Positioning products and services in the marketplace is the process of intentionally making a decision as to where you want to inhabit within the value scale of your target customers estimation. A cogent and thoughtfully planned out positioning campaign involves accounting for the available communication channels that we will use to communicate with our target market, the competitive pressures, our customers needs, and messaging that is crafted carefully towards the objective.
Now all of this depends on how our target customer actually receives us. Because certainly we can take that intentional step, crafting our message, and although we have a desire to position ourselves at a perhaps higher perceived value, at the end of it, the interaction that occurs between our efforts and the response of our target consumer is going to determine where we eventually end up. In other words, it is good to understand that we are making an effort towards reaching an objective, and that objective is how our target customers perceive us, it is our customer that will ultimately determine our position.
Positioning products and services in the marketplace
Positioning products and services in the marketplace requires understanding who we are going after. When we define that group that we want to engage, in order to be successful at it, we want to understand their characteristics, what they value, their personality / lifestyle attributes, because this information will help us to position our product or service in relation to their value scale.
In this area we talk about niche a lot, and selecting a niche is really what positioning is about. When we select a niche we are making the decision to go after a defined and focused segment of the market. So for instance instead of saying that our product or service is for everyone, instead we say our product is for women who are between 30 and 36 years old, and who works in marketing and makes $60,000+ a year, is married and enjoys the outdoors.
Because we have defined the attributes of this profile customer’s lifestyle, we can then develop messaging that hits at those points and will resonate with that type of person. This is our niche and this is positioning our product or service for success with that target group.
Positioning your business by communication.
What we communicate and the way in which we communicate is important in helping us to differentiate ourselves from the numerous competitors in the market. Effectively communicating a clear message helps in positioning products and services in the marketplace where it will command a higher perceived value or a lower perceived value. And guess what, this is applicable in any size business, but especially in growing businesses.
Communicating isn’t simply what you communicate through TV advertising or through words. Communication is everything from the way that your customer service engages customers, your presentation, the location you open a store in, to the way that your store looks, communication is every engagement with your target group. (Think about a used car sales lot, and a Mercedes-Benz dealership). And that engagement should be in relation to where you want to position yourself, and how you want your target customers to perceive you. Positioning is perception management, and its achieved through communication.
Examples of positioning in the marketplace.
It’s as simple as this, consider your local convenience store, and then consider a large chain supermarket. The prices are different, the approach is different and it should be different. The convenience store has a particular niche that it is focused on, and the supermarket has a different niche that it is focused on. If one tried to play by the others rules, it will crumble, the business model simply will not work.
Another example consider Microsoft and Apple, when we buy Apple products, it has a higher perceived value, and we are willing to pay a lot more for an Apple computer, or an iPhone or, a $200 wireless headphone. Now most of us will not pay so much for a Sony wireless headphone, or a HP computer, or an Asus laptop. Think about that for a moment.
The reason why we pay more for an Apple, is because of their positioning, they’re messaging, and the value that they command from those efforts. Their focus on positioning is infused at every point of contact with the user. That’s the difference. And seeing that example, you can start to see the benefit of positioning appropriately. Microsoft makes great products also, and they have their own niche, and are doing very well, however Apple came along later and defined their own niche.
The core objective of positioning in the marketplace.
Revisiting this topic, the core objective of positioning in the marketplace is so that the things that you do, and your efforts resonate with your customers. It’s about clearly articulating your product and or services to that specific targeted group, so that they see the value for themselves before they purchase your product and or service.
What our customer experiences for instance when they engage our business is the result of our efforts on positioning. Understanding what your customers need and what they want helps to delineate and target those things that they value. Understanding the other competitors in the marketplace and how they are positioning themselves helps you position yourself in a place where you’re not competing directly with another competitor.
That should be clear enough. If you have any questions about positioning your product and or services please feel free to reach out.