When companies publish their products or services, they try to create associations in the minds of their potential customers. They usually start the publishing process with a great message or slogan, hoping it will work.
Even if you don’t intentionally post your products, they will be posted anyway…because all products already have customer memberships. The question is whether these associations are what you want people to have.
If you don’t intentionally position your product, your competition and your customers will do it for you. Plus, you won’t like it because your competitors have an incentive to ensure that your position isn’t too attractive. Meanwhile, your customers have no idea what your products stand for and start creating something themselves.
Positioning is strategic
There is confusion about creating a position. Many people think it’s good news, but it’s not. Even a slogan, brand, our logo is not a position.
Choosing a position without properly segmenting the market and targeting a specific segment is just a message; it’s not a position.
Positioning is not a tactic; it is a strategic process aimed at creating benefits in the minds of your prospects. The resource should tell them why you can offer these benefits better than your competitors now and in the future.
The reason you start laying is the same reason you start with a foundation for your home – you need a foundation that can support the home of your dreams.
Like the foundation of a house, placement statements aren’t pretty, but they provide something to build on.
Develop a benefits-based positioning statement
In your positioning statement, you must first include exactly what customers want, and second, make sure you can deliver it better now than in the future than your competitors. As the foundation of your home, it must stand firm in all situations, even those that change over time.
Your competitors cannot replace your rating statement with their own posts. You must be willing to do whatever it takes to defend your position from time to time, and you must have the skills to do so.
As positioning is part of a marketing strategy, good positioning also takes into account how to migrate your position in a targeted way over time. This is important because positioning takes place in people’s minds: it is a perception they have, of how they see the world. Unlike preferences (things they care about), which usually change slowly, perceptions can change much more quickly. Therefore, it is necessary to look to the future, not just the present.
The basis of a positioning statement starts with the customer benefits. Benefits refer to basic human needs, goals, and desires. When you start with these benefits, you become customer-centric and passionate about delivering what your customers want.
As I mentioned in a previous article, the benefits approach helps you avoid being overwhelmed by new competitors and aftermarket products. New competition often arises by offering other benefits (or larger amounts of current benefits) rather than just new features.
Segment your benefits market to get the right message
Segmenting the market is crucial if you want to create a defensive position.
Here is an example of why this is so important. A few years ago, after positioning the products of technology companies for a few years, the president of Texas Instruments Europe sent me an email saying, “Teach me, people, to say no!”
What he wanted me to do was segment the market for his digital signal processor (DSP) into benefits to see what his marketing and sales goal would be and then position the DSP for that segment. The company has already divided the market by size, which has generated vague messages: what if one size fits all. He was also concerned about losing customers – those who couldn’t identify the traditional approach to business.
Many B2B marketers are asked to focus on vertical markets (eg, retail, pharmaceutical, education) or company graphics categories (company size, geographic location, etc.). As with Texas Instruments, this method will result in a message that it’s not the right market. (Need help posting and sending messages? Contact MarketingProfs DNA.)
Bonus: Focusing on benefits will also show you how to expand your product into new growth areas. Check out the classic bag by Arm & Hammer, a brand that makes baking soda. Realizing that the product offers the benefit of odor control, the company expanded the flagship product to several other markets, including cat litter, toothpaste, washing powder, and more. If they had seen baking soda as a product (what it is) rather than what it does or can do – its benefits – they would not have thought of or anticipated growth in new markets.
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As I mentioned before, posting statements is not fun. But just like the foundation of a house, which is also unattractive, you can build a beautiful house—your message—in it.
Once you have a strong positioning foundation that can withstand change over time, you can build an extraordinary and very powerful message that connects with customers and remains defensible against competitors.