What Is Positioning In Marketing?
Positioning is a marketing and sales strategy aimed at guiding consumers to choose a particular brand over its competitors. Well-done positioning gives the brand a unique position in the market. It can justify higher prices, create customer loyalty and lead to more repeat customers.
The definition of positioning is that companies and organizations create a special position in the minds of consumers.
The purpose is to get them to choose a particular product or brand. Positioning means, in other words, finding a gap in the market and filling it.
Positioning and marketing
Positioning is an important part of a company’s marketing. The actual work with positioning is based on the customers’ perspective.
Think about it – in many areas there are lots of options for customers to choose from. What really makes them choose a particular brand or product?
Positioning is about customers being able to identify the company and its offer, to stand out from the competition in some way. Therefore, positioning is important for marketing.
With the help of positioning, the company can influence consumers’ buying behavior.
This can be decisive for how the brand stands on the market.
Positioning is about identifying what the customers want and what the company can offer in addition to what the competitors offer. Then the company can position itself there.
It is mainly in marketing and sales that positioning is used as a concept. How should the strategies be designed for customers to prioritize a brand or product over all other alternatives.
It is usually about giving something unique regarding, for example, price, service or competence. In this way, the exact same product is not offered as the competitors.
- What do customers want?
- How can the company offer this in a way that competitors can not?
- How can marketing be created based on this goal?
Keep in mind, if the company does not take an active position – customers will position them.
A company that does not have a positioning strategy will, over time, still get a specific position in the market.
This is because customers form an opinion of what is offered, which means that products or the company’s image grows based on it.
The question is who should wear the “baton” and decide what image the customers should have about the company.
The positioning work
There are many ways to carry out the positioning work. Basically, it’s about creating customer value.
Customers need to understand why your company’s products or services are better than the competition’s.
To begin with, the company can identify possible differences in customer value. How does the company’s offer differ from the competitors’?
The differences can be highlighted as advantages and selling points.
Examples of customer value that the company can identify:
- Lower prices than the competition.
- More advantages at the same price compared to the competition.
- Something that competitors can not offer.
- Once the company has mapped out its competitive advantages, it is time to select a number of these. It is seldom possible to communicate all the benefits in an effective way.
Once the company has selected a number of competitive advantages, the next step is to communicate these to the market through marketing and in other contacts with customers.
Of course, the company must also be able to live up to the positioning that it has built up in the customers’ consciousness in order for it to be sustainable in the long term.
A work with marketing based on positioning consists, somewhat simplified, of three steps.
To identify benefits that drive sales – choose positions to be strengthened – convey the image through marketing.
1. Identify the benefits
The first step is to decide in which points the company should be better than its competitors.
Why should the customer choose this particular company or product?
It can be, for example:
- Faster shipping
- Lower price
- Services / products that no one else has
- Higher competence of the staff
- More service
These are strengths within the company. However, it is important to look at which of these added values drive sales. A mistake can be to take a position that does not create any added value.
It is also possible to choose positioning for a product based on which angle of approach it is marketed from. Is the digital can opener a problem solver at a finer event or a gimmick to produce at the bachelor party?
The same product that is marketed to completely different groups. Is the mobile best because it has an extremely good camera or because it is extra durable?
Here, too, it is the same product but different target groups.
2. Choose what to communicate
The next step is to select a clear advantage and focus on this in marketing. Working within the same marketing with several properties rarely gives the desired effect.
In this situation, it is about strengthening the brand based on one of its greatest strengths.
Positioning – How does the customer perceive the brand?
An example is Company A, which in all its marketing highlights their low prices.
They could have chosen to position themselves with a wide range, free parking, proximity to the city center or unique goods, which also fits in with this company.
But they want to position themselves as a low-cost alternative.
Another example is Coca Cola, which has created such a strong brand that the product is chosen over similar cola drinks that have a significantly lower price.
3. Create marketing that conveys the benefit
The third step is to apply this positioning in the marketing strategy.
A strategy that is not only about external marketing but also the customer’s experience in the store, in contact with the company, etc.
Market positions – get a position in the market
It is not uncommon for the most well-known brand to also have the largest market share. Sure, it can be a bit like the chicken and the egg.
Was it the positioning that led to a larger market share? Or are people familiar with the company so well just because it is the largest?
It is often an interaction. Anyway: market positioning is very important for how customers and potential customers experience the company and its products.
A well-executed positioning almost always leads to a stronger position in the market.
