Positioning is typically the final stage before moving onto tactics (channels and communications).
The concept of positioning was originally developed by Al Ries and Jack Trout and is based on the principle of influencing how your brand is perceived by potential customers. Particularly important to this ideology is to identify how you can differentiate your brand against your competition.
To help build this positioning the 3 C’s Model (developed by Japanese organisational theorist Kenichi Ohmae) is used as a simple framework:
- Customer (the people most likely to buy from you)
- Competitor (your direct competition)
- Company (your business/your brand)
An ideal positioning allows you to present your offering to the customer in a way that appeals to them (based on the customer/segment portrait), and in a way that differentiates you from the competition (delivering something different or better).
This must be something, however, that you (your business/your brand) can communicate and guarantee to supply.
“Positioning is not what you do to the product. Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect.”
Introducing the Benefit Ladder
To help this whole process along and get the most from any possible positioning, it’s a good idea to bring into play what’s called the ‘Benefit Ladder’ – it’s here that we work out what ‘physical and/or emotional’ level the positioning is ideally placed at.
The first step
This generally refers to ‘The Product’ (or service, although in traditional marketing everything is a ‘product’). This is all about product availability: making customers aware of the product and how to get hold of it.
A lot of B2B organisations never get past this step - they talk about the ‘Nuts and Bolts’ of the product and that’s it.
The second step
This is where there’s more focus on product features, and not just what size and colour it is, but what it does and possibly how it works. Nonetheless, it’s pretty much focused inwards and talks purely about itself - “Look at me, aren’t I great!”
The third step
This addresses the product benefits - still focused on itself rather than the customer, the product benefits could be anything from 'simple to use' to 'great value for money'. Sometimes the second and/or third step of the ladder is where comparisons can be drawn between competing products.
The fourth step
This is more about the customer than the product - this is where we address what the actual physical benefits are to the customer. In other words, what the product can do for you - 'solve your problem', 'makes your process more productive', for example.
The final step
The final step of the ladder is the emotional benefit level; not all products get this far, in fact, some are better off not even trying. But those that do can offer benefits along the lines of ‘peace of mind’, 'increased confidence’, and even ‘makes you feel attractive’. Not many B2B products out there that can do that! - so if yours does, flaunt it.
Want to find out how Positioning will work for your business?
Getting the positioning right for any product (or service) is an important part in the development of a successful marketing strategy. Market Orientation, good Segmentation (thanks to research and data), and accurate Targeting are vital to being able to develop a strong Positioning.
Once the Positioning is finalised at this point, we would move onto Tactics. What are the best, most appropriate channels of communication we could use to get your business in front of the people with the greatest propensity to purchase?
“The key to the success of a business is to be different in the mind of the prospect, which is what positioning is all about.”
From orientation, through research, segmentation, targeting and positioning – if these processes are adopted correctly, a greater ROI is achievable on marketing spend, and if the right tactics are implemented and maintained, long term brand building saliency is attainable. To learn how Omnisity can help with your marketing and communications strategy, just give us a call.