product positioning

Positioning…5 Ways To Stand Out From The Competition

Positioning Is Key In Finding The Right Customers

Most business owners start their company and think very little about product or service positioning and truth be told, generally have no idea what it means. They know they have competition, but little do they know the impact positioning can have on their overall success in the market and on their bottom line.

First off, let’s talk about what is product positioning.

Product positioning is a strategic exercise in marketing where you define where and how your product or service fits in the market. It answers the question of why your product or service is a better solution than that of what your competitors are providing, or versus what your target audience is currently using to solve their problem today.

The reason most business owners don’t think about this is because, they think they know why they would use their product or service and simply assume their customers are the same. If only it were that easy!

When you don’t determine how you want to position your product, you can spend a lot of money on ineffective marketing and advertising. In addition you attract fewer ideal customers and as a result, feel compelled to change what you are offering, hoping the next combination will work better.

There are a number of common product positioning strategies. Below, is a description of each and an example of how they might be applied, using a bottle of water as an example. Regardless of the strategy, once you identify how you plan to position your product or service, you use this information as the core for all marketing, going forward.

  1. Positioning based on product / service characteristics – In this strategy, you identify a characteristic or two you feel is unique to your product and that would be important to your target customers. If you think about Chevrolette Spark, it is marketed as being “functional” because of its super compact build.
    • In the case of water, it could be that your bottles are made of a “safe to the environment” material.
  2. Positioning based on price – In this strategy, you are positioning your product or service based on price. It could be either a high price or a low price. If you think about WalMart, a majority of their marketing is related to “roll back” pricing, low prices, etc.
    • In the case of water, it could be that you have the highest price water, because you only use glass bottles.
  3. Positioning based on quality or luxury – In this strategy, you are emphasizing either the product’s aspects that position it for its quality and/or luxury or vis versa. If you think about the Ritz Paris, they market not just a hotel but the experience of luxury. “The refinement of the French art de vivre meets the elegance of Belle Époque décor: the hotel’s rooms and suites bear the names of Coco Chanel, F. Scott Fitzgerald or Marcel Proust — all of whom considered the Ritz “like a second home”.
    • In the case of water, you could be that your water comes from the deep forests springs of some foreign country and is only available in limited quantities each year.
  4. Positioning based on product use or application – Another strategy is to discuss how a product or service is used, in comparison to others. If you think about a razor, there are ones that are pink for women and black for men, and while they might look slightly different, we are led to believe they are designed with each gender in mind.
    • In the case of the water, you might have a smaller size that fits in your pocket for when you don’t want to carry water in your hand.
  5. Positioning based on the competition – Finally you can find characteristics that are completely different from your customer. If you think about lawnmowers, some of them have side catchers and others have rear catchers. In this case you are channeling your marketing towards the advantages of the one you are selling.
    • In the case of the water, you might compare yourself to a soft drink and in that case talk about being the healthy solution.

Positioning, ideally is considered from the inception of a product or service, but even if you are established, it makes sense to get clear on how you want people to see your product or service. Product or service positioning is critical in being able to attract more customers and in being sure that your brand is well understood in the market place. A little time put into this can make all the difference in building your business.


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