REPAMA Guide v1.1

A guide to interpreting Lustratus REPAMA VAS (vendor analysis study) and REPAMA SAS (segment analysis study) competitive marketing intelligence studies

REPAMA is Lustratus’ methodology for reverse-engineering key strategic and tactical marketing elements from the language that vendors use to reach their prospects and customers. The Lustratus REPAMA guide provides an introduction to the REPAMA methodology together with a detailed description of each of the 25+ REPAMA studies.  The guide is shown below, alternatively the Lustratus REPAMA Guide Version 1.10 in PDF format can be downloaded here.


What Questions Does REPAMA Answer?
A Guide to Lustratus REPAMA
Organisation and Market Approach Studies
Product Studies
Positioning Studies

What Questions Does REPAMA Answer?

The range of Lustratus REPAMA reports and consultancy services helps sales teams to win more business, helps strategic marketing teams to build more competitive market propositions and helps marketing execution teams to generate better sales leads.  REPAMA supplies detailed competitive information that examines:

  • How your competitors actually address their prospects
  • What messages competitors rely on in sales situations
  • What types of companies and individuals your competition targets
  • What value your competitors believe they provide to their customers
  • How your competitors try to deposition and undermine their own competitors
  • What features and benefits competitors stress in sales situations
  • How your competitors are positioned in the marketplace

The REPAMA research is used by the sales, marketing and general management functions to understand the market landscape, tune or re-engineer propositions and to benchmark marketing performance against peers.


In competitive situations, sales teams need to understand how their competitors are likely to behave.  Gaining insight into the current messages and sales tactics that competitors are likely to use can provide a powerful advantage.

REPAMA helps sales teams understand the strategies and tactics that their competitors use in sales situations which allows better competitive strategies to be built.  It helps to answer the following questions:

REPAMA Guide - Figure 1 - REPAMA for sales teams

Figure 1 – REPAMA for sales teams


Whether setting product strategy, empowering sales teams or generating leads, gaining an understanding into competitive behaviour is key for the marketing organisation.  Comparing your own marketing strategy to those of your competitors and to the “average” strategy for your market segment allows for early identification of potential weakness as well as new opportunities.

REPAMA helps marketing teams to understand how their competitors are positioning their offerings and provides answers to the following questions:

REPAMA Guide - Figure 2 - REPAMA for marketing teams

Figure 2 – REPAMA for marketing teams

General Management and Equity Investors

When comparing marketing and sales performance against competitors it is important to understand the differences in approach of the respective organisations.  To do this it is key to map your own performance for a variety of indicators against those of key competitors.  REPAMA tracks the key marketing strategies of vendors in a specific market segment and plots these graphically against each other.  By interpreting these indicators, the following questions can be answered for general management and equity investors:

REPAMA Guide - Figure 3 - REPAMA for general management teams

Figure 3 – REPAMA for general management teams

A Guide to Lustratus REPAMATM

Lustratus recommends that the user of the REPAMA study familiarise themselves first with the concept of REPAMA competitive intelligence at a high level by reading through this guide. Subsequently the relevant sections of the guide can be referred to for reference when interpreting the results from a specific Lustratus REPAMA study.  This section of the guide describes the REPAMA methodology, the Marketing Element Distribution (MED) diagrams, the scoring system and the high-level uses that the research can be put to.   Three further sections provide detailed descriptions of each of the MED studies within the following categories:

  • Organisation and Market Approach
  • Product
  • Positioning

A detailed description of the individual studies within each section is provided together with a list of the potential strategies that may present themselves.  The result of each MED is very specific to the segment, the vendors included and their respective status in the segment.  As a result it is not possible to provide definitive generic strategies that will always be relevant for a specific study.  Instead each study should be interpreted in context and strategies and tactics should be created accordingly using the potential strategies as a guide.

The REPAMA Reverse Engineered Marketing Elements

Lustratus developed the REPAMA methodology to allow us to prioritise, categorise and rate the following elements of a vendor’s marketing strategy and tactics:

REPAMA Guide - Figure 4 - The REPAMA Reverse Engineered Marketing Elements

Figure 4 – The REPAMA Reverse Engineered Marketing Elements

The REPAMATM Methodology

Gaining a comprehensive understanding of a competitor’s marketing strategy is an essential but complex job for marketing communications, product marketing, product management and sales individuals.  Understanding what techniques a competitor is likely to use when they are generating leads, depositioning your own organisations to analysts and press or selling against you in a sales situation are essential in building a successful sales and marketing organisation.

Whilst this is valid in any competitive situation, it is especially true when competitors are either late entrants to a market or are present in an early market where less intelligence is available to build a full competitive picture.  REPAMA from Lustratus Research is a set of research and consultancy offerings that provide marketing intelligence on high-tech vendors’ marketing strategy.  We are able to document a vendor’s implied strategy by reverse engineering key marketing elements from the way they engage their prospects, customers, shareholders, the press and market analysts through their outbound marketing communications.

The Marketing Element DistributionTM (MED)

For each of these elements we identify and categorise the valid strategies and tactics for the vendor or vendors in the study.  We then track, rate and rank the distribution of the vendors’ strategies across them.  For example, if we look at the use cases that a vendor believes their technology can be put to, we will look for evidence for  each of the uses and compile a list.  We then rank the use cases in the list and score the relative importance of the use case to the vendor.   We do this by distributing a use case “score” across all of the valid use cases.  This results in a prioritised picture based on the relative importance of each use case to the vendor.

To facilitate interpretation of this complex analysis, Lustratus represents this information graphically in the form of a Marketing Element Distribution (MED) diagram.  This is a radar chart where each of the marketing elements from the study is shown on the spine of the radar and the relative rating given in the analysis above is plotted to show a vendor’s relative commitment or lack of commitment to each of these elements.  An example MED chart is shown below.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 5 - Example Single Vendor Use Case Example MED Chart

Figure 5 – Example Single Vendor Use Case Example MED Chart

Interpreting the chart is relatively straightforward and the example above shows that Vendor 1 believes that use cases 5 and 4 are the highest priorities to stress in their marketing communication with their prospects and customers.  A lesser commitment is made to use cases 1, 2 and 3 with use case 6 being of little apparent importance to Vendor 1.

Multiple Vendor Comparisons and the Market Mean

Lustratus refers to a REPAMA study that focuses on a single vendor as a Vendor Analysis Study (VAS).  Whilst understanding the detail of a single vendor’s marketing strategy is important when building specific strategies to combat their threat, it is equally important to gain insight into the competitive landscape across multiple vendors’ strategies.  Lustratus uses the same methodology and MED diagram shown above to plot multiple vendors’ strategies against each other.  This makes relative vendor to vendor comparison much easier. Lustratus refers to this multiple vendor comparison as a Segment Analysis Study (SAS).

Whilst rating the various vendors’ positions Lustratus also computes the market mean.  This, as its name suggests, is a simple average of all of the other vendors’ scores in the MED.  The value and importance of the market mean differs from chart to chart and requires interpreting for each MED.  In some MEDs where large differences exist between the different vendors’ positions, the market mean may not truly represent the “middle” ground that the vendors take.  Instead it may simply be an averaging of significantly different positions.

A significant difference from the market mean represents a significant differentiation in strategy from the other vendors in the segment.  This of course may be a positive or a negative situation depending on the perception of that difference.  In other MEDs, understanding exactly where the common ground lies can help enormously in building effective competitive strategies.

An example of a multiple vendor MED diagram including the market mean is shown below.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 6 - Multiple Vendor Use Case Example MED Chart

Figure 6 – Multiple Vendor Use Case Example MED Chart

Figure 6 above shows the different priorities that vendors 1, 2 and 3 place on the use cases they attribute to their product.  The market mean, shown above as the dotted line, shows the mean for the use cases across the particular segment (vendors 1, 2 and 3).  In this example most vendors in the segment cite use cases 1 and 2.  It is also worth noting that only Vendor 2 cites use cases 5 and 6. The significance of this fact depends on the status and perception of Vendor 2 within the segment.

REPAMA Ranking and Scoring System

REPAMA measures perception.  The results are subjective and should be interpreted as such.  Our analysts use a methodology backed by decades of technology marketing experience to reverse-engineer implied strategic marketing elements from the language vendors use to reach their prospects and customers.  These elements are scored against other possible competing strategies to give a relative picture.  This relative picture is referred to as a Marketing Element Distribution (MED) diagram.

An example MED is shown below for Primary Audience.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 7 - Example Primary Audience MED

Figure 7 – Example Primary Audience MED

In the example above which shows a group of vendors’ likely relative reliance on a specific target audience, we can see that Vendor 1 leans towards IT Technical as the primary audience (see Table 4 below for a description of the primary target audience categories).  At the same time the analyst notes that Vendor 1 also addresses the IT Business audience and in a very minor way the Business audience.  Now whilst suggesting multiple primary audiences might be at odds with the term “primary”, it is important to note that the analyst is suggesting that during the research, Vendor 1 was found to use language or strategies that addressed the IT Business and Business audiences, but that this was considerably outweighed by the vendor’s commitment to the IT Technical audience.

