Positioning is how your customers and potential customers see your product in the marketplace, especially relative to the position of your competitors. Positioning is not just how the product or service is perceived, but also the company that sells or provides this.
Coined in 1969 by Al Ries and Jack Trout, “Positioning is a game people play in today’s me-too market place” as noted in the publication Industrial Marketing. Positioning is also perception happens in the minds of your target market.
It is the aggregate perception the market has of a particular company, product or service in relation to their perceptions of the competitors in the same category.This happens whether or not a company’s management is involved with the on-going process of evolving a position.
Importantly, a company can positively influence the perceptions through well thought out strategies.
Also, two other terms to remember: Re-positioning involves changing the identity of a product, relative to the identity of competing products, in the minds of the target market. De-positioning involves attempting to change the identity of competing products, relative to the identity of your own product, in the collective minds of the target market.
And, what to do about positioning: get the target market to see you (products/wervice/company) in the best possible light.
One good way to do this is get looked on as a reliable resource for information. An expert.
How? Just give free information of interest to your target market.
As a frustrated angler myself let’s say your market is people who like to fish. What they buy are reels, poles, lure…things they need to fish with. You could tell them the “Best Ways To Fish For Salmon, Bass, Trout…The Fine Art Of Fly-Tying…How To Cast For The Best Catch…How To Find The Best Fishing Spots…Cleaning And Cooking Fish In A Snap”. And, so on.
If you sell reels, poles, lure, etc. – then such reports will attract readership from your target market – the people most likely to buy from you. Chances are if those readers found something useful in your report, then they would be interested in reading more. Give it to them – have them sign up on your list.
That is how positioning works, and the reward is great. Having a list built up of targeted, loyal, and responsive prospects is the very best thing you can possibly have in your business.
Not only can you tell them how to catch more fish with the least possible effort, but also how your products can help them to do it even more so. Since you are an expert, it’s only natural that you would have the greatest tools and tackle.
There is a special thing about having a list, so treat it special. Consider it for what it will be – the marketing life-blood of your business.
Most businesses, if they keep lists, just have lists of customers who bought from them, and yet do not even send them as much as a Thank You Note.
The people on your list will have a more connected relationship with you. You are not just a seller to them, and they are not just a customer to you. They will look forward to contact from an expert giving out the latest fishing tips and you will be ready for any questions they might bring you. Your answer will most likely be of interest with your whole list, so share it with all of them.
The more you can make the people feel privileged to be on your list the better. You can give your list exclusive deals, free offers, deep discounts, holiday specials, even the chance to sign-up for a paid subscription service where they get the meanest down and dirty underground secrets of fishing success where the fish don’t stand a chance in Neptune.
This works for any marketing niche you happen to be in, not just fish (which I’ve used as an example). Positioning is the very best way to ‘fish’ for prospects in your market. Lure them with the knowledge and service you provide, and soon you have your own stocked pond full of hungry fish that you can catch over and over again.
It pays to know as much about your market as you can. Communicate with your market about the ups and downs, advantages and disadvantages, progress and problems associated with it. Do what they do, read what they read, know their likes and dislikes, search and study resources.
Above all, look for answers and innovations. Then find a way to use them in your marketing and advertising. People will always be interested in new and better things and are drawn to those who have them.
This will not only help in positioning yourself as an expert, but also in finding ways to position your products or service as having unique benefits. You do this by finding unsolved needs and thinking up solutions. Being the first at something also affirms you as an expert without equal.
This is one way to get your products/service/company positioned in your target market. And, a quick way to do so.
More on positioning in future posts.