In order for a product or service to survive in a crowded market space, understanding market positioning is key. Here is how you can use it to your business's advantage.
Market positioning refers to a series of different activities that enable a business to attract potential buyers through the creation of unique marketing strategies. In order for a product or service to succeed in a crowded market space, a company must create for themselves a clear, defined, and uniquely advantageous position inside of that market.
Consumers - whether they are aware of it or not - categorize brand information (advertisements, products on a shelf) they receive almost instantly. A product may often only receive a half-second’s moment worth of consideration in the customer’s mind, before they have moved on to something new. Therefore, it is vital that your brand possess a unique and easily identifiable position in the market.
Carving out your share of the target market requires the development of a unique positioning strategy. Following these tips will allow you to better tackle the issue of making yourself attractive in fiercely competitive markets.
The “Four P's” of marketing are as follows: promotion, price, place, and product. These four elements make up your marketing strategy; defining them clearly will increase the likelihood your company will have a cemented position in their customer’s mind.
Promotion pertains to activities like advertising, customer outreach, sales, and grand market strategy. The end goal of product promotion is to convince the customer of their need for your product.
The promotion element of marketing is often flexible, changing with the needs of your customers over time. Additionally, promoting a product demands that you inform your customer of the other P’s as well: your product’s price, the place you sell it at, and what problem that product seeks to solve for the customer.
The price of your product is the cost the end user must pay in order to use it. Traditionally, the cost of an item is calculated by taking into account several factors: the cost of raw materials, the cost of labor to make the product, and the perceived value of the product as well. The prices your competitors set for their products will also dictate the price you can reasonably charge for your own.
Where you sell your product and how you deliver it can make all the difference in the success of your business. Maintaining efficient supply chains and managing the logistics of your business is just as important - if not more so - than deciding where you would like to set up shop.
These days, many small or niche retailers operate exclusively in a digital space. Shipping your products directly to the customer can cut the overhead costs demanded by a traditional brick and mortar storefront; however, it can prove limiting to your business to be without a physical store. The best course of action is to determine what kind of space your business requires to operate - while leaving room for potential growth in the future.
The key element in your marketing mix: the product. Products are whatever a company sells; be it a product, service, or subscription. In order for a product to succeed on the free market, it must either meet the demands of the consumers; or, it must be so overwhelmingly successful and disruptive that it creates new demand for the product.
If you lack a good product, the rest of your marketing mix falls apart; but even the best products don’t sell themselves. Thus, your marketing mix must be delicately balanced to ensure no one element is being overlooked. They all work together in harmony to promote your business and solidify its position in the minds of your customers.
This strategy involves tying the physical elements of your product and the benefits it provides to your brand. Emphasizing these points in your marketing will enable you to gain a stronger foothold in your customers’ perceptual map.
Modern consumers can be extremely price-sensitive when we’re talking about even the slightest increases in the cost of a product. Just a few dollars - or even cents - can make all the difference in making your product look just that much more appealing than that of your competition.
If you can’t beat your competitors on the metrics of cost, then try making your product stand out in other ways. If you can offer a uniquely differentiated product - that is, one that cannot be easily replicated by your competition - then your chances of attracting buyers increases tremendously; so long as what makes you unique also makes you more useful or aesthetically pleasing.
In the age of digital personalized marketing, online retailers can lock onto internet users with laser-like precision and bombard them with highly targeted advertisements. This enables businesses that specialize in creating low-yield products with micro-audiences to earn their keep.
Niche markets are an attractive venue for small businesses and startups looking to establish small, loyal followings of highly engaged customers. Gaining solid footing and cementing your business in small markets now can lead to opportunities for growth into other markets later on.
Similar to how lowering your product cost can give you a competitive advantage over other products - raising the price can sometimes generate the same effect.
Price, packaging, and location (where the product is sold) all signify quality. Customers who value luxury and quality are more likely to place their trust in a company that positions itself as a high-quality manufacturer.
How effective your product is at fulfilling its intended purpose is one of the most common and successful forms of market positioning.
A positioning statement is a 1-2 sentence long affirmation that states what and how your business differentiates itself from its competitors. These statements often highlight the value your company brings to the consumer - as well as identifying who that customer is.
Oftentimes, a business may find itself in a crowded, dying, or otherwise depleted market space. In this event, companies must adapt their positioning accordingly - else they risk going under. Even successful businesses will sometimes reposition themselves in order to gain a competitive advantage in their respective markets.
Market repositioning involves making a series of adjustments that serve to change a company’s perception among consumers; a repositioning from one market to another. These adjustments consist of many changes, both big and small - and depend entirely on how much of a perceived gap there is between the new target market and the market one currently operates in.
Rebranding, selling off of assets, corporate restructuring - these activities are all normal parts repositioning.
Market repositioning does not always involve leaving the current market you’re in; it can also serve as an extension of your existing offerings into newer markets.
Some of the clearest examples of what market repositioning looks like can be drawn from recent moves made by the company Old Spice.
In 2010, responding to under-performing sales with their young male demographics, Old Spice launched their now-famous “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign. This series of advertisements starred a charismatic, masculine spokesperson who - aided by an extremely impressive practical effects team - would take the viewer on a 30-50 second journey through a series of changing settings and exaggerated circumstances. These highly self-aware ad campaigns - along with a sleek rebranding of their product packaging - helped Old Spice reclaim the youth they had lost to the biggest competitor in that demographic, Axe.
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