Vendor 2 has a similar profile but splits its strategy between the Business and, in a lesser way the IT Business and IT Technical audiences.  We can see that the analysis of Vendor 3’s primary audience was inconclusive.  It appears that Vendor 3 uses strategies and language aimed at multiple audiences.  As we will see in the Interpreting the Results sections below, whilst Vendor 3’s result looks inconclusive, it provides very valuable intelligence.  A vendor that is using language that attempts to equally address multiple, different audiences; each of which has very different needs, pains and desires, will likely fail to satisfy each audience constituent and will therefore confuse their prospects.

The Scoring System

The REPAMA ranking and scoring system features two different approaches.

  • Relative focus
  • Absolute score

Relative Focus

The Primary Audience MED above shows the relative focus scoring system.  This allows the analyst to “score” a vendor’s position out of a maximum of 11 across all of the axes that represent the various marketing elements.  Such charts highlight the value of focus as the 11 points are distributed relatively across the marketing elements according to the weightings the analyst arrives at during the research.

By spreading the maximum score across each of the categories strong single areas of focus are rewarded with a higher score and obviously multiple areas of focus (if that’s not an oxymoron), score less prominently on a single axis.

Absolute Score

The absolute score system as shown below in Figure 8 – Example Direct Geographic Operations MED, allows the analyst to rate each of the market elements out of a maximum of 11.  This differs from the relative focus system which distributes a maximum score of 11 across all of the axes. In the diagram below geographic coverage of a particular territory will score 11 if the vendor’s commitment to a territory is total i.e. a presence in each major country within the territory.   In the example below Vendor 3 is shown to have a near total commitment to each of the major geographic regions.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 8 - Example Direct Geographic Operations MED

Figure 8 – Example Direct Geographic Operations MED

Why is there no scale on the charts?

As mentioned above the REPAMA MED charts are designed to compare multiple vendors’ relative commitment to various strategic marketing elements.  It is not intended as a tool for precisely quantifying the differences between the various vendors’ strategies.  Instead its use is to show the relative differences between vendors’ positions and does not aim to precisely quantify these differences.

Other Lustratus REPAMA Deliverables

Lustratus’ REPAMA deliverables take the form of single vendor reports, multiple vendor reports, assessment of a vendor’s marketing effectiveness and consultancy to create or tune competitive marketing positioning and messaging.  The table below shows the full range of REPAMA offerings.

Lustratus REPAMA Deliverable
REPAMA Vendor Analysis Study
In the REPAMA Vendor Analysis Study (VAS) we reverse engineer a specific vendor’s marketing strategy from the way  they engage the market through their outbound marketing communication.  This material is presented graphically through Lustratus’ Marketing Element Distribution charts as well as textually via observations that Lustratus’ analysts make for each of the studies.  Users of the REPAMA VAS will typically focus on a specific competitor or they may chose to carry out an introspective version that studies their own perceived approach to the market.  This allows a comparison to be made with the intended strategy and steps taken to affect any changes required.
REPAMA Segment Analysis Study
The REPAMA Segment Analysis Study (SAS) combines the same process used in the Vendor Analysis Study above but here we compare the strategies of multiple vendors present in a particular segment.  Importantly we are able to infer a “mean” or average value for each of the marketing elements in the study.  Again this research is presented graphically through Lustratus’ Market Element Distribution chart and the results of each study are interpreted by a Lustratus’ Marketing Analyst.
REPAMA Interpretation Consultancy
Lustratus provides consultancy services to help vendors interpret the details of a REPAMA VAS or REPAMA SAS, to map these onto the vendor’s specific needs and to build and tune strategies as required.
REPAMA Positioning Consultancy
For vendors building positioning, re-positioning or competitive depositioning strategies, Lustratus has developed a positioning workshop.  Based on years of experience, the workshop walks vendors through a process to develop sustainable, compelling and differentiated market propositions.
REPAMA Marketing Efficacy Assessment
The Lustratus Marketing Efficacy Assessment provides a comprehensive assessment of the effectiveness of a vendor’s marketing tactics.  Vendors commission a Marketing Efficacy Assessment on key competitors or introspectively to reveal strengths and weakness in their own marketing strategy.

Table 1 – Lustratus REPAMA Products and Services

For more information on any of these products or services please contact us at or via

Organisation and Market Approach

This section describes the elements of the REPAMA study that relate to the organisation and the way in which it approaches the market.  The individual elements examined are listed below.

REPAMA Guide - Organisation and Market Approach

What will this tell us?

These studies reveal the strategic sales and marketing elements used by the vendors in the study when executing go-to-market strategies.  This information will be useful to sales, product marketing and product management individuals looking to understand how their competitors have structured and planned their attack on the market.

The studies in this section provide information on market engagement strategies as well as the tactics that sales teams use to engage the market.  As a result, many of these studies present details that will allow general or sales management to benchmark their own sales operations against key competitors as well as the market mean.

When looking to repel competitive threat, sales and operations management can use these studies to build a detailed go-to-market execution picture of the competitive landscape which in turn allows strategies to be defined to combat threat, cement market leadership or identify market opportunity.

Company Profile

What is this?

This study examines what type of leadership position or positions a specific vendor organisation claims to own.  This will typically stem from an internal corporate belief or philosophy that will be widely understood within the vendor’s organisation.  This may or may not be a conscious strategy that the company has embarked upon but it will be an internally held belief.

When crafting marketing copy the vendor will typically lean toward language that paints the organisation in a positive light for one of a number of different leadership positions.  These leadership positions together with the claimed qualities and characteristics are shown below:

REPAMA Guide - Figure 9 - Company Profile Categories

Figure 9 – Company Profile Categories

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

This is an important element of the REPAMA study primarily because it talks to how an organisation wants to be perceived and, if the vendor is doing its job well, all of its staff will understand this whether they be marketing, sales or customer focused.  This is a central corporate message and will be underpinned by everything the organisation says and does.  Understanding how a competitor communicates its own perceived leadership position can be a key enabler for depositioning strategies.

A strong single leadership position in a single category is the ideal objective for a vendor.  Implied claims for leadership across multiple categories can show an organisation that is confused about its value.  By not focussing on a single leadership position, but instead hedging bets by claiming multiple areas of leadership, the vendor leaves itself open to be challenged on multiple weaker fronts.  An unfocussed approach will also likely confuse its prospects and fail to gain a single strong brand value for the organisation.

Effective competitive or depositioning strategies can be created by understanding how an organisation would like to be perceived in the market.  Whilst some of these categories are highly subjective, many can be challenged successfully.  Before a competitive stance can be taken, the user of the REPAMA study should first ensure that its own leadership position is well understood, clearly communicated and defensible.  Picking a fight with a competitor by looking to focus on a perceived weakness whilst risking a similar attack from the competitor would be unwise.

Many smaller early market organisations will gravitate towards innovation or technology leadership by claiming unique creativity or first-to-market positions.  A strategy that can be used effectively against organisations that take these corporate profiles is one of outlining the risk involved in dealing with a vendor of that size/stage of development.  Companies are either, highly creative and innovative, OR they are large, global and stable.  Pointing to the risk associated with innovative and technologically-led organisations could be a valid corporate depositioning angle.

Another depositioning strategy is to look for contradictions in their profile and to then exploit this.  Such an example would be Global Leadership.  If the REPAMA study suggests that a vendor is claiming a global leadership profile but it can be shown that this vendor is not truly global, or if the user of the REPAMA study can demonstrate a more global footprint, this can be used to dismiss the claims of the competitor.

Other examples include claimed quality or service leadership.  If an organisation is claiming leadership in either of these qualities then a competitive kill strategy that looks to arm sales and marketing teams with examples of the competitor’s poor customer service or product quality might be a successful option.  Obviously any negative competitive depositioning strategy has to be executed with care not to cross any legal or corporate good practice boundaries.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 10 - Example Company Profile MED

Figure 10 – Example Company Profile MED

Figure 10 above shows that Vendor 3 alone claims a market and global leadership position.  As the other vendors in the study do not claim these positions it is likely to be a valid and easily defensible position.  This can be dangerous to Vendors 1 and 2 as many prospects and customers will be comforted by dealing with the perceived market leading vendor.

A valid defensive strategy that Vendors 1 or 2 could implement would be to conduct or commission their own research to ascertain the “real” market leader.  Equally, Vendors 1 or 2 could redefine or re-segment the market on their terms to claim market leadership in a smaller market segment where their expertise would allow them legitimate title to the term market leader.

Offer Category

What is this?

This REPAMA element tracks the way in which each of the vendors refers to the category of their market offer.  Lustratus will almost certainly have grouped two or more vendors in a REPAMA Segment Analysis Study because of a perceived similarity between their products or services.  Whilst market analysts might place certain vendor’s product offerings in specific categories, not all vendors use the same terminology.

An example might be that of the Enterprise Service Bus (a specific piece of infrastructure software that allows data and processes to be knitted together to make it easier for organisations to integrate their systems).  If Lustratus looked at this space it might be that all vendors in the study referred to their offer category as “Enterprise Service Bus”.  However, for differentiation purposes, it is likely that some of the vendors examined would refer to their offering differently from their competition.  It’s likely that each vendor would attempt to differentiate, in subtle, or not so subtle ways when compared to the competition.

