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.

This is the essence of positioning: the place a company occupies in the minds of buyers. The most valuable place is Number One. After that, opinions vary and a company has to struggle with an ever-changing place in the minds of buyers.

Everyone who has ever worked with me or heard me speak will attest that I always emphasize they must make all decisions about offerings and marketing based on what buyers want.  When working with Owners and CEOs to achieve dramatic revenue growth, we spend the most time asking “what do your buyers want?” and how to deliver.

When you emphasize your current buyers and their preferences you magnify your position as Number One in your buyer’s minds. Everyone else in your industry will have to figure out how to dislodge you. That is very difficult.
This article begins my series about the three phases of marketing that fuels dramatic revenue growth.

Positioning: you must decide on your position– or the market will do it for you. That is never to your benefit. Positioning options include:

  • Me-too, only better. “We’re like the other guys only better, cheaper, faster, etc.”
  • Product line extension: You know us for X, here’s X Plus or X Light.
  • Number One: we’re the  leader in buyer’s minds in this specific market.
  • Repositioning the current number one: “You’re used to day-time cold medicines, we’ve got the only night-time cold medicine.”

Segmenting: people have different buying characteristics and buy for different reasons. The better you understand your buyers and marketing accordingly, the more likely you will increase revenue.

  • Best Buyers: the buyers who love what you offer to them. They want to buy more from you. The ‘more’ has to be new, different and of high value.
  • Enthusiastic Fans: always happy to buy from you and typically buy something from all your product lines. They’re receptive to new offerings.
  • Regulars: Frequent buyers, from your low to middle end offerings. They have good feelings about your company and are receptive to marketing of your higher end offerings.
  • Testers: they tend to be highly price driven and will shop for discounts and deals. There is a lot of turnover of these buyers. I do not recommend investing much marketing in the Testers segment.

Marketing:  Your positioning strategy infused with the preferences of your segments. You need to ensure that your marketing to specific segments reinforces your Number One position.

  • Best Buyers: These buyers will easily position your new offerings as Number One as long as your marketing reinforces that position. Avoid any hints of “me-too” positioning or line extensions. These buyers want originals.
  • Enthusiastic Fans: These buyers may be responsive to some line extensions since your company occupies the Number One position in your field. You can dramatically increase revenue from them by  marketing both line extensions and new offerings to them.
  • Regulars: Marketing to Regulars should reinforce your brand value as they see it. They’ll continue to buy what they typically buy. You can gradually move them up to the Enthusiastic Fan segment with marketing that continues to remind them of this brand value while telling them about your higher end offerings. The message is “same company, more value.”

In the coming The Revenue Driver newsletters, I will go into more detail about each of the three phases: positioning, segmenting and marketing.

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