Product Positioning – Here’s everything for you
Running a business? And still not succeeding after years of working hard to create better products than your competitors? The reason there may be bigger than you’d have thought. My bet would be on the product positioning.
Well, a lot of lesser-known companies and businesses are trying to focus on improving the specific features of their products. But how would their customers know that their products are even worth trying? Without proper marketing and positioning? They simply won’t.
It’s because most of those companies do not think and study about building the brand image in the eyes of their potential customers.
Want your business to succeed? Just learn to do one thing. Position your product or brand effectively.
Don’t know what product positioning is? In simple words, it’s the process of creating a specific image of a product or a brand in the minds of potential customers. It highlights the stand-out features of the product as compared to its competitors. It makes a product more attractive to the target audience.
Why Is Product positioning Even Important?
Positing a product is simply like winning the hearts of the customers. If the customers are satisfied with a properly positioned product, why would they not go for it instead of its competitors? They always would. That’s what makes the businesses grow.
This technique is equally useful for small and medium businesses as well. Small business entities do not have huge marketing budgets. However, they can still use the marketing budget to position their product. Once they do it efficiently, they’d want to keep doing it when their business would expand afterward.
The sole focus of the marketing should be on getting your product positioning right. Product positioning is a crucial aspect of marketing strategies. The product positioning provides a channel for understanding how to present the product in the market.
It is vital to know the needs of consumers and the competitor’s position.
Key Factors of Product positioning
Your customers would always have an opinion or feedback on your product. Such feedback would rely on the experience, price, or features of the product. Product positioning helps in showing the right features of your product to the right audience.
The main purpose of the product positioning is to introduce a product. Positioning expresses its meaning and features effectively.
A successful strategy in this regard makes the product distinctive from the competitors.
But for that, you need to take care of a few things:
1. Knowing The Customer Needs
You need to know exactly who your target audience would be and what the customers require to fulfill their needs. It is the very first step in starting to implement a product position. Know the needs of your customer. Understand the needs of the consumer. That would also help in reaching out to your audience using the right communication channels.
2. Get An Edge Over Your Competitors
Knowing how your competitors are doing in the market is also critical. The positioning would only become successful when the product features are conveyed to the target audience.
It is also necessary to know how your product or brand is different from your competitors and what advantages it holds over them. You have to convince your customers that your product is better than others. Try to outplay your competition by being better and never under-estimating them in the market.
3. Maintain Your Product Position
Good positioning is hard to achieve. Once you have done that part and achieved an exceptional positioning, don’t relax too much, don’t ruin it. Keep your quality high. Meet the expectations of your customers.
Maintain That Level
4. Use Proper and Effective Channels To Communicate
Once you have worked out a plan for your brand positioning, effective communication is the key to taking your brand to the next level.
It is crucial to use effective and proper channels to convey what you want to tell about your brand and product.
You have to keep everyone in mind while using the correct channels. Use that medium of communication that is available to the masses and is easily accessible as well.
5. Optimize Your Product positioning
Note that product positioning is a lengthy process. Trends and needs are almost always changing with time, so would be your positioning strategies. So you can never rest. Always keep an eye out for new ideas, new trends, and any emerging needs to keep your product or brand as well-positioned as before. Do not be caught off-guard.
Keep doing the market research. Keep collecting the data. Be result-oriented and data-driven so that your product positioning would have a very strong foundation.
6. Have a Unique Selling Proposition
If a product has any USPs, some features of that product would be distinct and different from previously released versions. Every product should have USPs. Businesses have to build USPs for their products and convey them to the target audience.
Without a USP, it would be difficult for the customers to know the features of your product. And how it would be different from the alternatives available in the market. Communicate the USP through the desired channels.
Recap Of Key Factors and CheckList for Product positioning
Let’s quickly go through the positioning checklist. This would make sure that we are doing everything right to achieve our goal. It would also help position the product as effectively as possible:
- Choose a marketplace and define your target audience
- Collect relevant data from the market. Go for market surveys and questionnaires. Know about the desires and exact needs of your potential customers.
- Study and identify the features of your product and how it is going to fulfill the needs of your customers
- Study the competitors. See what they are doing and how they are faring. Devise strategies to do better than them in the market. Cover all the loopholes left by your competitors in your plans.
- Go for product positioning and keep an eye on the results. Keep tweaking your factors and strategy until you get the desired results.
- Keep an eye on the changing trends, demands, and needs of your customers. Alter your product and strategies accordingly.
- Keep your position sustained.
