What is positioning and how do you do it?

Positioning-eBook-CoverPositioning is one of the most misunderstood concepts in business-to-business (B2B) software marketing. Most companies don’t really know what is it or how to do it, thus are doomed to failure.  It’s not taught in business schools, and there are few proven methodologies out there.

Yet who can dispute the importance of positioning if you realize it communicates the unique benefit of your product or service? In Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey Moore writes, “Positioning is the single largest influence on the buying decision.”

Moore describes a position as a buyer’s shorthand for the best solution for a particular problem. What Moore and others haven’t done is tell you how to go about establishing a position. Some experts say there’s no formal way to position, no step-by-step method to follow to stake out a unique position in your market. I beg to differ. In fact, that’s exactly what FutureSight provides for its clients.

A position is a mental space that you can “own” with an idea that has compelling meaning to the recipient. In that mental space, the product or service benefit and the customer’s most important needs meet, and hopefully form a meaningful relationship.

We teach a process, or methodology, that many companies have used successfully to greatly improve awareness and demand while reducing their cost of creating marketing materials. The objective is to develop a message strategy that most effectively expresses your position. A strong message strategy will accelerate the marketing-sales process, because it will heighten awareness and convey the reasons that lift you into the top rank of the prospect’s consideration set. From there, you’re at least in shooting distance of making the sale.

Here’s a quick summary of the positioning methodology we teach and use:

The first step in developing a compelling positioning statement – answer three fundamental questions:

  • What problem does this product solve? Document the most pressing problems your customers tell you they have. Create a narrative of three to five problems and rank them.
  • How are people solving that problem today?
  • Why is our product a better solution?

The second step is to evaluate the competition:

  • Analyze advertisements, web sites and other marketing materials
  • Determine each competitors’ positioning statement
  • Identify any opportunities to claim competitive space that is not claimed by others

The third step – answer the three Whats:

  • What is it? (Product, service or solution category)
  • What does it do? (Description)
  • What does it deliver? (Benefit)

What it delivers (a benefit) is typically very close to the right position for your product, service or solution. Sounds easy but there’s a lot more to it. You need a way to evaluate your positioning strategy and much more.

For more information on our positioning methodology, please read our eBook:

Positioning: How to Speak so the Market will Listen

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