WHAT IS POSITIONING IN MARKETING?
You may have heard the term “marketing positioning” lately and wonder, “What does that mean?”. By definition, marketing positioning is a concept that lays out a strategy to market its service or product to its potential customers. It gives the intended audience the vision for the service or product. Its main purpose is to establish a clear and advantageous place in the target audience’s collective minds.
Let’s cut through that jargon. Simply put marketing positioning is answering two basic questions:
How can we make them know we are the best option?
How are we getting people to see my product or service?
Let’s dive in and see how you can effectively use positioning in marketing in a digital world.
What makes your product or service the best?
This one can be a tough one to swallow. This is where you have to do a gut check. It’s in these trenches where you can truly carve out a path unique to you and your service or product. How can you see what makes you better than your competition?
Analyze the competition. Sometimes this is difficult because, let’s face it, there’s a lot of motivated and talented people out there doing a stellar job. Sometimes it can be defeating seeing a colleague climbing the mountain of success. You have to work through that. Write down what you think they are doing great at. Look at some common threads of success.
For a quick example, let’s say your company produces surgical masks. When you look at your competition, the two companies doing really well aren’t marketing about low price. They’re marketing the effectiveness of the masks. They both have responsive websites with contact forms.
This is where you can jump into the next part of answering question 1, “How can we make them know we are the best option?”.
To do this, you have to do better than your competition. This is what positioning in marketing is all about.
In my example, you now know that marketing the effectiveness of the surgical masks works, as well as having a responsive website and contact forms. So, use these as a bare minimum. But, let’s say your masks are manufactured in the US and have a longer warranty. That is something you can use to position yourself in the market! Let’s say your website could have an “easy order” button that lets hospitals order their predefined amount after they log in. That’s even better!
Therefore, your new strategy would be:
Develop a responsive website with the easy order button.
Leverage copy around mask effectiveness and US quality.
Add sections and pages around the “longest warranty”
Now you have a tool that will help tremendously with positioning in marketing. Let’s answer the second question, “How are we getting people to see my product or service?”.
Make it easy for your audience to see your marketing positioning.
This one is what we at Happy Dog see most incoming clients having an issue with. A lot of the time they have a great product or service, but just need to put it in front of the right eyeballs.
If you have an in-house team, that’s great! They should be able to craft a great plan to garner your visibility. If you don’t know if they will deliver exactly what you want and you are thinking of hiring an agency to help out, see if they are doing any of the common mistakes in this great post, “50 signs it’s time to give your marketing team the boot”.
With the proper staff in place, you will need to do 2 basic things.
Find where your audience is.
Engage with your audience.
Finding your audience for marketing positioning can seem daunting. Sometimes, it can be as easy as researching your existing client base. Other times, you may have to hire a research firm to get very specific data for you. But, make a concentrated effort to find out where they are and then get to know them better than anyone else. Here are some rocks to look under to find your target audience:
Forums and active blogs
Social media (and specific social media groups)
Next, you should engage with your target audience. Again, to engage with your audience, you need to get to know them so that you can tell them exactly what they want to hear. To help you get to know your target market, read this article.
Then, find them (at the places listed above)!
For example, we could:
- Look at hospital equipment trade shows where supply managers could be looking for the next best materials.
- See if local hospitals are doing any events, such as a 5k. Sponsor that event and get good with your target audience.
- Find out if there are any forums or active blogs that hospital supply managers frequent. Either buy ad-space or actively participate in conversations on here. Then find those people on LinkedIn and hospital-specific groups within LinkedIn and network that way. Once you have their ear, you can promote your new fancy website touting all of your marketing positionings.
On top of that, you can rank your site in Google for specific keywords that your target audience may search for. Doing some SEO / internet marketing will go a long way here. If you choose to hire someone to do this, make sure the agency you choose knows how to audit your site, develop a strategy, build links and domain authority, and put content on your site that will outrank the competitors. Aside from organic SEO, paid measures can also be effective. In the example above, retargeting could work very well.
Let’s keep it real with positioning in marketing.
If you think that this is something that can be masterfully done within a couple of days, you’re wrong. If you think that throwing one or two thousand bucks at this and expect outstanding results, you are wrong.
If you go to the gym twice, will you look like a fitness model? No. The human body is a complex, beautiful organism that needs upkeep for optimal appeal and performance. The same goes for your website and digital marketing.
The body is a complex, beautiful organism that should have optimal appeal and performance. So is your website. #seo
You should expect this to be an ongoing project. It has to be a future plan, not just a “one-off” endeavor. But, by doing this, you now have the blindfold off and can drive a clear, focused marketing strategy to lead you to success for years to come. It may not take instantly but stay the course. Here’s why:
Think of all of the little facets of your plans for marketing positioning as sections of a flywheel. Instead of elaborating on this, I’ll let Rand Fishkin of Moz do the honors. He created a great video a couple of years ago regarding the marketing flywheel concept.
BONUS TIP: COMBINE MARKETING POSITIONING WITH THE MARKETING FLYWHEEL for optimal results.
Now that you can create your marketing position, get in front of your target audience and market effectively for years to come.
Do you have questions on marketing positioning? Please comment below or connect with us.