There are two types of positioning that a company must avoid:
- Underpositioning: The company’s communication is unclear. Consumers do not understand the company’s position.
- Overpositioning: The company is too strict in its positioning, which means that consumers get an overly narrow picture of the offer.
What do you associate with…
Just by hearing company names or product names, they are associated with unique benefits. It reflects that they have succeeded in their positioning.
What do you think of based on the following companies and brands? IKEA – Microsoft – Tesla – Mcdonalds – Volvo – AMC – Apple – Your local pizzeria
Example of positioning
There are many examples of good positioning to draw inspiration from.
Here are some ways to position your business:
- Big brand: One way to position yourself is by creating a big brand that covers several different products. Here, for example, we can imagine many food producers.
- Features: Focus on one or more specific features of the product. It can be, for example, a mobile camera with extra high resolution or an electric car with a long range.
- Simplicity: To emphasize the company’s offer as simpler and more straightforward than the competitors’.
- Style: It is possible to allude to style and lifestyle rather than to concrete product benefits. Common in the fashion industry but also for positioning drinks, cars and more.
- Problem solver: A company can position itself and its products as a solution to the problems and challenges the customer has. This is a common positioning strategy.
Over- or underpositioning
If the position is too weak or too strong, disadvantages are created within the company’s marketing strategy.
By communicating the desired positioning too hard, customers can get a very narrow picture of the product / company.
This means that the company is strongly associated with a certain advantage, but that other benefits are overshadowed too much.
By communicating the desired positioning too weakly, the message does not get through.
Thus, the company does not take the desired position but will eventually be positioned by the customers’ own opinions.
Positioning and SEO
Nowadays, most of us search for information about products and companies online. It usually starts with a Google search.
Therefore, it is important that the positioning chosen by the company is also visible in Google.
Read more about how search engine optimization works here:
First and foremost, the company and the company’s products must be visible on the keywords and search terms that customers search for.
This requires, among other things, that the company’s positioning is reflected in the content on the company’s website. The company’s content marketing must be permeated by the positioning it has chosen.
At the same time, it is not enough to rank well.
The results that appear should be displayed in a way that is consistent with the company’s positioning. You influence this, among other things, by writing a good title and meta description.
Why work with positioning strategy?
- If you do not do it to someone else – If the company does not work actively with positioning, it will then the customers themselves will create this for the company.
- Reach the customer group – By being unique, it becomes easier to find exactly the right target group. One target group that receives a product / service that suits them.
- Increased sales – Through credible positioning, which the company can live up to, a strong brand and increased sales are created.
- Justify a higher price – A higher price can be charged when there is no one else offering exactly the same thing.
- Effective marketing – By having a unique position, the marketing also becomes unique and stands out in the crowd.
6 tips for successful positioning
To succeed with positioning, there are some things that can be good to think about.
Below I have collected six simple tips:
1. Find a positioning basis
Before you start positioning yourself, it is important that you are familiar with both your product, market and target group.
Some of the questions you need to find answers to are:
- What are the benefits of the product and can I prove them?
- Does the customer understand the message?
- Is the product unique?
- Does it satisfy certain needs of customers?
2. Create a slogan
To make it easier for your customers to memorize and recognize your business, it can be a good idea to develop a short slogan. Who is not familiar with McDonalds “Im loving it”?
3. Do a competition analysis
Know your partners well, but know your competitors even better. After all, they are the ones you have to fight against.
Analyze how they reach their customers, review their marketing and the methods they use.
Also find out their strengths / weaknesses (for example, by doing a SWOT analysis) and turn their weaknesses to your strengths.
4. Find your current positioning
By comparing your product’s strengths to the competition, you can determine approximately where you are in the market.
If you want to visualize your position, you must create a so-called positioning diagram.
Select the criteria to be included in the comparison and then place you and your competitors in the chart. This is what a positioning diagram might look like:
5. Develop a positioning strategy
Once you know which product / benefit to position, it is time to choose a strategy (see the section Types of positioning).
6. Market the message
Develop a marketing strategy that will convince consumers to buy your particular product.
Briefly explain why they should do it and why they should believe the message. Include the strategy in the company’s marketing plan.
Positioning is one of the most important parts of your marketing strategy. It is the one that makes customers choose your brand over the competition, regardless of price.
Do not forget that the positioning actually takes place in the customers’ consciousness and not on the desk.
Therefore, always try to start from how your customers think and reason.