22 Sep Five Tips for Perfecting Your Positioning
Are you in the right position to make the play? Just as you need to be in the right position to score a goal in soccer, so too do you need to be in the right position to reach your goals in business. Thinking through your company’s position in the marketplace can help you define where you are headed, what customers you want to serve, and what path to take to get you there. Positioning helps define who you are to the marketplace. You can allow customers to formulate their own perceptions, or you can proactively tell your customers how they should view your company, your product, or your service. Following are five tips to think through as you develop or validate your company’s position in the marketplace.
1. Define Your Focus. Define what you are and what you are not. This is perhaps the most difficult part of the process as it requires the possible elimination of unrelated revenue streams, reduction of products and services that are not part of your core competency, and sacrificing of customers that are not part of your defined target market. No one wants to give up money, things they like to do/sell, or customers! So, why define your focus? You cannot be all things to all people—and expect success. So, think through who you are, what business you are in and the target market that you are trying to serve. For your customers to choose you, you need to choose them.
2. Create Customer Value. Positioning statements and brands that have no inherent value to the customer will not withstand the test of time. All too often, we position our business based on what we think is good with little understanding of what our customers are looking for and willing to purchase. Companies with good positioning have done the market research to find out what value their customers are looking for. When positioning your company, make it a priority to understand your customers, and clearly state the value you provide in a way that is easily understandable to your customer.
3. Differentiate Yourself. Not only is it important to define the value you provide to the customer, but also to define the unique benefit you provide. What is different about your company? Do you have a specific niche that you excel in? Do you serve a specific industry? Are you always on time? Do you guarantee your work? These are all ways in which you can differentiate yourself from your competitors—creating a perception in the mind of the customer that your company is not only different from the rest, but better.
4. Be Consistent. Your positioning is worthless if you change it every month. Customers will not work hard to understand who you are and what you can do for them. Think about the last time you shopped for a product or service. Do you automatically go to the company that you know provides what you are looking for? If you comparison shop, how long do you look around a store, a Web site, or meet with a potential vendor to figure out if they provide what you need? Your positioning and key messages should be used consistently across all marketing mediums: in meetings, in presentations, in collateral, on the web, etc. Don’t make your customers work to know who you are and what you can do for them. Tell them and help them remember by consistently communicating the same message at every opportunity.
5. Communicate Constantly. Once you have clearly defined your positioning statement and brand, communicate it relentlessly. When you say the same thing over and over, you become familiar to your customers and they know what to expect. Your company becomes prominent in the marketplace and constant communication maintains this visibility. In your industry, which companies are the most prominent? Do you see them in the industry press, in newsletters, at conferences? Are they everywhere—telling customers who they are and what value they bring? It is this constancy of communication that creates the perception of market leadership. Quality products and delivery solidifies this view, and the cycle of success continue.
If you’re struggling with your positioning, check out the ways we have helped companies define their positioning and inspire people to become customers and stay customers.