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Launching to Leading: How B2B Market Leaders Create Flashmobs, Marshal Parades and Ignite Movements by Ken Rutsky

Ken Rutsky Is a B2B Marketing Consultant, and has spent nearly 25 years in B2B marketing roles including at Intel and Netscape in the 1990s.

Since then, Ken has been the CMO at several startups and he worked in marketing at McAfee where he developed and executed a marketing strategy that grew its web security business from $60M to nearly $200M..

In the seven years with his own company, KJR Associates, Ken’s clients have generated more than $6 billion in shareholder value through IPOs and acquisitions. In addition, several other clients have reached private equity valuations of more than $1B.

Ken has an engineering degree from Northwestern and an MBA from Stanford.

The Host’s Perspective:

In “Launching to Leading”, the author explains that because of the changing B2B market and buyer, we need a new approach to marketing. He explains that the biggest challenges to getting noticed and winning are information overload, independent yet connected buyers, and crowded markets.

The book addresses all three challenges and there’s a lot to the title of this book. “Launching to Leading” describes successive stages or levels toward market leadership.

The author describes a company’s “launching” as being just one amongst many companies, where they focus on the product and making its presence known in the market. Unfortunately, many companies get stuck here because they are fighting a content marketing battle based on features and benefits.

In this stage, competitors are quickly commoditizing benefits. But, if companies can break through to the next stage, beyond features and benefits, they are able to articulate meaningful and unique customer value. In this stage, they are messaging around value statements that have actual payback for customers and are unique to their company and not easily copied by the competition.

The reward for this can be a 2-3x improvement in leads to revenue.

Most companies don’t make it beyond this stage, however, because they are still too close to their product, enamored with its features and overly focused on style rather than substance.

The next stage is the most interesting and compelling.

That’s what the author describes as “Breaking Through” and this is where companies can reframe, or tilt the entire playing field toward them by using “viewpoint stories.”

A viewpoint story converges on the biggest business changes impacting your customers and the most disruptive benefits that your solution delivers in response to those changes. With these levels achieved, the final level of market leadership can be attained that builds momentum and and drives both revenue and shareholder returns dramatically upward.

A big part of the book shows you how to go about building the viewpoint story, which ultimately has just four parts.

It’s ingeniously simple, but not simple to develop. Fear not –  the book walks you through all the details of how to create and implement it. I found the viewpoint story concept so compelling that I’m implementing it for the marketing of my business.

Listen to the Interview: 

Show Notes

“Launching to Leading: How B2B Market Leaders Create Flashmobs, Marshal Parades and Ignite Movements” by Ken Rutsky

“Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey Moore

“The Thought Leaders Practice” by Matt Church, Peter Cook, and Scott Stein

“Matchmakers: The New Economics of Multisided Platforms” by David Evans and Richard Schmalensee

Ken Rutsky’s Website (

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