As shown in the Figure 11 below, many vendors will use language in their outbound communication that will define a primary category that they refer to when talking about their own product in generic terms.  The Offer Category MED shows both the primary as well as any additional categories that the vendor refers to.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 11 - Example Offer Category MED

Figure 11 – Example Offer Category MED

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

By examining the MED it is possible to see whether a single vendor is attempting to categorise their offering in both their own segment as well as the primary segment of additional vendors.  This may suggest that they have ceded the advantage to their competitor by acknowledging that they need to be present in both categories.

A high degree of correlation between the vendors in the MED would typically infer a mature market where new innovation and change is very gradual and where differentiation is more subtle than at the broad offer category level.  An example of this might be the category “Database”.  That said, even within the database category it is likely that vendors would attempt to differentiate themselves by appending or pre-pending adjectives of some sort to create implied value and difference.

Defensive or offensive strategies that immediately present themselves here include highlighting differences that could be perceived as deficient or simply pointing to the lack of a word, typically an adjective, and developing a competitive depositioning strategy based upon that.  For example, if the REPAMA user refers to their offering as “Reliable Process X” and Competitor A refers to their category as “Enterprise Process X”,  it would be possible for the REPAMA user to point toward Competitor A and question whether their product is reliable.  Now obviously Competitor A had every intention of using the term Enterprise to infer that it was up to the rigours of use across an Enterprise and as such reliability would be a given.  Simply pointing to the lack of the Reliable term may cause Competitor A to have to demonstrate its reliability when in competitive situations.

Primary Audience

What is this?

REPAMA Guide - Audience Strata

This REPAMA strategy element shows what type of audience a competitor targets within end user organisations.  Lustratus infers which level of audience they are primarily targeting from the language and programs present in the vendor’s outbound marketing activities.

Lustratus categorises the primary end user target audience as one or more of the following three categories:

  • IT Technical – Represents the overtly technical disciplines within the IT organisation that have no management, strategic  or commercial responsibilities
  • IT Business – Represents the higher management levels of the IT organisation that have strategic and/or financial responsibilities
  • Business – Represents the line of business functions outside of the IT organisation

Figure 12 – Primary Audience Classification

A full description of the roles, concerns and area of focus for each of the 3 audience constituents can be found in Table 4 – End User Organisation Audience Strata below.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 13 - Example Primary Audience MED

Figure 13 – Example Primary Audience MED

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

Understanding which category a vendor targets can reveal many significant marketing as well as sales strategies and tactics.  For example an inferred primary audience of the Business tier would suggest that the vendor believes the market and their product offering is mature enough to demonstrate deliverable value to the business.  It could also infer that they may use a solution selling based methodology and that they have a whole-product approach that combines professional services, partnerships, etc. into a complete solution to the needs of the business.

Both the types of vendor marketing deliverables as well as the language they use differ enormously when addressing the different categories.  The closer to the Business strata, the more benefits-focused the marketing efforts will be.  Likewise the closer to the IT Technical layer, the more focus is applied to product functionality, capability, capacity, etc.

If a vendor is shown to be aiming their marketing communications solely at the IT Technical stratum, it suggests that they are taking an evangelical approach to the market.  This is based on the fact that the IT Technical audience does not have the ability to “buy” anything.  Rather this layer serves as an influencer and perhaps gatekeeper during sales efforts.  The implication here is that once marketing contact has been made with the IT Technical community, a sales process will need to be engaged within the prospect organisation to network above the IT Technical contact to a point where budget, pain and problem resolution is owned.

Addressing the IT Business category involves communicating technical capabilities but at the same time translating that into language of the business-focused IT community.  It also requires the vendor to show that it understands the pains of the IT Business stratum and that it can address these.  Pains and concerns at this level are likely to revolve around the balance of strategy against tactical, resulting in messaging focused on cost, time to value, etc.  Providing proof of capability via references is more important at this level than it is at the IT Technical level.

The Business audience category will be sensitive to messages that solve the business problems they are facing.  This category has little to no interest in technology so language that majors on the technology will only serve to confuse and potentially alienate this audience constituent.

Vendors that appear to communicate at multiple levels may run the risk of confusing their prospects.  Many vendors successfully simultaneously address the IT Business and IT Technical communities by providing educational/evangelical material to IT Technical and more benefits-focused material to IT Business.  That said this does show a reduction in focus and a lack of clarity and understanding of the key entry point into their target organisation.  In Lustratus’ experience, a reduction in focus typically results in a lack of success.

A vendor that focuses completely on IT Technical may be betraying the fact that their market is not yet “real”.  As the IT Technical community doesn’t “buy”, the vendor may very well be attempting to get a foothold anywhere it can within its target organisations.  Wasting too much time with this audience constituent can be a failing in many early market technology innovators.

If a REPAMA user is experiencing lost sales to a competitor, understanding what audience stratum that competitor is focused on can help in mitigating lost sales.  If that competitor is shown to focus on the Business level it might suggest that they are gaining earlier access to the power within an organisation.  Earning the right to be able to address the Business audience is a long process that involves demonstrating and documenting proof of value to other reference customers.  Whilst access to the Business audience is seen as the ultimate aim in technology sales, it takes time, focus and a continued demonstration of delivering and documenting business value.

Addressing the Business audience without a complete solution to their pain will result in failure.  Many vendors of early technology see “selling to the business” as the panacea to many of the problems of early market technology sales.  In fact, prematurely addressing the Business strata is a quick way to burn a lot of cash and waste a lot of time.  As such, a vendor that makes a token commitment to selling to the Business is likely to fail.  Such a token commitment can be betrayed by communicating in business benefits at the same time as addressing the IT Technical audience.  An example of this might be attending a technical tradeshow where IT Technical people are present at the same time as talking about the product’s ability to reduce the risk of corporate governance failures.

Job Titles

What is this?

Where possible the REPAMA analysis will attempt to identify specific job titles that are targeted by the vendors in the study.  These specific roles and job titles often figure in the vendor’s outbound marketing activity such as invitations to seminars, webinars, press releases or even web site copy.  Whilst it is not always possible to collate specific job titles and roles, it is often possible to infer the likely roles within end user organisations that are targeted.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 14 - Example Job Titles MED

Figure 14 – Example Job Titles MED

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

Assuming that the user of the REPAMA study is looking to emulate a competitor’s strategy then an obvious implication would be to understand who is targeted and then to develop messaging and material that effectively conveys the organisation’s value to that audience.

Defensive lead generation techniques can be improved by understanding which job titles are targeted by competitors and creating similar programs.  Obviously this has to be qualified first by understanding whether the vendor can manage sales leads generated with a specific job title.  For example, many vendors have great expertise in dealing with highly technical job titles and roles but have little capability when dealing with individuals in line of business management positions.  Generating leads within a specific audience has to be backed up by the vendor’s ability to nurture and mature the lead through the sales cycle.

The REPAMA user will also find value in understanding competitive job title focus across the segment as this shows whether the same individuals are being targeted by competitors.  The implication here is that if the competitor also focuses on the same geographies and vertical markets, it is more likely that the REPAMA user’s prospects will be familiar with, or even already talking to the competitor.

Sales Engagement Level

What is this?

This part of the study attempts to identify where the vendors that are present in the study look to start their sales process.  Each vendor’s outbound marketing activities will feature calls to action aimed at creating leads or contacts.  For example a vendor may target a specific tradeshow or industry event exclusively for CIOs.  This suggests that the vendor is aiming to start the sales process at the IT Business level.  Another vendor may run their own webinar for software developers again suggesting that they see value in starting the sales process at the IT Technical level.

This study differs from the primary audience in that it looks for where a vendor has used a call to action or similar device, to attempt to get an individual engaged as a suspect and into the first part of the sales pipeline.  Whilst a vendor might communicate to audiences at different levels, this study examines when a vendor first attempts to interact with potential prospects.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 15 - Example Sales Engagement Level MED

Figure 15 – Example Sales Engagement Level MED

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

A potential competitive strategy here would be to track the marketing events and activities of successful competitors and look to mirror them.  As mentioned above, the vendor must first ask themselves whether they are able to deal with leads generated within a specific audience stratum.

An interesting piece of competitive intelligence can be inferred from observing vendors that are struggling to get traction with a specific audience suddenly looking to change audiences in the hope that they are able to gain greater traction with the new audience.  The REPAMA study can be used to identify companies who are potentially executing this strategy by looking for a disconnect between the Primary Audience and the Sales Engagement Level.  It should be borne in mind that this could obviously  be the actions of a vendor whose prospecting is simply maturing to now include additional audience stratum.

Market Stage

What is this?

This study attempts to determine at what stage of development a specific vendor believes their market is currently at.  This is inferred by the language and marketing programs present in their outbound marketing mix.  The market stages that are monitored include:

  • Evangelism – no “real” market.  Small sales are made but the vendor is looking to create the market
  • Early, proven – the market is at an early stage but there is proof of customers deriving benefit from the vendor’s technology
  • Mature – the market has existed for some time, customers, competition and alternatives exist
  • Mature with breakthrough – as mature but with a significant recent technical or commercial breakthrough

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

This is useful study in that it adds balance to any claims that a vendor may make for their success in a market.  For example if a vendor is claiming success, growth and market leadership but it appears that they are using evangelical language in outbound marketing material and documented customer references are not in evidence, then it suggests that the market isn’t as real as it might otherwise appear to be.  Vendors tend to use evangelical language to push a market to formation and once the market is real, sales are being made and references plentiful, the language tends to change to be more confident.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 16 - Example Market Stage MED

Figure 16 – Example Market Stage MED

Another use is understanding the subtle difference between “Evangelical” and “Mature with breakthrough” approaches to the market.  Whilst the result is similar because a new capability has been introduced, the way the messages are spun and delivered can make a big difference.  Innovations are often brought about by technical advancement and not in reaction to customer need.  Evangelical language such as “radically new approach”, “technological breakthrough”, “completely changes the way you do x” may make some potential customers nervous that they are in some way at the forefront of technological innovation and therefore risk.  Instead an approach that stresses the minor changes to the traditional methods that are now possible due to some technical or commercial innovation may play better with prospects who are risk averse.

