Marketing positioning: what is it?
What is marketing positioning?
Marketing positioning is how your offer and/or business is perceived by consumers. It corresponds to the way in which it is apprehended by consumers in the face of competitors and in relation to the reactions it arouses.
Marketing positioning therefore coincides with:
- How the company wants to be perceived by consumers and the place it wants to occupy in its market. This is the positioning targeted by the company, the objective to be achieved, but which does not always correspond to reality.
- The place that the offer/company occupies in the minds of consumers in the market and in front of competitors. This is the result of the actions and decisions taken by the company, this is the real situation of the market.
As you will have understood, your marketing positioning is an important choice. If the first point (the company's objective) actually corresponds to the second aspect (consumer perception), then the company has managed to convey its ideal positioning to its target. And that's great!
Your marketing positioning will allow you to define the direction of your actions and decisions. By determining THE right positioning, you will gain consistency in your choices, whether in terms of prices, distribution channels, communication strategy...
Thus, it is better to focus on how to differentiate yourself from the competition by thinking about a unique and different offer that holds real added value, an exclusive competitive advantage for your customers. To help you see more clearly, here is a diagram:
The golden triangle of positioning.
By placing your positioning at the heart of this triangle, you will be able to more easily represent your offer, determine your target and identify the competition, namely:
- Offer: What are your assets, your expected benefits?
- Target: Do its same benefits meet your customers' expectations?
- Competition: What are their advantages? Do they stand out?
In conclusion, your primary objective in choosing your marketing positioning is to mark the mind of the consumer through a worked and relevant positioning!
Why is marketing positioning important?
Marketing positioning for the company
Defining the marketing positioning for a product or brand is an important step in its development. This is an essential element in establishing an effective marketing strategy. The goal is to highlight your offer so that it stands out from the rest.
Positioning will help you make a place for yourself on the market, while identifying the target audience most likely to be concerned by your offer and establishing the right price according to your customers and the image conveyed by your company.
You will also be able to maintain your strategies consistently. Your positioning will help you define a communication strategy, which in turn will tell you the actions to put in place to reach your audience easily and attract customers.
This will reduce your expenses by avoiding targeting mistakes and marketing tactics. And, you will be able to better analyze the evolution of your strategies and improve them if necessary.
Marketing positioning for the customer
Good marketing positioning doesn't just benefit businesses. Customers are also affected by the latter. And especially nowadays, consumers are increasingly interested in the products they buy. They will necessarily make a judgment on your positioning, whether negative or positive.
On the one hand, a worked positioning will allow a potential customer to say if the quality of the product / service and the price are adapted to his budget. And on the other hand it will allow him to avoid brands that do not suit him, and therefore to save time by opting for those that correspond to him.
The image you convey is therefore very important. You certainly know the expression "judging a book by its cover", for consumers the logic is the same in their interactions with companies. They must therefore have a clear vision of your marketing positioning in order to allow them to make the right choices.
The criteria for a good marketing positioning
Consumers must be able to have a clear, succinct and rapid vision of your marketing positioning against the competition. It must be able to be summed up in a simple sentence. It is not a question of making it a slogan, but of building the message you want to convey to your target.
In addition to being understandable, your message must meet the needs and expectations of consumers. Your positioning must therefore be in harmony with the image of your company and the message conveyed. Customers should be able to find your offer easily, without having to make any special effort. You have to be in the right place at the right time.
The customer must be convinced by your positioning, which means that it must correspond to the attributes claimed by the offer. Your marketing positioning must be both realistic and honest, the goal is not to deceive consumers. So you need an effective communication strategy!
Your business and your offer must stand out from the competition. You need to ask yourself the right questions: does your competitive advantage offer you a real advantage over your competitors? Does it allow you to differentiate yourself? If so, then you have managed to stand out and catch the eye of your consumers.
Your offer must allow your business to grow and live financially. A good positioning is a positioning that brings a plus to the company! If this is not the case, it is imperative to rework it. This is why it is necessary to first carry out a careful market study and carefully choose your target.
Choosing your marketing positioning commits you to the long term. Indeed, it is better to be sure of your positioning from the beginning, because the change within a company is perceived as an instability by consumers. So make sure to choose a solid positioning that lasts!
7. Authentic and sincere
A good marketing positioning must be transparent, consistent and without overestimation. You have to constantly listen to your customers in order to properly understand their expectations. And above all, you have to make sure to fulfill the promise transmitted to your consumers, no more, no less.
The steps to define your marketing positioning
1. Market analysis
The first step is to identify the sector(s) on which your company wants to position itself.
