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SOV, Share of Voice

Conversation SOV: The Path to Conversions

April 27, 2017 - Business Psychology -
By: Yolanda Fintschenko

Share of voice is a little bit like smoke. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. When you have share of voice, you probably think you dominate all the conversations. Except…

When a fire is big enough, it’s hard to see where it is coming from. And there can be cold spots and hot spots. The hot spots in share of voice are specific conversation topics where you are a big part of the conversation. The cold spots are where you are voiceless.

The hot spots are where you can create awareness with a conversation topic. If you own the education and decision marketing, too, then you get conversions.

You are in a highly fragmented, technical market

So if your product is a useful tool for containers, and you were first to market, you may own a global share of voice about containers. Now, let’s say you move a little late to the game to container security. Your share of voice in containers is HUGE. You think you own containers, and by default, container security. But you might not be doing as well as you think.

For example, Twistlock, a new and relatively small company, has a large share of voice for “container security.” And Rackspace, the company that made selling cloud a thing, which enabled the whole container movement—doesn’t.

Twistlock owns a much larger part of the conversation topic share of voice.

You are in a crowded market with a <10X product

Yes, we know what you told your investors. But if in the privacy of your own office you recognize that your product is 2X at best, then you need to define your company by something more than performance. You have to create an awareness of a need that only your product can fill. Conversation topics are a key part of that strategy.

  • Naming is powerful. Be the first to name the problem. Give it daylight, and watch the conversation grow. Since you created it, you have the best shot at owning it.
  • First to speak = first to answer. Let’s assume here that having given a voice to this industry-wide problem, you already had educational material ready to go. This material educates your market on the characteristics of a good solution.
  • Conversation credibility leads to conversions. You were the first to recognize the problem! You named it, gave it a voice, and provided useful information about a best solution—one that your product matches. So if you’ve been able to keep your credibility through the entire conversation arc, you have conversions.

You want to start the fire

Share of voice can be diffuse, and misleading like smoke. But conversation share of voice connects a metric to a particular topic important to your customers. It allows your company to demonstrate thought leadership to a specific market segment, and bring customers along with you. It’s branding, advertising, content marketing, and closing all rolled into one package.
And if you succeed in defining and then owning a conversation, you might just find that your product is the one “on fire.”

Yolanda is a scientist, writer, marketer, coach and avid runner who lives and works in Livermore, CA.  She founded Common SciSense, a marketing company for technical products, and co-founded founderTRACTION, lean marketing services for startups. 

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