Likewise if a user of the REPAMA study is in a mature market segment and is experiencing stiff competition from a certain competitor who is using language that suggests they have introduced a significant technological or commercial breakthrough to the market, then competitive strategies can be drawn up to combat that approach.

As individuals we exhibit a pre-disposition to either evangelical language that cites technical advancement or pragmatic language that delivers value.  The same is broadly true of industries or vertical markets.  Certain industries are seen as early adopters of innovative technology whilst other industries are seen as laggards.  Using evangelical language about an innovative technology whilst selling into a pragmatic sector such as farming, may be seen as a disconnect.

Vertical Market Segmentation

What is this?

This study outlines the relative commitment that each vendor has to the different vertical markets in which it sells.  Vertical markets or industries may or may not require specific knowledge or domain expertise but where such knowledge is demonstrated the vendor scores higher than another where no such expertise appears to be present.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 17 - Example Vertical Market Segmentation MED

Figure 17 – Example Vertical Market Segmentation MED

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

As a new entrant to the market, it may be useful to understand where the other competitors are focused.  Depending on the specific strategy, this may indicate highly competitive areas to avoid or it may indicate where the greatest opportunity lies.

Similarly, if an established vendor is looking to enter a new specific vertical market they may consult the REPAMA study to understand which other vendors are present and use their competitor’s experience and tactics as a guide to forming their own strategy.

This MED can be combined with external market sizing data to project where unaddressed market opportunities may lie.  For example if the MED were to show a vertical segment that is currently not addressed by any of the market protagonists and external market sizing data showed that the market segment was likely to spend significantly, this may indicate an area of the market where unchallenged opportunity exists.

Channel Approach

What is this?

The alternative approaches that vendors take to selling indirectly are captured in this study.  Channel in this study refers to a route to taking products to market that is not directly part of the vendor’s organisation.  Some of the channel elements examined may not actually be commercially active for the vendor but they appear to claim that they are.

The categories used include:

No specific channel strategy communicated
The vendor demonstrates no clear or specific 3rd party channel strategy.
System integrators
System integrators are used to reach the market because of the relationship they have with end user customers.  The vendor’s technology may be used as some form of integrated solution that the SI takes responsibility for delivering.  This channel element may also be used by the vendor to deliver professional services to their end user customer.
The vendor uses distributors or resellers to reach the market.  Often these will be present in “overseas” territories and will effectively be the face of the vendor in these geographic territories.  As vendors mature these channel partners are often subsumed into the vendor’s direct sales force or the vendor launches their own organisations into the territory.
Internal channel
A number of large organisations will use internal channel to reach the market.  Sometimes these internal channel organisations will focus on a geography, vertical market or perhaps a horizontal capability such as a professional services division.
OEM relationships are the result of embedding a vendor’s technology into another vendor’s product.  Due to the complexity of OEM contracts and relationships, such channels will typically be developed manually.  As such, in most cases the need for vendors to target OEMs through outbound marketing activities is minimal.
Technology partner
Technology partnerships are typically formed with other vendors that have technology that is complimentary to a vendor’s portfolio.  Quite often amongst early market companies, such agreements may simply be co-operative marketing relationships and may not be a genuine route to market for the vendor.
Other channel
As it suggests this category captures any additional channel approaches not listed above.

Table 2 – Channel Approach Categories

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

Depending on the type of product and organisation, real growth may only come when others are doing your selling for you.  As a result, channel strategies become an important growth strategy for organisations of all sizes.  A failing in many early market organisations is that of not building channels to market at the right time.  Having a market opportunity but not the channel to achieve the growth potential will limit the effectiveness of the organisation.  However, the opposite is also true.  Attempting to create a channel in advance of having a truly repeatable sales model will result in a frustrated channel partner and wasted time, energy and money.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 18 - Example Channel Approach MED

Figure 18 – Example Channel Approach MED

The marketing benefit associated with announcing relationships with 3rd parties can be two-way.  Both sides of the announcement will enjoy benefit.  Whether this marketing benefit yields a commercial return may or may not be important to both parties especially in early market situations where vendors are desperate to paint a picture of credibility.  It might be that both sides simply recognise the value of announcing the relationship for marketing purposes.

Understanding the commercial strategies of competitors and specifically how they believe they will achieve growth via channel strategies can be a key piece of competitive intelligence.  Mimicking the channel strategies of competitors is one option.  Building channel relationships with your competitors’ channel partners or even those channel partners’ competitors is also a valid competitive strategy.  Large or long-established organisations may well have existing deep and far-reaching channel relationships.  Competing with such organisations can be challenging because such deep rooted relationships will not be overturned over night.

A vendor that claims significant SI relationships may suggest that the vendor does not have its own professional services organisations.  In essence all services and solution integration related work is pushed through a channel.  Understanding this can be useful intelligence when selling to end users who may not want to work with an SI or who may mandate their own SI.

The OEM strategies of your competitors are important to understand.  If a competitor’s strategy is to be embedded in other technologies that have an easier route to market, then they do not necessarily have to understand the pains and needs of the ultimate end user of the technology.  Instead, their prospect is in fact the OEM, and it is the specific pains of the OEM that are important to address.  OEM strategies are also important in an early market because by embedding technology in another solution, a vendor can obviate the need to address all of the functional requirements of the market.  Also by selecting a credible and respected partner, the early market OEM can minimise the risk that their size and lack of experience might otherwise betray.  Early market software vendors gradually add functionality to their offering over time which means that, at any point in time, it may not be suitable for every customer.  By partnering with an organisation that can provide the additional functionality, early market organisations can reach a broader target audience earlier in their evolution.  The downside is obviously that the end user is not a direct customer.  The customer instead is typically the OEM.

In Figure 18 – Example Channel Approach MED above we can see that Vendor 2 appears to be targeting OEMs and system integrators.  This may suggest that they have little desire, or perhaps ability, to reach direct end user prospects.  Comparing this to Vendor 3 in the same diagram we can see that they appear to be executing a strategy of working through system integrators and resellers/distributors.  To build a reseller/distributor channel suggests that there must be a real market for Vendor 3’s products and services.

Implied Sales Methodology

What is this?

This study attempts to infer whether a vendor uses a specific sales methodology.  If such a methodology is in place and well executed, the language that the vendor uses to reach its customers and prospects will typically betray this.

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

If a vendor describes the product in purely technical terms, then it is likely that they will take a technical approach to selling.  Here features and capabilities will be important during the process.  It is also likely that the sales will be part of an existing project within the end user’s organisation.  If however the language talks little about the product capability and instead focuses on the customer pains and how the technology addresses them, then as long as supporting evidence is there, it suggests that a solution selling-type methodology may be in place.

Value added selling focuses on the value that can be provided by the vendor and vendor’s products.  This is different from a technical sale in that it interprets the value that can be derived from the prospect using the technology.  Reference selling relies heavily on documenting previous successes and typically involves quantifying what those benefits were and listing the previous organisations the vendor has already helped.  The implication is that the prospect will be able to see how similar companies have benefited from dealing with the vendor.  Reference selling can also be used as a supporting strategy with each of the other methodologies.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 19 - Example Implied Sales Methodology MED

Figure 19 – Example Implied Sales Methodology MED

If one vendor is shown to focus on a solution selling methodology whilst another vendor majors on more technical/value-based selling, these vendors may not feel that they compete.  Whilst they might not talk to the same part of an organisation, they may still be competing for business within the same prospect organisations.  Understanding where vendors fit in this MED can help to interpret unexpected lost sales.  This is a key study in understanding how some competitors appear to be able to delay and scupper the deals of other vendors because they have access to power that others don’t.

Geographic Operations

What is this?

This study shows the relative commitment to the different geographic territories of the various vendors in the study.  This is an Absolute Score MED which means that scoring is based upon a maximum score for each of the territories.  i.e. it is possible for a vendor to score the maximum on each of the axis in the study rather than having a maximum score distributed across the axes in the study.

The scoring works by mapping the claimed supported country territories of a specific vendor, either directly or via resellers, against the IMF’s GDP rankings (See Appendix III – IMF GDP Rankings).  The total GDP for the supported countries is then mapped against the maximum GDP for each of the five categories below.

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

This is fairly a straightforward study to interpret showing as it does the places where each vendor claims to conduct business.  This can obviously reveal potential weakness in a REPAMA user’s own strategy if a competitor is strong in a particular territory.  It can also reveal opportunities where a competitor is not currently present or is unable to exploit a specific geographic territory.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 20 - Example Geographic Operations MED

Figure 20 – Example Geographic Operations MED



This section describes the elements of the REPAMA study that relate to the product and how it is promoted in terms of value, features and benefits.  The individual elements examined are listed below.

