A common misconception about marketing is that it’s used to simply get your name out there. It makes sense that the more customers that see your goods or services, the more customers you have buying said goods and services. However, people just knowing about your business is not enough to make them buy what you’re selling. You need to influence their purchase decisions to make them pick you over your competitors.
How do you do that? The answer is Market Positioning. Market Positioning refers to the ability to influence customer perception regarding a brand or product relative to competitors. Its main goal is to establish the image of a brand or product in a customer’s mind so that they perceive it in a certain way. Preferably the way you would like them to perceive it. Market Positioning is typically achieved through what is called the four Ps: promotion, price, place, and product. These are going to be the guideline for developing a Market Positioning strategy. Having a strategy in your marketing efforts is always the best place to start. Of course, the more detailed your positioning strategy is, the more effective it will be.
The Four Ps
The importance of the four Ps is that they form a dynamic relationship with one another. None of them take priority and each one needs to be carefully considered when forming your positioning strategy.
The product is the good or service that is being marketed to the customer. Successful products or services typically include things that are meeting a need of the marketplace. The more options there are for a single good or service, the harder it will be to sell. There will be a few basic questions you need to consider when working on your product if you haven’t already. What is the product? What does your product do? Does it meet an unfulfilled need? What is the target audience? How is your product different from what others offer? If you already have a product you are trying to sell, these questions are still important when you are developing your strategy. Do not skip over them!
When considering the price for your product or service you want to make sure that it is both accessible to your customers and meets your business goals. This aspect of your strategy should be highly considered as it has a large impact on customer consideration. Make sure you thoroughly understand your target market and ensure the product is comparable to your competitors.
The place is where you sell your product or service and the channels you use to get it to your customers. Finding the right place to sell to in the market is important because it can help you connect with your audience. You don’t want to sell your product in a place where your target audience is not frequently visiting. You also need to consider if the place you’re selling your product aligns with your values and your brand.
Promotion is how you advertise your product or service. It allows you to reach your target audience after you have determined the other three Ps. Promoting your product can be done in different ways. The most important things to remember are: what is the best time to reach your target audience, what channels are most effective for reaching them, and what advertising is the most persuasive for your brand, message, and audience. You want to make sure you are promoting your product in a way that resonates with your target audience and influences them to consider your brand over your competitors.
Developing your strategy
Now that you have determined your four Ps you can begin to develop your strategy. There are a few types of positioning strategies that you can use based on where you would like your focus to be. Those can include customer needs, positioning your product as competitively priced, of high quality, or better than your competitors. Regardless of which strategy you use, start with a good foundation.
Create a positioning statement
A positioning statement is a one to two-sentence statement that identifies what it is that makes you stand out from your competitors. The key to a good positioning statement is, once again, determining who your target audience is, what business category they belong in, what the biggest benefit you provide is, and how you can prove you are beneficial. This is going to influence everything your business presents and shares about your product or brand. A good rule of thumb when creating your statement is to start with a vision board. From there, make sure your statement is brief, memorable, remains true to your business values, and includes what you intend to deliver.
Identify your current market position
It’s important to understand where you’re currently sitting among your competitors when starting your positioning strategy. We know that offering a unique and distinct product is essential to standing out, but how well is that really working for you? Take time to distinguish things about your product that are working and things that could use more work. If people are misunderstanding your brand, your strategy will look drastically different than if you just need to change the price of your product. You can also analyze top competitors in your market to model your strategy after. Understanding your competition is just as important as understanding your own brand.
Perform a test on your current market position
Testing allows you to take your new strategy and perform in-depth research about how your target market interacts with your brand. Your testing should be a mixture of qualitative and quantitative research and should include a variety of testing methods. You can use focus groups, one-on-one interviewers, a mass poll, or whatever is most appropriate for your business while also being thorough. These tests will help you determine which parts of your strategy can be solidified and which ones need to be fine-tuned. Making well-informed decisions about your business is key to a successful brand.
Remember that your market positioning strategy drives home the value of your product or service. This is the foundation for how your brand will resonate with your customers and hopefully attract new ones! If you are focused and clear on what you do, who you serve, and why you serve them, you’re sure to start standing out from your competitors in no time.