Positioning in marketing terms is basically people’s opinion of you and your business, compared to other similar businesses.
In marketing, we use techniques to influence these opinions. People like to categorise and they will have an opinion about you whether you like it not.
Your job is to define your business in such a way that it influences your target markets.
This is Enlightening
Think of any business and write down 3 words to describe that business. Now think of one of that business’s competitors and do the same. Was the list the same? What were the differences? Why do you think differently about the two businesses?
What Do You Think?
How you think about a business is influenced by the marketing messages you receive, from word of mouth and by any interactions with the business. We can’t physically change people’s opinions, but we can certainly influence some of them.
How Do You Want to Be Seen?
If you have a new business or new product/service, take the time to understand what it is that will position you in a way that is good for business and so that the consumer has a clear idea about you whether it is a good, bad or indifferent. Once people have positioned you, your business, your product, your service in their minds it can be difficult to change their minds. Remembering that we don’t want to be all things to all people, its only our target markets opinions that matter.
What’s Unique About You?
Understanding and refining your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) gives you an edge over your competitors. It may take some brain-storming to identify or formulate your USP, but time spent here is valuable.
What Makes You Stand Out?
What makes people remember you? Is there something that you can do to stand out above the ‘noise’. If all of your competitors are doing something one way, why not try doing the opposite? Be different in your industry. If there is a typical image of your industry, why not be different?
Niche businesses are on the increase. There are many opportunities for businesses to survive well in a niche, thanks to the internet and online marketing. Suddenly they have the opportunity to reach many more people and not have to rely on marketing to the masses. Your whole business could be in a niche, or just a part of the business. Consider a niche market you could serve. The key here is that there are the numbers of people in the target market looking for that product or service. If the numbers aren’t there, the niche is too small….forget it.
Have a look at what your competitors are doing but don’t be too influenced by them. Research is important not only for comparison, but for getting ideas. Compare branding and visual design, the tone of their content, their pricing, their social influence etc. But don’t be drawn in to doing things the same. It’s a great time to be unique.
Tell Your Story
What stories will you tell? What are the messages you want to put out there to show who you are? If you want to be seen as an expert in your field, then produce helpful content that your target markets will find valuable. If you want to sell low profit margin products at high volumes then you need your messages need to be price driven with urgency to encourage many sales.
With your business and personal life blurring, people are interested in who they are doing business with. The back story. Its important to show some of yourself and your journey as part of your story.
Action You Can Take to Influence Your Market Position
- research how your potential customers see you, ask them
- understand you don’t want to influence everyone, define who they are
- think about how you want to be seen and how you can stand out
- define your USP
- write a positioning statement (see below)
- research your competitors
- research for ideas
- set your pricing to be in line with your positioning (this is one of the most influential ways to affect positioning)
Positioning Statement Template
This template for writing your own Positioning Statement, as found in Wikipedia is a useful exercise to do:
“Positioning Statement As written in the book Crossing the Chasm (Copyright 1991, by Geoffrey Moore, HarperCollins Publishers), the position statement is a phrase so formulated: For (target customer) who (statement of the need or opportunity), the (product name) is a (product category) that (statement of key benefit – that is, compelling reason to buy). Unlike (primary competitive alternative), our product (statement of primary differentiation)”