What Are Different Product positioning Strategies
You have to know and understand what you are trying to do in your product positioning and how will you achieve it. Advertisers apply various positioning techniques. Some are targeting the product qualities, others are targeting the prices. Let’s briefly go through the product positioning strategies:
Product positioning Based on Product Characteristics
Products are placed on unique product qualities or luxury. For example, the company Caterpillar (CAT) makes highly durable and stress-resistant shoes. They are perfect for rough terrains where shoes of other brands would experience excessive wear and tear. Hence, CAT shoes are known are their durability instead of their high price even though they are more expensive than most.
Likewise, if we look at software, Adobe PhotoShop reflects more reliability and customer preference when it comes to editing pictures. It gives a wider range of options than other software like Canva.
Product positioning Based on Brand Image
Sometimes, positioning is done based on the brand personality and image. The brand is shown to portray a specific characteristic associated with a certain quality. The dimensions of brand personality are “Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophistication, and Ruggedness”. The products then try to fit into any one of these 5 traits and tend to show that they give out such signals of these personality traits.
Typical examples would be Tag Heuer & Apple which portray sophistication. Caterpillar shows ruggedness, and Cadbury shows sincerity.
Product Positioning Based on Product Use and Applications
Products can be improved or changed according to the demands and advantages they offer. For example, Garnier Fructis started making a hair care solution 2-in-1 (shampoo + conditioner) in the same bottle instead of selling the shampoo and conditioners separately. It was a strategy to boost their sales.
Time and Event-Driven Positioning
Products may also be positioned on related events and certain times. For example, the sales of face masks and hand sanitizers saw a HUGE boost when COVID started spreading at a fast pace. They were not being sold in such high numbers before.
As another example, the world-famous computer virus MyDoom caused a worldwide loss of $38 billion in 2004 and boosted the sales of anti-virus software in the following years due to the threats it posed.
Product Positioning Based on Target Market
Products can also target a specific group of people. For example, the online Grammarly app and the browser extension are specifically designed to help content writers avoid grammatical and composition mistakes and set the tone of their content.
Product Positioning Based on Competition
A product/service can also be made to compete against a direct competitor. For example, Bitdefender antivirus claims to give a better value for money than its competitors.
Items of the same product groups can also be placed against each other. For example, computer antivirus software McAfee, Norton, and Kaspersky fiercely compete with each other based on more reliable and stellar performance.
Positioning Based on Symbols
The marketing teams of many companies use symbols to portray the related emotions or significance. For example, the official logo of the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) is a panda that signifies harmless nature and all the endangered species of the world. It represents the commitment of WWF to keep working for wildlife protection. Similarly, Wikipedia’s logo is a puzzle Globe inscribed with symbols and alphabets to signify the vast knowledge it holds in almost every subject known to human beings.
Developing and Sustaining a Product Positioning Strategy
Now you have successfully developed a positioning strategy and confirmed its working model. What’s next? Probably something equally important. That is; how to sustain that perfect product position once achieved?
Let’s see how.
Keep An Eye On The Market Trends and Customer Needs
Positioning a product is just about creating an image in the minds of the people. Hence, it deals with every kind of service, product, and brand. From production to consumption, it tends to create a specific image for the customers.
As per its role, positioning gets a product noticed in the market among the target audience. Once it has been achieved and the product has gained the trust of the customers, it is really necessary to maintain this level. The positioning then needs to be sustained.
To sustain the product positioning, thorough market research is required. Customer behavior and changes in market trends have to be taken into account. The product should be upgraded or modified to cater to the needs of the market audience.
Planned Resource Usage
Small businesses do not have an unlimited or vast amount of budgets for marketing purposes. They have to make do with what’s available.
Once they have gained a product position, small companies or business owners should not seek to expand their business outside their financial reach. Use the resources you have at your disposal to be very specific in positioning processes. Even if your competitor brands or products are evolving fast, you shouldn’t get emotional and focus your energies elsewhere. Be steady and only play to your strengths. Do not run after winning the competition by any means necessary. Reach the desired point first and then take the next step forward.
Creativity In Ideas
People love innovation. Always keep thinking creatively. Listen to what your employees have to say. They may give an idea worthy of implementation. Encourage them to take part in the decision-making progress. Incorporate any good ideas in your strategies and see if they can bring in better results. Otherwise, you can always tweak your policy any time you’d want to.
A good product position would ensure that your product remains encouraging for your target audience in the market. Hence, a good product positioning can help businesses expand and even survive exceptionally well in a tough economy. But that would only be if we are doing the positioning by playing to its strengths. We have to complete all the relevant research and plan for every step on the way to building a perfect brand.
Ready to do that all? Great. Hoping to hear about your brand in the market soon.
You have more to cover: Branding- the first step of a successful business