Researching a market? Our free online course Introduction to Market Sizing offers a practical 30-minute primer on market research and calculating market size.
Positioning is an essential part of launching your product and company in the market. Positioning creates an image of your company’s product in the mind of your target customer. The term “positioning” should be viewed both as a verb and a noun.
As a verb, it can be defined as deploying a set of tools and processes used to influence and control the market’s perception of your product or company in relation to any competing alternatives. As a noun, it can be defined as an attribute or condition associated with your product.
Still, positioning is not what your company physically does to a product—it is what your company does to a target customer’s mind. It provides an effective answer to the question, “What do you do?” Keep in mind that the question has to be answered from the customer’s point of view and clearly state what the product does for the customer.
Customers develop opinions about companies and products. And the positioning of each in the mind of the customer always occurs in relation to the competition or the customer’s other alternatives (which may include doing nothing).
While marketing communications play a part in developing the desired position, it’s worth noting that in reality customers make up their minds based on a wider range of factors, including packaging, pricing, product performance, references and media recommendations.
Mapping the market involves identifying and staking out the most relevant customer segments. It enables you to establish and potentially control how your product is viewed in terms of benefit and differentiation.
Benefit: The advantage conveyed by the product to the target customer based on his compelling reason to buy.
Differentiation: The singling out of the one element that creates your benefit and makes you unique in the marketplace, at the same time bearing relevance to the customer.
The positioning template can help you to express the fundamental value proposition that your product provides to a target customer and the market. It must identify the:
The positioning template enables you to create a positioning statement, which explains who you are, what you offer, whom it is for, and why it is important and compelling.
The positioning statement should meet several key criteria:
Using the template, a positioning statement can be structured like this:
In a new market, you must define the market and your company’s place within it. This involves positioning your company to visionary buyers as a thought leader within an emerging, highly promising market category. You must also demonstrate your product’s benefit or competitive advantage against existing products and the status quo.
In an existing market, the positioning changes. Here, it must demonstrate to economic buyers and end-users that your product and application are the most credible and comprehensive option for the customers’ needs. In order to achieve the desired positioning, your communication must clearly articulate your unique points of differentiation.
Blank, S.G. (2005). The Four Steps to the Epiphany. Self-published: Cafepress.com.
Moore, G. (1999). Crossing the Chasm. (Revised ed.). New York: Harper Business.
Wiefels, P. (2002). The Chasm Companion. New York: Harper Business.