REPAMA Guide - Product

What will this tell us?

This section looks at the marketing strategies specifically focused on the product.  These studies show how each vendor describes their products and looks at the features, benefits and value that they ascribe to them.  This information is useful for sales and product marketing teams to understand the relative differences between their own position and those of their key competitors.

This section examines features and benefits as well as the value propositions some vendors use to engage the market.  These will be of interest to marketing communications professionals who need to track competitive movements in these areas.  In addition these studies will help sales professionals who need to understand the major thrust of their competitors’ sales approach.  By understanding the key features and benefits a competitor is likely to use when in front of a prospect, users of the REPAMA study will be better placed to build strategies to compete.

Understanding the approach that a vendor takes to selling on value and the value propositions that are important to them is equally important.  Gaining insight into the value that a competitor believes they provide to their customers will allow REPAMA users to build similar or countering strategies.


Primary Feature/Benefit

What is this?

This study looks at the specific capabilities or elements of functionality that a vendor highlights in their outbound marketing activities.  Importantly this study uses the raw claimed features and benefits from each vendor’s outbound marketing communication with little consolidation.  Only where two vendors claim to have the same or similar features would the MED diagram score two vendors as being present on a particular axis.

The related Interpreted Primary Feature/Benefit study below looks to consolidate multiple features/benefits so that vendors can be more easily compared across their claimed product strengths.

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

The results of this study feed straight into the competitive product marketing process.  Understanding where each vendor in the segment is placing their bets and understanding their perspective on the relative importance of the key features and benefits allows a vendor to compare and review their own priorities.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 21 - Example Primary Feature Benefit MED

Figure 21 – Example Primary Feature/Benefit MED

In highly competitive situations in mature markets or in markets that are newly formed around some new capability, it is likely that there will be a high degree of correlation between the vendors in the study.

The market mean can be important here in that it may reveal consensus amongst different vendors as to what the key features and benefits are for a particular market segment.  The chart does need a degree of interpretation especially if a specific vendor is seen as dominating the segment.  Understanding the priorities of a “market leading” vendor and then implementing similar marketing claims might be a valid strategy.  Equally a REPAMA user may look to create clear differentiation between their claims and those of their key competitors.

Interpreted Primary Feature/Benefit

What is this?

This is paired with the previous Primary Feature/Benefit study with one key difference.  Here Lustratus attempts to interpret the different feature/benefit combinations and consolidates them into a reduced list.  For example, if the Primary Feature/Benefit study showed categories of “Bandwidth”, “Throughput” and “Capacity” these might all be consolidated into a single category called “Performance”.  This makes it far easier to compare each vendor’s key areas of focus.

Value Proposition Approach

What is this?

Here Lustratus attempts to infer how important value proposition based marketing and selling is to the vendor.  Lustratus draws a significant distinction between vendors who major on product features and those that interpret the value that can be derived when an organisation implements solutions using those features.

Certain vendors market and sell based on the relative strengths and weaknesses of their own and other vendors’ features and benefits.  All marketing material and likely the sales team’s strategy will be based around winning the feature battle.  The implication of such a strategy is that the vendor will likely be targeting IT Technical contacts who care about feature sets.  Another potential implication is that vendors who focus on technical features will likely be selling into existing or planned projects.  It is unlikely that addressing the IT Technical audience constituent alone about specific features will result in new projects being created based solely on this feature now being available.  This vendor behaviour is characteristic of, but not solely limited to, early market vendors.

The other type of vendor will understand the worth of selling based on the value they believe they can provide their prospects.  These vendors will take their features and interpret what these features, if put to use within a prospect, would mean to that organisation.  The target audience for vendors that sell on value within their prospects would be different from the IT Technical community and would likely be the IT Business or even the Business strata.  This is because these two audience constituents are more interested in the results of the product rather than how the project will be carried out.

It must be stressed that the two approaches are fundamentally different across most departments within a vendor’s organisation, from product marketing, marketing communication, lead generation to the sales team itself.  Selling on value is philosophically different from selling on features and it requires a very different organisational approach and structure.

Whilst these are the two main categories of vendors that the study looks to identify, a third category exists.  This is where a vendor, that actually sells on features to the IT Technical stratum will actually go to the effort of interpreting the value of their features and communicate this to the market.  The difference lies in the fact that such vendors will use the derived value to show some form of affinity for the business problems and needs that a prospect may face.  But significantly the sales effort will still major on features and will still focus on developing interest at the IT Technical level.

This approach is evident in vendors who communicate to the IT Technical audience constituent as well as the higher level audience strata who are more concerned about value.  Lustratus categorises such vendors as making a cursory commitment to value-based sales and marketing purely to demonstrate some form of affinity with their prospect’s higher level pains.  Lustratus suggests that these vendors may use value statements but it is unlikely that it is central to their sales approach.

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

The value of this study depends on the perspective of the vendor using the study.  If the REPAMA user applies value-based selling techniques then it can be valuable to understand how to unseat potential feature-focused competitors by aiming higher in the organisation and selling based on value.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 22 - Example Value Proposition Approach MED

Figure 22 – Example Value Proposition Approach MED

If the REPAMA user is one that favours technical sales (features) then it may be valuable to understand which competitors they compete with who will be selling against them at a higher level in the organisation using value-based selling statements.  It can also be used to understand which vendors sell based on value and then to perhaps mimic their tactics to facilitate a move to value-based selling.  Obviously, moving to a value-based selling methodology is not simply a matter of changing marketing tactics.  As mentioned above value-based selling runs through the entire organisation and has significant impact in both the sales and marketing organisations in particular.Primary Value Proposition

What is this?

This study looks at the specific value that each vendor attributes to their product/solution in their outbound marketing activities.  This is different from the feature/benefit studies in that the vendor must translate a feature or capability into the value that the prospect would enjoy in business terms.

Importantly, this study uses the claimed value propositions from each vendor’s outbound marketing communication with little or no consolidation.  Only where two vendors claim to deliver the same value would the MED score two vendors as being present on a particular axis.

The related Interpreted Value Proposition study below examines the vendors’ claims in detail and looks to consolidate multiple value propositions so that vendors can be compared more easily across their claimed value.

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

Again, this study allows product marketing and sales teams to review their priorities against other vendors.  If a REPAMA user feels that a specific competitor has had recent sales success over them then this study may provide insight into how that competitor describes the value they provide.  This may allow for these strategies to be mimicked.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 23 - Example Primary Value Proposition MED

Figure 23 – Example Primary Value Proposition MED

It is important to remember that the likely commitment to value-based selling as seen in the Value Proposition Approach study has an impact on the interpretation of this result.  If the result of the Value Proposition Approach study suggests that a vendor is simply using value to show affinity with the prospect, then the result of this Primary Value Proposition study should be interpreted as such.  If however a vendor is seen to use a value-based approach as central to the sales process, then the results of both this study and the Interpreted Value Proposition below for that vendor are particularly relevant.

Interpreted Value Proposition

What is this

This is paired with the previous Primary Value Proposition study with one key difference.  Here Lustratus attempts to interpret the different value statements made by the vendors in the study and then consolidates them into a reduced list.  For example, if the Primary Value Proposition study showed categories of “Accuracy”, “Quality” and “Reliability”.  These might all be consolidated into a single category called “Reduced Risk”.  This makes it far easier to compare each vendor’s key areas of value focus.

Use Cases

What is this?

This study uses each vendor’s suggested uses for their product/solution to build a picture of which products are claimed to be suitable for which use cases.  Importantly, an omission here does not suggest a lack of suitability but rather the fact that the vendor does not specifically list the use case in their outbound marketing communications.

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

This study allows a vendor to understand what area of use key competitors are claiming that their product offering can be put to.  This can be compared with internal strategies and any perceived competitive weakness can be addressed.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 24 - Example Use Cases MED

Figure 24 – Example Use Cases MED


This section describes the elements of the REPAMA study that relate to product positioning and the competitive depositioning that each vendor engages in.  The individual elements examined are listed below.

REPAMA Guide - Positioning

What will this tell us?

This section provides value for product marketing teams who are building competitive positioning strategies.  The positioning statement contains all of the main competitive marketing semantics.  Gaining access to competitor’s implied positioning statements provides sales and marketing teams with a single way to interpret the key competitors’ market engagement strategies.

A REPAMA user may also use the study introspectively to view the perception of their own marketing efforts.  This allows a comparison to be made between the perceived messaging and the intended strategy which in turn allows for any required curative action to be taken.

Depositioning focus

What is this?

The depositioning focus study attempts to identify how each vendor categorises their main competition or what they perceive is the main alternative to their proposition.  The vendor may explicitly or implicitly direct negative attention towards an alternative.  If they do it may suggest that the vendor fears this alternative and that overcoming it, and ensuring that their prospects know that they are superior, is key to sales success.  This may be a specific competitor or simply an alternative way of doing things.

