Successful positioning means sticking to the plan. Sticking to the plan requires that the position is clearly defined and that you have a strategy for how to achieve what you are aiming at.
A positioning platform will help internal stakeholders to understand how you want to position the product/brand, and what key messages and strategies you intend to use in order to achieve this.
It needs to be clear to sales, customer support, R&D, marketing, distributers and partners - simply everyone involved in developing, marketing and selling the product or brand. Especially for technically complex B2B product, positioning becomes key in aligning people.
A positioning platform with positioning statements, key messages and strategies is always internal. It is developed before copywriters and art directors start to craft on marketing material - but it will make their job easier. And hopefully faster.
Positioning should be built on the real strengths of the brand/product. If you are trying to claim a position through promises that are not really true, internal acceptance will be low. Internal stakeholders such as sales, marketing and partners need to believe what you try to achieve in order to help you build a strong brand.
Positioning statements help companies to stay on target with their position initiatives over time so that people can come and go while the brand stays intact.
A positioning statement defines what position your brand/product aimes to occupy on the market in relation to the direct (and indirect) competitors.
A clear positioning statement should define:
Target: Who your customers are (and their needs)
Offer: What type of products or brand you offer
Value proposition: The benefits/values your brand/product is offering
Differentiation: How you are different - and compared to what type of competitors
Reasons to believe: Why should your customer believe this
If the product you are developing is part of a product category, it's also likely that you need an internal positioning that defines how this product differs from your other products and what value it adds.
Technically complex products can really benefit from having a clear positioning statement since there often is a very diverse set of people you want to adddress. The positioning statement can define how all essential customer categories should relate to and benefit from your product.
Ok, you have defined a positioning. You know what you are aiming for and who you should target. Now it's good to develop some key messages - what are the key things the customer ALWAYS should remember after an interaction with your brand or product?
If you are up against huge global companies where you cannot compete on price or technology, you might aim to provide the best possible service - and positioning yourself as the "serviceminded local good guy". Especially if you know that service is an issue your competitors are struggling with. And if it is important to the customers.
Then you would like your customer to know that you (1) always try to over-achieve expectations, (2) are excessively dedicated to customers and (3) exist to serve. This is of course a bit cheesy but if it's relevant for the target group, it's difficult to argue against.
Your key messages will help you craft your communication and develop strategies for how to interact with your market. There should be one overall key message that is supported by a maximum of 3 sub-messages. The sub-messages could be slightly adjusted for different target groups.
Based on the input from your collected market insights, you should be able to define your strategy and strategic tactics. By knowing your strengths and weaknesses, you will know what to focus on. Could be that one of your weaknesses is a factor that is missing in order to achieve success.
Trying to do too many things, communicating in too many channels or pushing out too many messages is the most common mistake many companies do. Analyse the input from your collected market insight to develop strategies and tactics moving forward: what channels/tactics/initiatives should you focus on in order to succeed with your positioning. Focus is key.
At this step, when you are defining your strategy and messages it can also be relevant with a workshop with key internal stakeholders that are truly involved in the products to confirm your strategy and to get acceptance.
Depending on the product and the relation to your customers, messages should be tested with your clients. This can be done in several ways but requires ingenuity. Workshops, interviews, A/B testing are some ways..
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