Without smart positioning, the most well-researched and well-developed product can lose its competitive edge in the marketplace.
Product positioning is one of the strategies in the arsenal of the long and happy existence of your product — but what exactly is it, and why does it matter?
What is Product Positioning, and Why Does It Matter?
Product positioning is the name for how consumers think about a brand. . It enables you to present your product to your target market under the best possible circumstances and is an essential element of your marketing plan.
Product positioning assists advertisers, product developers, and product teams with many aspects of product marketing, such as:
- Explaining the value of your product to your customers
- Defining what makes your product or service stand out from your competitors
- Identifying your target audience and how your product or service can address their needs
- Establishing and maintaining awareness around your product or service
Information You’ll Need To Know About Your Product and Your Market
It’s important to know your product and your target market inside and out when developing your product positioning strategy. Luckily, many of the core building blocks of your existing marketing strategy will contribute to developing an effective product positioning strategy and will help highlight the unique value of your product or service.
This is your “why” — why does your product or service exist? What is the problem it’s solving and how do you envision your customers using it? Defining your mission will also help you to think more clearly about how to bring your market.
Your market category is your competition zone. What kind of product or service are you offering? Whether you are entering an established or emerging market, or creating an entirely new market category, this is your opportunity to determine who you’re up against.
Customer Pain Points
Do you know what your customers’ primary pain points are? Does your product or service address one or, better yet, all of them? How can you more expertly position your product or service as a solution to these challenges?
As you consider your customers’ journey and how your product can solve their common pain points, you can create a user persona card for the entire product team to reference.
Company and Product Differentiators
Depending on your target market, someone else has probably already tried to address the same problem. So the key is to clearly define why and how your product or service provides a better solution for the problem. In a saturated marketplace, it’s crucial to differentiate your product from the competition.
For each of these brands, the company name doesn’t need to be present within the logo for someone to know exactly what the brand is. In fact, the logo may evoke some kind of emotion in you. This is the unrivaled test of a strong brand identity.
To create an effective logo, think about what you would like your brand to be known for. This process may take some time because it requires collective introspection, vision, and creativity.
Consider your overall product vision as part of your product positioning. Tapping into your motivations for creating your product will help you clearly define your service or product’s immediate value and growth potential.
Product Positioning Statement
With these foundational marketing elements, you will be ready to begin developing a solid product positioning statement. This will be the heart of your strategic marketing and customer messaging.
A successful product positioning statement will describe your service or product and its value to your target viewers.
Once the entire product team agrees on the product positioning statement, you can draft a creative customer-facing tagline.
Common Mistakes and Oversights To Avoid
Most products and services that are not correctly positioned within the target marketplace ultimately end up failing before they have a chance to get in consumers’ hands. If you want to formulate a product positioning strategy for a new product or service, there are three common mistakes and oversights to avoid:
>> Mistake #1: Failing to Do Primary Research
Without conducting primary research on your target audience, you won’t uncover any useful customer insights. Understanding your customers’ motivations, wants, and needs is crucial to the development of your product positioning strategy, so talk to as many of them as you possibly can.
Study your customer’s problems and explore the different ways that you can help solve them. The more time you spend understanding their problems, the better.
>>Mistake #2: Product Launch When the Market isn’t Ready
Prematurely introducing a poorly positioned product or service into the market is, needless to say, another mistake to avoid.
Take, for example, Apple’s Newton PDA, introduced to the electronics marketplace in 1993. The consumers of the early 1990s were not yet accustomed to mobile phones, and consumer pagers, or “beepers”, were the key tools used for mobile networking and communication. Additionally, the Newton PDA was highly criticized for its poor handwriting recognition and, what many considered, its exorbitant price tag.
>> Mistake #3: Trusting Your Gut
Your product positioning strategy is not a marketing model you want to develop on “gut instinct.” Primary research is a much more reliable and accurate way to determine if your product positioning strategy is resonating directly with your audience.
Take note of how your customers respond when you present your product positioning strategy — if they seem excited and want to hear more, you’re on the right track. If not, then your “gut” might be wrong, and it’s time to revisit your assumptions and conduct more research.
Executing Your Product Positioning Strategy
Executing your product positioning strategy is not a one-person job. It requires the expertise of both the product management and product marketing teams. You’ll need to bring together your knowledge of the following areas:
Understand who your customers are.
Your product positioning should succinctly capture who your customers are and what they need. Describe attributes of your target audience, including demographic, psychographic, behavioral, and geographic details. You’ll also want to provide insights into the main problems the customer is trying to solve.
Analyze the market.
You need to know the alternative products available to your customers so you can highlight what sets you apart. Research your direct and indirect competitors to get a sense of how they serve your customers’ needs. This will help you to differentiate your product or service from the competition and help your potential customers understand why your product is the best solution for their needs.
Assess the product.
Lastly, to execute your product positioning strategy, it must be built on the unique value your brand and product provides. Conducting a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis is a useful way to objectively analyze what your product or service does well and where it can do better. This ensures that your marketing message aligns with the product experience.
Not sure how to conduct a SWOT analysis? Kissmetrics can help. Our product and marketing analytics solution is one-of-a-kind and will make it much easier to understand who your most valuable customers are and where they are coming from to help you execute an amazing product positioning strategy.
In today’s highly commoditized and saturated markets, effective product positioning is critical for standing out.
To get your product positioning right, use an analytics tool like Kissmetrics to understand who your most valuable customers are and where they come from. Interview your customers and study their problems. Keep your product positioning strategy to a single page, and be sure to wrap it around why customers buy and why they should buy from you.
With great product positioning and the help of Kissmetrics, you are sure to set your brand apart in the marketplace.