Seems like a bit of a blase title to this blog; but that’s exactly what I have seen too many organisations thinking of their positioning strategies. They underestimate the effect that an assumed position can have on all of their marketing and even operational efforts.
Let’s unpack what a positioning strategy really is.
Positioning strategy refers to the choice of target market
segment which describes the customers a business will seek
to serve and the choice of differential advantage which
defines how it will compete with rivals in the segment.
Thanks Doyle (1983) for that technical definition. Simply put though; a positioning strategy has 3 elements to it :
- Customer Targets
- Competitor Targets
- Competitive Advantage
Essentially a positioning strategy is research and analysis of the market, to find a gap where you can find and service a need that your potential customers have. Ideally a need that your competitors are not servicing. Once this gap has been identified; the positioning strategy is then developed to best place your company in that gap to highlight why and how you can service those needs.
The primary reason as to why this is so important is because this should form the basis for every marketing and communication action that you do! It creates a golden threat of continuity that will allow your audience to always frame where you are coming from. Its like a personality for your brand. If your personality is always changing, your audience will not be able to readily identify with you and will not understand that value that you are trying to create for them. This will make your mission even more difficult as each time you interact with the market; you will need to convince them of what you are trying to achieve each and every time.
Marketing positioning works hand in hand with value propositions and as a subset of that, positioning statements. The following image puts how and where a positioning statement is developed.
Of course; there an even greater debate around whether or not the 4P’s are still relevant or not. (fyi: positioning is one of the new P’s of marketing).
As a marketer or a business owner; it is critically important that you understand your positioning; as without it there is a long and uphill road that awaits you.