Product Positioning

Product Positioning

If you come up with an awesome product (or service) but nobody actually understands it, you believe it is so simple but your audience can’t figure it out, people start comparing your product with others which are nothing alike at all, you may have a Positioning problem.

You may interpret this as a sales or marketing problem or blame yourself for not communicating clearly with prospects but even with spending more on marketing or doing perfect presentations nothing changes.

Positioning is a well known marketing term but knowing how to do it right is more complex than the definition of the term. It is the result of a series of activities and decisions which deliberately defines how and why your product is the best compared to what the market values the most currently. Especially, since every single marketing and sales strategy that we set uses positioning as initial input, it is critical to do it right otherwise the results will be far away from what expected. 

As human beings, when we face something new, we will try to make sense out of it by using our experience and clues from what we have known before to determine how we should think about this new thing. Without previous or some existing context, products are very difficult to understand. At the same time, when you create a solution, develop a new product, or introduce something innovative to the market, you most likely love it too much to realize the market does not think the way that you do. 

If we fail at positioning, we fail at marketing and sales.

If we fail at marketing and sales, the entire business fails. 

The symptoms of positioning problem

  1. Your current customers love you, but new prospects can’t figure out what you’re selling.

    It takes almost forever trying to explain what you are selling and very few result in closing deals. If people can’t understand what you do as a result they will come up with their own version of definition which most definitely hides your KPIs or misrepresents your values.

  2. Your company has long sales cycles and low close rates, and you’re losing out to the competition.

    A strong positioning makes your product’s value obvious, attracts new customers and sells quickly in the market. A clear and accurate positioning increases the efficiency of your sales efforts through attracting great fit customers and moving through the buying process smoothly. 

  3. You have high customer attrition.

    Do many customers drop shortly after they make a purchase while new customers are constantly asking for some features which you do not have any plans about? Customers who misunderstood your values in the first place, chose it for the wrong reasons and will try to recover their loss by morfing your product into what they thought they were buying. 

    In the worst case, you may even spend resources on building those features for regretting customers, trying to make them happy while forgetting about the real customers who are already in love with your product. With a weak positioning but a strong marketing and sales team, your  efforts will lead to generating some leads but they are going to abandon your product soon anyways.

  4. You’re under price pressure.

    Customers are always nagging about your prices being too high and say it is not fair to charge this price for something that seems just like other products on the market. This is one of the signs for  weakly positioned products which usually seems as they offer just a little more than their competitors. Correct positioning helps to understand how and why you are the leader in your segment and what you offer has considerably higher value compared to competitors. 

How does the positioning process work for start ups vs. large companies? | April Dunford

The essential components of positioning

  1. Competitive alternatives.

    What customers would do if your solution didn’t exist.

  2. Unique attributes.

    The features and capabilities that you have and the alternatives lack. 

  3. Value.

    The benefit that those features enable for customers.

  4. Target market characteristics.
    The characteristics of a group of buyers that lead them to really care a lot about the value you deliver.
  5. Market category.
    The market you describe yourself as being part of, to help customers understand your value.

  6. Relevant trends.
    Trends that your target customers understand and/or are interested in that can help make your product more relevant right now. 

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