How you position your product or service is vital to your success, whether you choose to do it proactively or reactively, and by reactively, I mean you don’t do anything at all about your positioning.
What then is positioning?
Positioning is how you make your product or service appear different to your target audiences’ perception. It is the standout points that come to your audience when they think of your products or services compared to your competitors. When you think of Harrods as a shop, what do you think of? Probably exclusivity, wide range of high quality products and outstanding service. That is the way they have positioned themselves and there is no confusion when comparing them to Lidl.
Why is it important that you proactively position your product or service?
It is vitally important that you position your product or service so that you can create that level of differentiation against your competitors, otherwise the market will just position you as yet another supplier of these products or services, which will normally result in more price pressure on your offering.
With a powerful positioning, it will help you stand out from all the other marketing messages that they are regularly bombarded with.
The whole point of this positioning is to keep your product or service foremost in your target audiences’ mind when they are looking for a solution that you can offer.
Before you position your product or service there are 2 questions you need to ask yourself;
- Why do your existing customers buy the product or service from you? Most often, they purchase from you because of what the product or service does for them, not just what it does. A design company I met did their market research and learned that they were winning business, not only because of their design expertise, but because they truly listened and offered solutions in a simple format that the customers could easily understand.
- How is your product or service different to your competitors? What benefit does your offering bring that makes it stand out? Remember, all customers are tuned into WIIFM, What Is In It For Me. They don’t care how good you tell them you are, they only want to know how they will benefit. Market research of existing customers will give you this information.
Once you have asked and answered the above questions based on your in depth market research, you can start creating your positioning strategy.
Your positioning strategy must clearly define who your ideal market are, how you will reach them in large numbers, what they are truly buying from you (Their WIIFM), who your competitors are and most importantly, what makes you different.
In addition, your positioning strategy must focus on the following;
Be focussed, Make sure that each marketing message you send out only covers one product group or service solution at a time, do not try to market all your offerings with a one size fits all strategy.
Connect at emotional level; Use your market research to understand what the emotional reasons are for customers buying what you offer and use these emotive reasons in your message.
Customer Benefits; Focus on the benefits the customers achieve by selecting your offering so that they make a deeper emotional connection to your company.
Is your offer believable; Will customers reading your marketing message be able to easily understand and believe the message?
Are you credible; Are you able to supply proof of what you are stating?
Once you have gone through all of the points listed above, you can start creating your positioning strategy.
The most important place to start is with your ideal customer. Often businesses will define their ideal customer as any person who wishes to purchase from them, but often, many of these customers cost the supplier a great deal in lost time and profits because of the level of questions, process changes and complaints they make, so do you truly know what the characteristics are of your ideal customer?
With your marketing message and positioning, you only want to attract customers that are a pleasure to deal with and who make the sales process simple and quick.
The best way to determine your ideal customer is to look at your current customer list and pick out those customers you really love dealing with and then work out what makes them stand out from the other customers.
Most importantly, you need to determine if you have different ideal customers for each of the product ranges or service solutions that you offer.
Once you understand who you want to target, you can carry out the next important step and that is your in depth market research. You only use your ideal customers for the research as you want to only know why they buy from you and what makes you different to other suppliers in the market place. Your message and positioning you create must be focussed on attracting high volumes of ideal customers.
Once you have completed your market research, you will have a clear understanding of what truly makes you different and stand out from other suppliers in the market. From this information you can now create a powerful statement that highlights your uniqueness in your offering, but remember that this must be stated from the customer’s perception, not yours.
Once you have created your positioning statement, test it out on a number of ideal customers to see how they react to it and if possible, ask them for their feedback on the statement. From the feedback, you will be able to make any changes to the statement until you are truly happy with it.
Finally, it is extremely important that your whole team are trained on it, they must understand the important aspects of it, know where it came from and lastly, use it on every customer they come into contact with.