Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Positioning your Company or Product in the Minds of the World.

What is Positioning?  The outstanding book by Al Ries and Jack Trout should be your FIRST stop on the topic.  Those excellent narrators bring to life a concept that can seem boring; but is truly vital to the success of a product.  If you do not have a "Position" for your product... you are almost certainly doomed to fail.

Consider, when you go shopping, say for a new car, how do you choose what to buy?  If you are interested quality? Toyota.  Great Driving? BMW. Amazing Safety?  Volvo.  

In order to properly market your product, you must find a position for your brand... this means finding a place "in the mind of your target customers" for your product to live.  Imagine your target customer has a limited capacity for remembering things (certainly true)..and you get 1 shot to 'place your product in the filing cabinet of your prospects mind'... what do you want them to remember?  The idea of positioning is that IF you can get it into their mind WITH a position; it will be easier to file away.  (rather than into the 'misc' category, your prospects file it in the "Safest" category or the "Best Value/Cheap" category or the "Highest Quality/Expensive" category or the "Funnest" category or whatever.

With my good friend Barry Raskin, I have adopted a formal sentence structure that helps guide the development of a "positioning statement"... can you fill out this sentence?  Can everyone on the product team?

" _(  YOUR COMPANY/PRODUCT/BRAND  )_  is a _______  that does ____________ for ________.

UNLIKE OTHER _____________ we do _________________________.

Having trouble?  You are not alone.  About 90% of the start-ups I encounter have never thought of their products in this simple and critical way.

This will FORCE you to put a position on your product.  This sentence is not something you share with the world (necessarily).  It is an internal guide to keep marketing focused and what you want to 'imprint' on people who encounter your product/brand.

There is a whole bunch more psychology and tips that the book (below) goes into.  I'll leave you with 1 final tip from my own experience.  When you sit down and do this exercise, you'll realize quickly that the "for ____" is a vital part.  If you are not TARGETING a well define market... your POSITIONING will fail.  Start with the target market first... then find a position in their minds you can occupy.

It is even better when you can occupy a position that nobody else has claimed yet.  The "Most, Best, Fastest" or similar terms are what you are shooting for!

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