A Guide To Positioning Your Business (creative process series: part 4 of 6)
What Is The Purpose of Market Positioning?
Market positioning is a brand strategy used to help outline what your business should do to distinguish its products and services to potential customers. As a brand strategist, this is a huge part of my creative process, especially working with startups that are new in a marketplace. Upon diligent market research and strategic conceptualization, an image is created to help shape consumers’ perceptions based on intended audience and through the use of branding, promotion, price and location.
Types of Market Positioning Strategies
One way to stand out is to sell products and services consumers want at a price that is lower than competing products and services available in the marketplace. In this case, consumers will expect basic products that meet their needs with nothing more or less.
Another way to stand out is to use a differentiation business strategy. Taking this route, you will position your business as one that provides unique products that consumers will pay more for because they can’t find comparable product features or services anywhere else in the marketplace.
Choosing the right channels for sales distribution is important for reaching customers. Placing your business as close to the target market as possible will help your product or service be perceived as readily available.
Advertisements are a common way businesses position themselves. By knowing your target audience, you can aggressively saturate your reach to certain areas where those potential customers are.
Determine Your Current Market Position
- Who are you as a business and what does your brand represent?
- Who are your target customers and what do they want or need?
- How will you reliably provide a solution for those wants and needs?
- Who are your competitors and what do you do differently?
Perform a Competitor Analysis
Who are the major competitors offering similar products and services to the same target market?
Notice Competitors’ Objectives
Identify the future goals of your competitors and maneuver your positioning accordingly. What strategies has the competitor employed in the relatively recent past? Have these strategies been successful? How likely is your competitor to try a new approach?
Question Competitors’ Assumptions
What is the competitor’s assumptions about itself, the industry and other companies in it? Based on its public statements, what do your competitors believe about future demand for its products and services?
Be Aware of Competitors’ Strategies
Scope their online content, press releases, white papers, shareholder reports, promotional campaigns and hiring practices to find deeper insight into the direction the competition is moving.
Know Competitors’ Capabilities
What are their strengths and weaknesses? Being well-aware of this can help direct focus on where your efforts will be most effective.
Study Competitor Positioning
How easy is it for suppliers to raise prices? The number of suppliers, the uniqueness of their products, their relative capacity in the market and the cost of switching suppliers all factor into the answer.
The buyer has power when the market has more buyers than sellers, if the buyer is price-sensitive and well-educated regarding the product, if product is undifferentiated or if substitutes are available.
How many competitors exist in the given market? The more competitors there are offering similar products or services, the less attractive the market is.
Threat of Substitution
Where an abundance of similar products exists, the likelihood of price-driven rebranding runs high because suppliers lose power in saturated markets.
Threat of New Entry
More profitable markets attract newcomers, which may eventually erode profitability unless there are barriers to entry such as patents or copyright restrictions.
Write a Positioning Statement
Figure Out Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
After performing a thorough competitor analysis, compare your findings to your business. It should become obvious where your market positioning strategy should place its focus.
Establish Unique Positioning Idea
The goal is to create a unique impression in the mind of customers that associates something specific and desirable about your brand that is distinct from competitors. You should be able to clearly state who you are as a company, who you are not, what problems exist in the market, how you solve those problems and how to cater to the customer base that will benefit from the solutions you offer.
Draft an Official Positioning Statement
Every word of the positioning statement should be deliberate and backed by data. It is from this process that the authority and authenticity of your brand will be built. The positioning statement, which becomes the basis for subsequent advertising and communication initiatives, identifies who the company is, what it represents, who are its target customers, what are their needs and how those specific needs will be addressed by the brand.
Steps To Creating a Positioning Statement
Identify target customers, uncover pain point, make a promise and provide assurance.
Coming up on this 6-part series will be how to formulate a comprehensive marketing plan and how to become an industry leader.