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Product positioning is what comes to mind when your target market thinks about your product compared to your competitor’s products. When you hear Rolls Royce automobile, what do you think? Probably: highest-end luxury and exclusivity. That’s their positioning. There’s no confusing the positioning of Rolls Royce and Hyundai.
Why is positioning important?
Product positioning is a crucial ingredient in the buying process and should never be left to chance. It’s your opportunity to influence the market’s perception of your products. Failure to proactively address product positioning is unlikely to end well. With or without your input, customers will position your product—probably based on information from your competitors, which will not flatter you. Clear, concise, meaningful product positioning also helps you cut through the relentless advertising and marketing noise of the marketplace. In your customer’s mind, product positioning gives your messages some context so they can be better heard and accepted.
The goal of product positioning is to keep your product on top of your customers’ mind when they’re considering a purchase. To be successful, product positioning must achieve three objectives: • Differentiate your product from the competition’s • Address important customer buying criteria • Articulate key product (or company) characteristics
Marketing messages and positioning have a lot in common
During the process of generating product positioning strategies, periodically review each one against the following list of characteristics. Is your product positioning strategy: • Single-minded—does it convey one primary message at a time? • Meaningful—will it connect with the target audience? • Differentiating—does it contrast your strengths against the competition? • Important—is it pertinent and significant to the target audience? • Sustainable—will it resonate with the target audience well into the future? • Believable—will it ring true with the target audience? • Credible—can you clearly substantiate your claims?
©On The Mark 2005
The following is a list of some established product positioning strategies. Think about your product in terms of each one and see how they fit. • Against a Competitor: Positioning your product directly against a competitor’s typically requires a specific product superiority claim. A memorable example is Avis Rental Cars’ We’re #2. We try harder. • Away from a Competitor: Positioning yourself as the opposite of your competitor can help you get attention in a market dominated by some other product. A famous example is 7-UP calling itself the Uncola. • Benefits: This strategy focuses on a benefit your product provides to your target audience. Examples include Volvo’s emphasis on safety and Crest toothpaste’s focus on reducing cavities. • Product Attributes: Highlighting a specific attribute of your product can also be compelling. For example, Ritz Carlton hotels focus on luxury; Motel 6 focuses on economy. • Product Categories: Comparing your product to a product in a different category can be an effective way to differentiate yourself. In a soap-compares-itself-to-lotion example, Palmolive dishwashing liquid claims that it softens you hands while you do the dishes. • Usage Occasions: This kind of positioning stresses when or how your product is used by your target audience. Jeep’s focus on off-road driving is an excellent example. • Users: Focusing on the unique characteristics of specific users can also be effective. The …For Dummies series of instruction books are attractive to people who want to learn about a topic from a source that doesn’t assume any prior knowledge on the reader’s part.
let’s get into Position
Recall that successful product positioning strategies should differentiate your product, address important customer...