Regardless of how big or small your organization is, whether you’re a profit generating juggernaut or a local non-profit struggling to make a difference, it’s imperative to have a clear positioning strategy in place. Not having a clear understanding of the position you want to occupy in your customer’s mind is akin to being set adrift in a rudderless ship. Without it you run the risk of looking more like one of those nine headed political panels on cable news, lots of people saying a whole lot of nothing, and going nowhere fast. At its core, a strong positioning strategy is the backbone of an effective communication plan, when done correctly it can build consensus among key players in your team and help assure that everyone is playing from the same sheet of music. If you don’t have a strategy in place then today is a good day to get started, as wise folks say, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago or today, so let’s look at five concrete benefits you’ll experience with a clear positioning strategy in place.
Save time and money:
Depending on the size of your organization the process of establishing a positioning strategy can often be a difficult one. It takes a lot of effort to build consensus among key players who are almost never in agreement about the personality of the organization, what the major roadblocks are, and most importantly what those unique and relevant qualities truly are. But rest assured, not having a clear positioning strategy in place will only assure that the band is out of tune. You will be spending time and money on marketing efforts without seizing the opportunity to build a clear position in your prospects mind. Awareness and reach aren’t enough anymore, and that’s especially true in a world where products/services are more complex and there is more competition than ever.
Know thyself (and your customers):
One of the first things you’ll need to do in this process is clearly establish who your ideal customers are, not just basic demographics (which you’ll need), you’ll need to dig deeper. You can do this by asking some of the following questions:
What keeps them up at night?
What kind of art (if any) do they enjoy?
What movies do they like?
If they were to buy a particular kind of car, what kind would they buy?
I’m sure you can think of some others, get creative and get the group involved, this is a fun and interactive way to get to know your customers better.
Differentiate yourself from the competition:
The only way to do this is to solidify what makes your company/product/service unique and drive it home. In your discussion, pick your top competitors and examine what they are saying about themselves, you’ll often be surprised by how generic and similar they all sound and suddenly a light shines through the cracks. Jump in the void and seize the opportunity that your competitors aren’t taking. Don’t be generic, be bold, but make sure you can back up and verify the assertions you make about yourself, nothing is worse than showing up to a shootout with a gun and no bullets!
Having a clear positioning strategy will allow you to write copy that conveys a consistent message regardless of the medium. All too often even the best marketing pro can spin her wheels trying to find different ways to convey the same idea…(ie: what you do and why you can kick everyone else’s butt doing it). With a messaging matrix and a clear understanding of who your company is talking to, you can reduce a lot of wasted effort and allow your marketing team to focus their creative talents on finding new ways to communicate a consistent and effective message to your audience.
Find your parking space:
It helps think of your particular marketplace and competitive landscape as a crowded parking lot. Inevitably more and more cars are trolling the parking lot looking for the perfect empty space. Maybe it’s close to the entrance, maybe it’s closer to the exit, that’s up to them, but once that car is parked they will own that spot until they decide to leave (or get towed). Finding those USPs (Unique Selling Propositions) that are both unique and relevant to the market you serve will allow you to own one of those primo spots in the lot.