convenience. Once you’ve worked out which differentiator best fits your marketplace, make sure that your partners are all communicating this shared value proposition in alignment with your marketplace.
For example, if your marketplace offers huge convenience to your customers, make sure that your messaging around this aligns with that of your partners. Together, get clarity on how your marketplace creates value and how best to communicate this to your shared customers. Do you save your customers’ time and energy via offering pre-packed bundles? Do you use badges to differentiate solutions? Do your partner and solution profiles contain all the information your customers require to make informed purchase decisions?
Steps 3 & 4: Use content to engage with customers and grow your ecosystem.
I’ve combined these two steps into one section because I’d like to talk about how video demos specifically can be an incredibly useful tool for incorporating your ecosystem voice into your online marketplace strategy.
Morphed’s marketplace infrastructure allows providers to upload video demos to service and app listings. Co-creating video demos with one or more partners for joint offerings or bundle packages is one of the most effective ways to communicate a shared and unified ecosystem voice directly to your customers.At the same time, co-investing in joint content like video demos can help you grow existing relationships with partners, and even attract new ones. That’s because Accenture’s research has found that partners today are attracted to partner programs that value co-innovation, collaboration, and co-investment. In addition, solution development fund incentive programs that see you co-investing in demos to help your partners sell faster can be an effective way to motivate existing partners.