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Perfecting Positioning – Who Are You And Why Should We Care?

It is a very common motivation to be the best, and rightfully so. You want to be the best at your career to gain success and hopefully money. You want to be the best athlete to break new ground and set higher goals. You want to be the best parent, partner, or friend to gain support and to put meaning into your life. Whatever it is, you want to be the best, but it is finding specifically what you want to be the best at can be challenging. In marketing, we call this positioning. April Dunford, a world-renowned positioning expert, explains how you can find what position you should place your product to show off its best features. One of the best ways to approach this is by answering a few questions.
  1. What is it (your product)?
  2. Why should I care?

That’s awesome, but what is positioning

April defines positioning as how your product is the best in the world at providing SOMETHING that a well-defined set of CUSTOMERS cares a lot about. When you know WHAT your product is you can better market to your customers on why they should CARE about the product or service you are offering.

Think of it this way

Postioning seems easy but more times than not businesses position themselves in the wrong market. When you put your product or service in a market category a lot of assumptions can be made before you even explain what your features, audience, or prices are. April told a story about a group of ex-lawyers that had developed an email software for lawyers. They showed her a demo and it had a lot of amazing features and potential, but they were missing vital pieces that would help them compete in the email software market. The biggest of these was that their email software didn’t have a calendar. April asked them where it was, and they politely explained that they don’t have one. When she asked why they told her they couldn’t make one. So how are they supposed to compete with other emails such as Gmail and Outlook if they don’t have a calendar? Well to put it plainly, they don’t and here is why. What their product had that Gmail and Outlook did not was the software’s ability to send secure documents to the recipients that need them. It can detect who is supposed to receive the document(s) and who isn’t. In other words, this software is not an email service. They had positioned themselves in the wrong market and it left people confused as to what they were trying to sell, and the business suffered from it. After working with the sales team and learning about the software itself, April was able to shift them into the right market and sales skyrocketed. The business became a huge success because people had a better understanding of what the product was, and it made it easier to explain to them why they should care.

I understand it now, but how do I find my position?

As you go through any rebranding or positioning within your company think about these 5 components to positioning:
  1. Alternatives – If you didn’t exist, what would your customers use?
  2. Unique Attributes – What features/capabilities do you have that alternatives don’t?
  3. Value – What value does the attribute(s) enable for customers?
  4. Market Category – Who cares a lot about that value?
  5. Customers Segments – What context makes the value obvious to your target segments?
Answering and understanding these questions will help provide you an idea of where you should position your product in a specific market. To learn more check out April’s Book, Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning So Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It. She explains more in-depth about positioning and provides useful tips, and things to think about when positioning your product.
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