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Does it ever seem like you’re actively competing against 2,422,404 other Australian businesses? Or 582 million entrepreneurs around the world? Statistics like these highlight just how important it is to stand out from all of that competition. But how can you ensure you have a strategy in place that differentiates your brand and products?
Whether you’re aware of it or not, your brand and product already have positions in the marketplace. And if you aren’t standing out, then you’re not positioning. So, here’s everything you need for successfully positioning your brand and your products in the marketplace for 2021 and beyond.
What is positioning in marketing?
Positioning refers to the place you want your brand or product to have within a particular target market. More specifically, the process of market positioning and brand positioning involves how you market your brand or product to consumers to achieve that position.
The aim of positioning in marketing is to establish or sway how consumers perceive you to gain a competitive advantage. A great positioning strategy elevates marketing efforts to help consumers move from knowing about a brand to deciding to purchase a product. And as positioning can sometimes be subtle, it’s usually easier to detect when viewing from the same angle as a consumer.
For example, look at Burger King’s brilliant advertisement “Why eat with the clown when you can dine with a king?”. Not only does it suggest that Burger King has a higher class of dining experience than McDonald’s, but it’s also an excellent example of how positioning in marketing operates.
Positioning requires ongoing marketing initiatives for the brand, which must also be maintained over the life of each product. Doing this when running a business also reinforces the target market’s perceptions of both the brand and the product.
Remember that every brand and product has a place somewhere within the market, whether you cultivate your position or not. Once you understand what is positioning in marketing, you can start taking control of your brand’s reputation and product image.
Why is market positioning important?
Market positioning is a crucial element of any marketing plan because it impacts all aspects of your business. When done effectively, positioning quickly informs recipients of all of your marketing messages everything they need to know about your product, service, or brand. That’s why positioning should be the foundation for everything to do with marketing.
Market positioning influences how your market sees your brand and how you present your products to your target audience. It’s fundamental for consumers to make purchasing choices out of the complex array of offerings. It’s how businesses can compete within a crowded marketplace for each customer’s attention, preference, money, and ongoing loyalty.
Positioning is the single biggest influence on consumers deciding to buy. Good positioning entices prospective customers to find out more about your brand’s products. Great positioning entices existing customers to continue purchasing your brand’s products. Therefore, positioning strategies should always be connected intimately to the whole concept of target markets.
Types of positioning strategies
While there are a wide variety of options to consider, positioning strategies are typically broken down into three specific categories. These three types of positioning strategies are known as comparative, differentiation, and segmentation.
This positioning strategy works by comparing multiple products or brands to create a competitive edge and highlight their individual value.
By focusing on any unique features which ideally can’t be duplicated, a differentiation positioning strategy ensures a brand’s products will stand out from the competition.
In situations where there are multiple target audiences, a segmentation positioning strategy focuses on the different specific needs of each group.
Perceptual maps & positioning maps
Perceptual and positioning maps are effective marketing tools that help businesses develop positioning strategies for their brand, product or service. Both maps typically have two lines along the X and Y axis, with the end of each line representing the extremes of two key variables such as quality or price.
Once each line has been drawn and labelled with the specific criteria, existing brands or their products are placed onto the map. Once you have decided where your competitors belong on the map, you can place your brand or product depending on which map you are creating. You can also create multiple versions of each map with different sets of variables.
As both of these maps look similar and have somewhat interrelated concepts, the terms perceptual and positioning are often used interchangeably. But there’s actually some key differences between how perceptual maps and positioning maps are created and interpreted.
1. Perceptual map
A perceptual map shows the positioning of how consumers view competing brands or dominant products within the current marketplace. It’s critical to understand that a perceptual map only measures perception, as there is typically a difference between consumer opinion and market reality.
It doesn’t show the actual brand positioning or your desired positioning goals, but a perceptual map is still very useful for market positioning. It helps visualise how consumers perceive your products compared to the competition. Businesses can also create a perceptual map to identify any gaps or opportunities within the perceived marketplace.
It’s also important to remember that this map is created using consumer perceptions, and people often view things differently. So a perceptual map may not always match the actual characteristics of a product or the intended image of a brand.
2. Positioning map
They both have similar concepts, but the main difference is that a positioning map doesn’t measure consumer perceptions of products or brands. Instead, a positioning map consists of different attributes essential for visualising the actual market positioning of competing brands or products.
As positioning maps identify where existing brands and products are positioned within the current marketplace, businesses then have a few different options to create positioning goals. They can either choose a position on the map that fills a gap in the current market, or a position where they are in direct competition with existing brands or products.
How to create a positioning strategy
To successfully create a positioning strategy, you need to create a positioning statement. This requires identifying your uniqueness to determine what differentiates your brand or product from the competition. Plus, you also need to focus on potential customers in your target audience in order to see how they work for your positioning.
While positioning is often used broadly to describe a marketing strategy, it’s actually more of an element of a strategy rather than the strategy itself. There are six key steps that we’ve listed below to help effectively clarify brand positioning within the marketplace.
Determine Your Current Positioning
Identify Your Direct Competitor’s Positioning
Compare Positioning To Identify Uniqueness
Develop A Distinctive Positioning Idea
Create A Positioning Statement
Test Efficacy Of Your Brand Positioning
Position your business for success
Positioning in marketing takes a great deal of time, detail, and commitment. But it’s impossible to grow without understanding where you’re starting from. And once you understand your unique position and your positioning goals, you can start competing properly for your share of the market.
If you want to grow your business while creating deeper consumer connections, it begins with choosing a position in the market. By establishing effective positioning, you can ensure your campaign messaging and social media marketing are always an accurate reflection of your brand’s mission statement. Your positioning in marketing must always be in alignment with your brand.
Once you have a solid understanding of how positioning works, you’ll be able to position your business as uniquely different from the competition. Which will ultimately help increase the chances of finding the best position to create a financially sustainable future for your products and your brand.