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

REPAMA Guide - Figure 25 – Example Depositioning focus MED

Figure 25 – Example Depositioning focus MED

Understanding which alternative(s) a specific vendor “fears” is a key piece of competitive intelligence. If a vendor cares enough to use marketing copy to attempt to damage a competitor or alternative approach then this suggests that there may be a weakness that they are attempting to cover.  At the very least it would suggest that the vendor expects to meet that competitor in sales situations and that the competitor has a credible offer such that it is worth spending time and effort damaging them. If the user of the REPAMA report is named as a “feared” competitor then it is possible to research the nature of the depositioning tactics and build competitive strategies that reduce the damage.  For example, if a vendor attempted to deposition Competitor A by questioning whether Competitor A’s product can perform under certain conditions, then it would be possible for Competitor A to produce marketing collateral and perhaps even external testimony that proves that their product does indeed perform under those conditions.

Differentiation strategy

What is this?

This study attempts to identify the approach that each vendor takes to differentiation. Broken down into the categories shown in the table below, the question being answered here is “What does the vendor attribute its superiority to?”.

The claimed differentiation lies with the company itself – age, experience, stability, track record, etc.
Differentiation is about the product, features, functionality, capacity, speed, etc.
The human skills that the company provides, its ability to provide quality service to its customers
No single thing differentiates the company, instead it is a combination of the above.
Not present
No evidence is provided for a specific differentiation strategy.

Table 3 – Differentiation strategies

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

REPAMA Guide - Figure 26 – Example differentiation strategy MED

Figure 26 – Example differentiation strategy MED

In the diagram above we can see that Vendor 3 believes that it is differentiated in the market by its services strategy and also, to a lesser extent its technical/functional capability. Vendor 1 believes that its differentiation comes from the technical capabilities of its products whereas Vendor 2 feels that a combination of factors differentiate it in the market.

Building a competitive strategy against a vendor based on their differentiation strategy would involve either attempting to undermine their claimed strengths or bolstering one’s own capabilities in that area.

Perceived threat

What is this?

The perceived threat study looks to identify which, if any, of the other vendors in the study are apparently perceived as a threat.  This is similar to the depositioning focus study above but here the result is limited to only the other vendors in the study whereas the depositioning focus study identifies any external threat that the vendor apparently fears.  In addition to the other vendors in the study two other categories are supplied. Implicit/Explicit all – suggests that either implicitly or explicitly all of the vendors in the study are perceived threats.  Other – suggests that the perceived threat comes from a vendor that is not part of this study.

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

REPAMA Guide - Figure 27 – Example perceived threat MED

Figure 27 – Example perceived threat MED

In Figure 27 – Example perceived threat MED diagram above we can see that the majority of the vendors in the study apparently feel that vendors 2 and 3 are the main threats. Only Vendor 3 in the study believes that Vendor 5 is a threat to them.

Competitive strategies here are similar to that of the Depositioning Strategy Study above.

Reverse Engineered Positioning Statement

What is this?

This section of the study covers the reverse engineered positioning statement and positioning matrix.  Positioning is the discipline of placing a product or an organisation in a unique space in a prospect’s mind.  Ideally the prospect will feel that the product has been engineered uniquely to address his or her specific needs.  The positioning statement is usually an internal tool that the vendor uses to capture the positioning focus for a product.  Lustratus reverse engineers a vendor’s positioning statement from their outbound marketing communication to succinctly capture in one place their approach to the market.

The positioning statement is a natural language sentence that captures the following strategic marketing elements:

  • The ideal customer
  • Their specific pain, need or desire
  • The name of the product and the product category
  • The main benefit or capability of the product
  • The primary alternative of competitor
  • The unique selling proposition for the product.

Whilst there are many varieties of positioning statement, Lustratus favours the following format and structure:

FOR ideal customer description

…WHO has this specific pain, need or desire

……OUR product IS A product category

………THAT PROVIDES this main benefit or capability

…………UNLIKE this primary alternative or competitor

……………OUR PRODUCT has this unique selling proposition.

Figure 28 – Typical Positioning Statement Structure

Reverse engineering an accurate positioning statement from the way that a vendor addresses its prospects is not a precise science but the results can be quite rewarding.  It is particularly useful for gaining a high level snapshot of a vendor’s marketing strategy.  The positioning statement will provide most of the significant marketing elements that the vendor will use to convince prospects and to compete against other vendors.  As such this is a useful tool to use with sales and marketing teams who need a succinct summary of the way a specific vendor addresses a market.

It is important to realise that the positioning statement is an internal tool used to convey a vendor’s strategy to internal stakeholders.  The positioning statement is never usually communicated externally in a raw state but the essence will be embodied within everything the vendor does to address the market.  The positioning statement is taken by the various elements of the marketing and sales teams and is turned into collateral, marketing communications, press releases, sales presentations, etc.

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

Taken as a whole the reverse engineered positioning statement is useful for reference and high level competitive training.  Understanding each of the separate 7 elements of the Lustratus reverse engineered positioning statement and how they should be used will probably be the remit of the experienced Product Marketing individuals.

In compiling the positioning statement it is not always possible to be certain that the most significant elements have been selected.  For this reason Lustratus creates the positioning matrix shown in Table 3 – Example Positioning Matrix below.  This will show any secondary or tertiary alternatives for each of the elements if relevant.  The presence of a secondary or tertiary element indicates that the precise element was unclear but the primary positioning element will always be the most likely primary element that was captured during the analysis.

Positioning element
primary ideal customer
…primary main pain, need or desire
Is a…
…product category …secondary category …tertiary category
That provides…
…main benefit or capability
…primary competitor or alternative …secondary alternative
Our product…
….primary unique selling proposition

Table 3 – Example Positioning Matrix

Whilst the primary elements will have been selected and tuned to flow as a complete statement the same is not true of the secondary and tertiary elements.  Where the positioning matrix features alternative secondary and/or tertiary positioning elements, they are provided for annotation only and will not be matched or paired.

The Positioning Spectrum Analysis (PSA)

The Positioning Spectrum Analysis is a series of MEDs that explore the relative similarities and/or differences of each of the positioning elements across each of the vendors in the REPAMA study.  For every positioning element in Figure 25 above we compare and rank each of the vendors in the study.  The following positioning elements are analysed.

  • The ideal customer
  • Their specific pain, need or desire
  • The name of the product and the product category
  • The main benefit or capability of the product
  • The primary alternative of competitor
  • The unique selling proposition for the product.

In reality the product name and occasionally the category will be unique to a specific vendor.  This may render a comparison of product name and/or category across multiple vendors pointless.  Each of the vendor’s products and product categories are likely to be unique to them.

PSA – For…(Ideal Customer)

What is this?

This element of the Positioning Spectrum Analysis allows a comparison to be made of each vendor’s priorities for the ideal customer.  The ideal customer is implied by the language the vendor uses to address the target market.  Occasionally the vendor will be very clear about who their technology is aimed at and may even explicitly define their target audience and ideal customer.  Examples of this are where a vendor may ask the rhetorical questions “Who uses this?” or “Who benefits from our technology?”.  It can also be the case that the vendor will run specific marketing programs that explain to the audience who will find it useful or who should attend an event.

In other cases the ideal customer is inferred by the language the vendor uses to reach its prospects.  This is unlikely to be found in one place in their outbound marketing communication but will instead be woven throughout their outbound communication materials, necessitating the analyst to pull this together from the various inferences.

The ideal customer is likely to be expressed in terms of one or more of the following elements:

What industry or vertical market?
Where are they based?
What other are they using and for what purpose?
How much money do they have to spend?
Are they sensitive to price?
Job title
What is their position/job title?
Who will use the product?
Decision maker
Who makes the decision on this type of product?
What size of organisation? – by revenue or employees
The reach of your organisation – local, regional, national, multi-national?
What image does this client have? – Leading edge, conservative, well know, leader in their own market.
What will the product do to improve the client’s life?
Reason to buy
What compelling reason does the client have to buy the product?
What are the main concerns of your target client?
Business type
What is their type of business?
Business model
What is their business model?
Who is their competition?
Who are their clients?
What are their problems?

Figure 29 – Ideal Customer Classification

Examples of an Ideal Customer might include:

  • Mobile telecommunications organisations
  • Mobile telecommunications organisations concerned with adhering to new governmental regulations
  • Mobile telecommunications companies that sell through channels
  • Mobile telecommunications organisations that have a prestige image
  • Mobile telecommunications organisations that operate at the budget end of the market
  • Mobile telecommunications organisations that compete with RingRingTelco Corp.

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

The ideal client is an important piece of competitive intelligence in that it shows the specific organisation types and characteristics that the competition focuses on.  The REPAMA user can then compare this with internal strategies and an assessment made as to whether these need to be adjusted.

If a specific competitor is seen as a market leader or if they are seen as particularly successful, their strategy can be examined and mimicked.  It is also invaluable to understand whether any two vendors are absolute head-on or adjacent competitors i.e. do the two organisations address exactly the same ideal customer?

The market mean here is also a powerful tool for illuminating the part of the market where most vendors appear to focus.  This has two distinct uses.

Firstly it can be used to illustrate where the marketing opportunity may lie.  The implication being that if the majority of vendors in the study focus on a specific ideal customer it suggests that this is where the market as a whole believes the most opportunity lies.

Secondly, it should be noted that the same measure could also illustrate the part of the market that is over-canvassed and therefore may also indicate where most competition is.  This may dictate that to approach the same ideal customer as most of the rest of the market may result in less chance of finding opportunities and ultimately winning business.  Here the results of the REPAMA study should be combined with other primary or qualitative research to determine the significance of strong correlation in the ideal customer study.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 30 - Example PSA For... (Ideal Customer) MED

Figure 30 – Example PSA For… (Ideal Customer) MED

PSA – Who…(Pain, Need or Desire)

What is this?

