Positioning: Where You Rank in Your Buyers’ Minds

What if your company has invented a great music player, with beautiful design and huge capacity in a tiny product? You could position it as a “me-too, only better” than a compact disc player. Or you could position it as something entirely new that will rise or fall on its own merits.

Apple did that with the iPod. It was not like anything anyone had ever before produced. It may be hard to believe from today’s vantage point, but the first year of sales was slow and disappointing. However, Apple maintained its Number One positioning strategy for the iPod and it generated huge revenue increases and well as a revolution in digital products.

Positioning Strategy before Marketing Strategy

Which company’s smartphone is the default? Which company defines online shopping? Which company is known as Whole Paycheck?

Apple, Amazon, Whole Foods.

Which companies are second or third in these categories? There’s no one clear answer.

Buyers are Talking. Are You Listening?

“We have trouble being the kind of caring company we want to be while also ensuring accountability among our nearly 800 associates. It seems like when we do one, the other suffers.” The CEO and I were discussing the progress of a project I’d been working on when he said this to me.

Do you hear the opportunity in these comments? He was telling me about a significant barrier to fulfilling the company’s vision and values. If he allows these barriers to stand, the company’s revenue growth is constricted. I know that a company’s values and their need for performance accountability can reinforce each other when addressed. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.

Why Stay? Current Buyers Want to Know

When I talk about growing revenue from current buyers, CEOs and Owners tell me all the time: “yes, it’s much cheaper to market to current buyers.”

In spite of this belief, I find at least one, and sometimes all, of these three counterproductive marketing practices in their companies. They hinder the company’s ability to generate new revenue from current buyers.

There is No Profitable Status Quo in Business

I said to a CEO “there is no profitable status quo in business.” He asked me to imagine standing on a street corner where we live. The traffic and the people are passing by. He said “Standing there is like maintaining the status quo in my business. I am not losing ground.”

I said “you may think that not moving is the same as not losing ground. Not so. Many of the people literally passing you by are on their way to companies where they will pass you by in revenue and profit growth; in improvements and innovation; in client retention. Standing still will pretty quickly mean you are losing ground.”

Standout Investments that Return Big Payoffs

Revenue and profit increases require focus and clever investments. Keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll get what you’ve been getting—the same revenue and the same profits.

Let’s look at the 5 top investments your company needs to make in order to increase high-profit revenue.

The Highly Profitable Practice of Alignment

How well are the price/value ratios of your offerings aligned with your target buyer segments? In other words, are you selling the right offerings to their most likely buyers? Or are you missing this important link?

Quick review: Your buyers fall into segments: Testers, Regulars and Enthusiastic Fans. Each of the buyers gravitates to a particular price/value ratio which is represented by your Common, Uncommon or Exceptional offerings. These relationships are illustrated on the GO Curve.

Are You Voluntarily Handcuffing Your Company?

Intellectual property (IP) has no boundaries. Yet too many companies handcuff their revenue growth with old choices, ironclad processes, strict policies, predetermined offerings, restricted views of their clients and their own baggage.

Quality Covers Costs, Value Increases Profit

You will be buried under an avalanche of advice if you search or ask “How do we price our products and services?” The B-school and CPA approach is costs+profit=selling price.

Buried in approach is the idea that costs will reflect the quality of the inputs. The higher the quality, the higher the price. Low quality offerings get priced lower.