For any strategy, you will not be able to get started until you know the market in which you want to operate.
By collecting relevant information about your field of activity, you will be able to:
- Estimate if the market is large enough to make your place and if the demand is large enough for the supply you are offering.
- Determine whether the consumer's need/problem is indeed present and whether there are alternatives.
- Assess whether your offer is sufficiently differentiating to compete and attract consumers.
- Find the right price, that is, the price that will allow you to be profitable and that customers will be willing to pay compared to the average market price for your offer.
- Quantify the investment required to create your offer, the cost of manufacturing and determine if your budget will be sufficient to achieve your goals.
- Define the speed of evolution, if you are able to produce quickly, renew your offer easily, etc ...
- Set related offers, decide on the strategies to put in place to acquire new customers and prospects.
All this information is the starting point of your marketing positioning strategy.
2. Identify your competitors: the positioning map
Once the first step is over, you will have to identify the other actors who are present. Indeed, you are certainly not the only one in your field of activity! This umpteenth step will allow you to analyze what differentiates you from the competition.
The goal is to better understand them by studying their positioning on the market, their strengths and weaknesses, their competitive advantage, etc... Once all this information is collected, you will be better able to distinguish yourself among the masses.
To help you, do not hesitate to make a benchmark by listing your competitors. You can then create a positioning map and place your offer according to the competition. This perceptual map will allow you to have a better general vision of the different positions.
You will have to select two elements, two graphic axes, which will allow you to evaluate the positions (example: price and quality). By combining these two criteria, it will be easier to place your company in front of the competition and make the necessary adjustments according to the image you want to return to the market.
3. Understand your offer
The third step may seem absurd to you, but yet it is necessary to have a clear understanding of your offer. It is the heart of your positioning, it is it that will guide you to identify your target and position you in relation to it.
Your offer is indeed the starting point of your marketing activity. To be able to establish a positioning worthy of the name, you will have to go through a meticulous description of your product / service called the marketing mix or marketing plan.
There are the following elements, which will allow you to attract consumers:
- product policy ( Product) : composition of the product, patent, packaging ...
- the price policy (Price): pricing policy, promotional price...
- the communication policy (Promotion): advertising, sponsorship...
- the distribution policy (Place): distribution channel, merchandising...
Each of these elements corresponds to one of the 4Ps of marketing (Product, Price, Promotion, Place). Thanks to this method, you will help your consumers to better understand your offer and therefore to adopt it more easily.
4. Determine your targets
Your positioning must be in agreement with your target. In order to better understand the needs and problems of consumers, you must first build your buyer personas. This will allow you to know your target, understand it, etc ...
You will be able to collect socio-demographic information, on the interests, on the needs and expectations of your potential customers, but also on the motivations, the obstacles, the preferences of your targets and their purchasing behaviors.
Be careful, however, not to make a mistake by thinking about the who and the what rather than the why of your target. A person who wants to buy a product or service does not do so by chance. She has very specific motivations.
To build a positioning that holds up, you must ask yourself why your target is: what are the reasons behind the purchase intention?
You must make him understand why your offer is necessary for him, and why it is you and not another company that he must choose, regardless of the price!
By digging into the problems your target encounters, the why of his motivations, you will be able to show him concretely what your offer can bring him. And it is only through the identification of the why that you will be able to define your positioning.
5. Define competitive advantage
Finally, the fifth and final step will allow you to focus on the added value of your offer and your positioning strategy. The goal here is to find your competitive advantage, the element that will set you apart from the competition.
To help you identify this competitive advantage and determine the right marketing positioning, there is the 5Ps or 5 Whys method. It allows you to find a solution, by identifying WHY a situation is problematic.
Here, she will assist you in defining your competitive advantage. You will one by one, remove the layers of your questioning to discover the answer: either what is your competitive advantage and moreover, how to establish your positioning.
Because without added value, your customers will have no interest in being interested in your company rather than another. And a competitive advantage, it does not come out of nowhere, it is worked! Let's take the following positioning example: you write articles for your customers, why?
- Why: to improve their natural referencing,
- Why: for prospects to discover that the company exists,
- Why: to prove that the company's expertise can be useful,
- Why: to increase the company's sales,
- Why: to make the company prosper.
Once the 5 P's are asked, you can clearly define your positioning: "I help companies to prosper, thanks to an increase in sales because prospects are assured of the expertise of the companies they discover via quality blog posts well referenced on google."
And your competitive advantage is therefore the following: you write blog articles of quality well referenced on google. However, a competitive advantage is never acquired. The market is an ever-changing environment, and you're not immune to meeting new competitors.