The Who element of the position statement describes the pain, need or desire of the ideal customer.  This describes the situation that the vendor believes they can positively alter for the customer.  The implication is that the customer will recognise and identify with the negative situation that they find themselves in and will relate to the vendor’s apparent understanding of their desire to change the situation. The type of questions that the Who element answers are shown below:

  • What is the ideal customer looking to do or achieve that they cannot do without help?
  • What must the ideal customer do that they are struggling to do?
  • What is the desired state that the ideal customer is looking to achieve?
  • What is the problem that the ideal customer is wrestling with?

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

Perhaps the most important element in the positioning statement for building rapport with the target ideal customer, the Who element shows the ideal customer that the vendor understands the problems the target customer is wrestling with.

The Who element of the reverse engineered position spectrum analysis shows the main areas of pain that each of the vendors feels is important to the ideal client.  A high score for a specific vendor and/or a strong correlation between the different vendors in the study would indicate that the segment features a well understood customer pain point.  This is most commonly found in mature markets.

The opposite, where there is little correlation between the vendors and where each vendor focuses on a different specific pain suggests that the market segment has not yet established a strong value proposition for the ideal customer.  This situation occurs typically in early markets.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 31 - Example PSA Who...(Pain, Need, Desire) MED

Figure 31 – Example PSA Who…(Pain, Need, Desire) MED

PSA – Our…(Product Name)

What is this?

This is the name of the product (or service) that the vendor uses to address the pain of the ideal client.  A comparison of the different vendors’ product names is usually of limited value.  As one would expect the Our Product positioning element is typically unique to a specific vendor, each using a unique name for their own product.  Having said this, that is not always the case which is why Lustratus tracks a MED for each vendor.

PSA – Is A…(Product Category)

What is this?

This positioning element describes the category that the vendor describes their product as belonging to.  Where multiple vendors in the study describe their product in the same category they will both score on a specific axis of the MED.  These categories will be either created by the vendor themselves or vendors will attribute their product to an existing category, perhaps created by a market analyst of a competitor.  Occasionally each of the vendors in the study will use their own category.  This obviously makes comparison of little value outside of the fact that it shows little correlation around product category amongst the vendors in the study.

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

A significant observation to make here is that whilst external parties such as analysts and competitors may choose to place vendors in specific categories, it is the categories that the vendor ascribe to themselves that reveal a great deal about the way they see their role in the market segment.  Competitive differentiation often starts at the product category level.  A common tactic amongst vendors in early markets is to create their own market category.  This may be a completely new category that reflects a significantly different approach to a specific issue or capability, but it may also be a subtle change of category that reflects a specific difference from the segment “norm”.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 32 - Example PSA Is A... (Product Category) MED

Figure 32 – Example PSA Is A… (Product Category) MED

Where a vendor refers to its own products in multiple categories or where the vendor’s own product category is very similar to other vendors’ categories they will be scored on the same axis of the MED.

For more information see the Offer Category section above.

PSA – That Provides…

What is this?

The “That Provides” component of the positioning statement defines the compelling reason for the ideal customer to buy.  This is usually the main capability that the vendor feels is of significant benefit to the ideal customer.  This should compel the ideal customer to buy and will typically be interpreted in terms of business value.

The “That Provides” element may well be the antidote to the “Who” section of the positioning statement where the ideal customer’s perceived pain, need and desire is documented.  It is common for these two elements to balance each other so that the “Who” section sets up the problem and the “That Provides” section documents the solution.

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

This study typically reveals the main benefit or value proposition that the vendor believes will be of interest to their target customer.  Understanding what your competition believe is their key benefit, value or reason to buy, is key to building competitive strategies.  Mirroring these claimed benefits and key reasons to buy is a potential strategy for market followers (those that are less well placed in the market).  Likewise, creating strong differentiation here is a key strategy for leading players in a market segment.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 33 - Example PSA That Provides... (Reason to Buy) MED

Figure 33 – Example PSA That Provides… (Reason to Buy) MED

Of all of the elements in the positioning statement this element is most likely to find its way into the sales situation.  Whilst much of the positioning statement will be used in outbound marketing materials, it is highly likely that the “That Provides” element will be used by outbound sales teams in their direct communication with prospects.  For this reason, understanding the competitive landscape with respect of their use of the compelling reason to buy section of the positioning statement is key.  Building competitive strategies to undermine competitive claims would be built upon understanding this.

PSA – Unlike…(Primary Competitor or Alternative)

What is this?

The Unlike Section of the positioning statement captures a vendor’s perceived primary competitor or alternative.  Whilst this may be explicitly stated as a competitor it is often portrayed as an approach.  For example “Unlike traditional approaches”.  In addition this may not be a straight software vendor competitor.  It may for example be a simple alternative such as “Unlike performing the job manually”.

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

If  the “Unlike” section is shown to be a vendor as opposed to an approach it betrays clearer than anywhere else where a vendor believes its competition lies.  As noted above it is seldom the case that one vendor will explicitly cite another vendor as their key competitor.  However, if our analysts believe that one vendor is cryptically referring to another vendor as their key competitor we will note that they are the implied competitor.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 34 - Example PSA Unlike ... (Primary Competitor) MED

Figure 34 – Example PSA Unlike … (Primary Competitor) MED

This is another important element of the positioning statement for the product marketing function in that it allows the market landscape to be drawn up in respect of who believes they compete with who.  If the REPAMA user is mentioned as the primary alternative or competitor in another vendor’s reverse engineered positioning statement then it is a signal to the product marketing team that if they haven’t already done so, they need to start to build competitive intelligence on that vendor.

PSA – Our Product…(Primary Differentiation/USP)

What is this?

The Our Product component of the positioning statement conveys the vendor’s claimed primary differentiation and unique selling proposition.

The “Our Product” element is typically paired with the “Unlike” element of the positioning statement.  The two work together.  The Unlike element defines the main competition or alternative and the Our Product element defines the way in which the vendor believes they are different from the primary competitor or alternative.  For example UNLIKE xyz OUR PRODUCT has this specific differentiation.

This claimed differentiation often differs depending on the sales strategy of the vendor in question.  If the vendor has a business value or value proposition focus then the differentiation is likely to be based around how they uniquely deliver value.  If, however, the vendor puts more emphasis on technology, features or capabilities then the differentiation will likely focus on that.

Interpreting the Result and Potential Competitive Strategies

The primary differentiation that a vendor claims is a key piece of competitive intelligence.  Understanding how a vendor believes they are differentiated versus the competition can be key in undermining their position.  It is highly likely that the vendor will be using this differentiation strategy in communication with prospects in both marketing as well as the sales situations.  As a result, arming the sales team with details of how their competition is likely to try to differentiate themselves is very valuable.

If a correlation exists across multiple vendors’ perceived differentiation in the study, it suggests that little real differentiation exists.  In fact if multiple vendors are all claiming the same differentiation it suggests a crowded market or a market that lacks technical or business value innovation.

REPAMA Guide - Figure 35 - Example PSA Our Product... (USP) MED

Figure 35 – Example PSA Our Product… (USP) MED

Remember that to interpret the differentiation properly, it must be combined with the Unlike element of the positioning statement.  Together they form the differentiation.  So whilst the Our Product component documents the Primary differentiation, it is a differentiation when compared to the Unlike element that is key.


Appendix I – Glossary

Absolute Score MED
The absolute score system is used where a each of the elements in the marketing element distribution can score a maximum of 11.  This differs from the relative score MED where the maximum score of 11 is distributed across the various elements in the MED.  The Geographical Operations MED study is an example of an absolute score MED.
Audience Strata/Stratum
The high-level Lustratus categorisation of the 3 different audience constituents in high-tech marketing – IT Technical, IT Business, Business.  See Appendix II – Audience Strata below for more information.
The marketing element distribution (MED) is the distribution of a notional score for a vendor across any number of marketing elements to show the relative commitment/lack of commitment.  This is typically represented visually in an MED diagram.
Positioning Matrix
The positioning matrix shows the primary perceived strategy for a specific vendor across each of the 7 elements of the positioning statement in addition to any lesser secondary and tertiary elements that the analysis may have been identified.
Positioning statement
Typically used as an internal communication tool, the positioning statement is the natural language statement that captures and conveys the following strategic marketing elements:

  • The ideal customer
  • Their specific pain, need or desire
  • The name of the product
  • The product category
  • The main benefit or capability of the product
  • The primary alternative of competitor
  • The unique selling proposition for the product
The positioning spectrum Analysis (PSA) compares multiple vendors position on each of the 7 elements of the positioning statement.
Relative Score MED
The relative score MED system features a maximum score of 11 that is distributed across the various elements of the MED.  This differs from the absolute score MED which allows each of the elements of the MED to score the maximum of 11.
Reverse Engineered Positioning and Messaging Analysis is the Lustratus methodology that infers key sales and marketing strategies and tactics from the way vendors engage the market through their outbound communication.
The REPAMA Segment Analysis Study compares multiple vendors’ strategies who are operating within the same market segment.
The REPAMA Vendor Analysis Study analyses the strategy and tactics of a specific single vendor.
Marketing Efficacy Assessment
Whilst not covered by this guide, the Lustratus Marketing Efficacy Assessment analyses the marketing tactics such as lead generation programs, press and analyst work, internet marketing, etc. to gauge the effectiveness of vendor, or multiple vendors’ marketing.  This study can be commissioned by a vendor on a competitor or it can be introspectively commissioned.


Appendix II – Audience Strata

This section shows the high level role, focus and concerns of each of the three tiers of audience within end user organisations.  It should be noted that there is a blurring of the lines between the 3 classifications depending on the individual organisation and perhaps also the industry.  In some vertcial markets, such as financial services, the role of the IT Architect is exteremly strategic and may appear in the IT Business classification.

Audience strata
Internal role
Role in sale
Lines of business management + C level Examples

  • Marketing Dir/VP
  • Procurement  Dir/VP
  • Finance Dir/VP
  • Customer Services Dir/VP
May not be visible in the IT project, typically sponsor for the project Sourcing timely solution for a business issue within budget Functional match of software to business problem.  Looking for business benefit – revenue, cost, time-to-market, risk, shortening cycles, timing, competitive advantage, etc.
IT Business
IT Management.  The interface between the business and ITExamples

  • IT Director/VP
  • IT Manager
  • Snr Project Mgr


Technology sign-off, justification of spend, technology strategy enforcement Spans the technical concerns and the business concerns Strategy, budget, IT risk, mistakes
IT Technical
Technical function within ITExamples

  • Architect
  • Developer
  • Support function


Recommender / gatekeeper, technology selection and ratification Technology fit, technology strategies Standards, features, speeds, feeds, etc.

Table 4 – End User Organisation Audience Strata

Appendix III – IMF GDP Rankings

The table below contains the 2007 IMF rankings for country gross domestic product.  These figures are used together with Lustratus’ country and regional classifications to determine a vendor’s relative commitment to the countries within a specific region.

% of region
Africa Algeria 131568 12.73%
Africa Angola 61356 5.94%
Africa Benin 5433 0.53%
Africa Botswana 12313 1.19%
Africa Burkina Faso 6977 0.67%
Africa Burundi 1001 0.10%
Africa Cameroon 20646 2.00%
Africa Cape Verde 1428 0.14%
Africa Central African Rep 1714 0.17%
Africa Chad 7095 0.69%
Africa Côte d’Ivoire 19598 1.90%
Africa DR  Congo 10144 0.98%
Africa Djibouti 841 0.08%
Africa Equatorial Guinea 10485 1.01%
Africa Eritrea 1316 0.13%
Africa Ethiopia 19431 1.88%
Africa Gabon 11301 1.09%
Africa Ghana 14863 1.44%
Africa Guinea 4714 0.46%
Africa Guinea-Bissau 343 0.03%
Africa Kenya 29299 2.83%
Africa Lesotho 1600 0.15%
Africa Liberia 730 0.07%
Africa Madagascar 7322 0.71%
Africa Malawi 3538 0.34%
Africa Mali 6745 0.65%
Africa Mauritania 2756 0.27%
Africa Morocco 73429 7.10%
Africa Mozambique 7559 0.73%
Africa Namibia 7400 0.72%
Africa Niger 4174 0.40%
Africa Nigeria 166778 16.13%
Africa Rwanda 3320 0.32%
Africa Senegal 11123 1.08%
Africa Seychelles 710 0.07%
Africa Sierra Leone 1664 0.16%
Africa South Africa 282630 27.34%
Africa Swaziland 2936 0.28%
Africa Tanzania 16184 1.57%
Africa The Gambia 653 0.06%
Africa Togo 2497 0.24%
Africa Tunisia 35010 3.39%
Africa Uganda 11227 1.09%
Africa Zambia 11156 1.08%
Africa Zimbabwe 641 0.06%
Americas Antigua and Barbuda 1089 0.01%
Americas Argentina 259999 1.39%
Americas Barbados 3739 0.02%
Americas Belize 1274 0.01%
Americas Bolivia 13192 0.07%
Americas Brazil 1313590 7.01%
Americas Canada 1432140 7.65%
Americas Chile 163792 0.87%
Americas Colombia 171607 0.92%
Americas Costa Rica 26238 0.14%
Americas Dominica 311 0.00%
Americas Dominican Republic 36396 0.19%
Americas Ecuador 44184 0.24%
Americas El Salvador 20373 0.11%
Americas Grenada 590 0.00%
Americas Guatemala 33694 0.18%
Americas Guyana 1039 0.01%
Americas Guyana 1039 0.01%
Americas Haiti 5435 0.03%
Americas Honduras 12279 0.07%
Americas Jamaica 11206 0.06%
Americas Mexico 893365 4.77%
Americas Nicaragua 5723 0.03%
Americas Panama 19740 0.11%
Americas Paraguay 10870 0.06%
Americas Peru 109069 0.58%
Americas Saint Kitts&N 527 0.00%
Americas Saint Lucia 958 0.01%
Americas Saint Vincent 559 0.00%
Americas Suriname 2404 0.01%
Americas Bahamas 6586 0.04%
Americas Trinidad & T 20700 0.11%
Americas United States 13843825 73.92%
Americas Uruguay 22951 0.12%
Americas Venezuela 236390 1.26%
Asia Pacific Afghanistan 8842 0.07%
Asia Pacific Australia 908826 6.98%
Asia Pacific Bangladesh 72424 0.56%
Asia Pacific Bhutan 1308 0.01%
Asia Pacific Cambodia 8604 0.07%
Asia Pacific China (PRC) 3250827 24.97%
Asia Pacific Fiji 3409 0.03%
Asia Pacific Hong Kong 206707 1.59%
Asia Pacific India 1098945 8.44%
Asia Pacific Indonesia 432944 3.33%
Asia Pacific Japan 4383762 33.67%
Asia Pacific Kazakhstan 103840 0.80%
Asia Pacific Kiribati 67 0.00%
Asia Pacific Kyrgyzstan 3748 0.03%
Asia Pacific Malaysia 186482 1.43%
Asia Pacific Maldives 1049 0.01%
Asia Pacific Mauritius 6959 0.05%
Asia Pacific Mongolia 3905 0.03%
Asia Pacific Myanmar 13529 0.10%
Asia Pacific Nepal 9627 0.07%
Asia Pacific New Zealand 128141 0.98%
Asia Pacific Pakistan 143766 1.10%
Asia Pacific Papua New Guinea 6001 0.05%
Asia Pacific Philippines 144129 1.11%
Asia Pacific (Taiwan) 383307 2.94%
Asia Pacific Samoa 397 0.00%
Asia Pacific Singapore 161349 1.24%
Asia Pacific Solomon Islands 358 0.00%
Asia Pacific South Korea 957053 7.35%
Asia Pacific Sri Lanka 30012 0.23%
Asia Pacific Tajikistan 3712 0.03%
Asia Pacific Thailand 245659 1.89%
Asia Pacific Tonga 219 0.00%
Asia Pacific Turkmenistan 26909 0.21%
Asia Pacific Uzbekistan 22307 0.17%
Asia Pacific Vanuatu 455 0.00%
Asia Pacific Vietnam 70022 0.54%
Europe Albania 10619 0.05%
Europe Armenia 7974 0.04%
Europe Austria 373943 1.87%
Europe Azerbaijan 31321 0.16%
Europe Belarus 44773 0.22%
Europe Belgium 453636 2.27%
Europe Bosnia & H 14780 0.07%
Europe Bulgaria 39609 0.20%
Europe Croatia 51356 0.26%
Europe Cyprus 21303 0.11%
Europe Czech Republic 175309 0.88%
Europe Denmark 311905 1.56%
Europe Estonia 21278 0.11%
Europe Finland 245013 1.23%
Europe France 2560255 12.81%
Europe Georgia 10293 0.05%
Europe Germany 3322147 16.63%
Europe Greece 314615 1.57%
Europe Hungary 138388 0.69%
Europe Iceland 20003 0.10%
Europe Ireland 258574 1.29%
Europe Italy 2104666 10.53%
Europe Latvia 27341 0.14%
Europe Lithuania 38345 0.19%
Europe Luxembourg 50160 0.25%
Europe Malta 7419 0.04%
Europe Netherlands 768704 3.85%
Europe Norway 391498 1.96%
Europe Poland 420284 2.10%
Europe Portugal 223303 1.12%
Europe Republic of Macedonia 7497 0.04%
Europe Romania 165983 0.83%
Europe Russia 1289582 6.45%
Europe Serbia 41679 0.21%
Europe Slovakia 74988 0.38%
Europe Slovenia 46084 0.23%
Europe Spain 1438959 7.20%
Europe Sweden 455319 2.28%
Europe Switzerland 423938 2.12%
Europe Turkey 663419 3.32%
Europe Ukraine 140484 0.70%
Europe United Kingdom 2772570 13.88%
M-East Bahrain 19660 1.70%
M-East Egypt 127930 11.03%
M-East Israel 161935 13.96%
M-East Jordan 16011 1.38%
M-East Kuwait 111339 9.60%
M-East Lebanon 24640 2.12%
M-East Oman 40059 3.45%
M-East Qatar 67763 5.84%
M-East Saudi Arabia 376029 32.43%
M-East United Arab Emirates 192603 16.61%
M-East Yemen 21664 1.87%

Table 5 – IMF GDP Rankings