How Do You Build A Market Positioning Strategy?
There are market forces already working against your brand. That’s why successful marketing initiatives aren’t created in a vacuum, and a market positioning strategy is more important than ever.
You know you have a great product to offer your customers, and have crafted a unique value proposition, but getting that message to your customers isn’t easy.
No matter your market, it’s likely saturated. Some claim consumers see as many as 4,000 advertisements per day, directly or indirectly. How are you going to differentiate your brand from the crowd?
Despite saturation, there are consumers out there whose needs aren’t being met. You have an opportunity to meet those needs. The question is, how do you reach them?
What is a Market Positioning Strategy?
A market positioning strategy is a plan for differentiating your brand from your competitors. It’s also a way to identify niche markets where your brand will resonate, and ultimately increase opportunities for sales.
You need to enhance the identity of your brand in the eyes of target consumers. A broad sweeping approach to marketing will cost you and your message will fall on deaf ears.
There are several factors that influence the success of your strategy. These include customer motivations, needs, market conditions, and the behavior of your competitors. You need to consider all them to get a successful return on your marketing investment.
What Can It Do for Me?
Your goal is to set a clear and attractive path for your customers to complete a purchase. But remember today’s customers expect a superior customer experience.
If they like your brand, they want an education on the value of what you’re selling before they buy.
You need customers to seek this out, but there are steps you can take to help them along the way.
10 Strategic Tips for Creating a Winning Market Positioning Strategy
Your market positioning strategy will be unique to your business. The content of your marketing materials and value proposition will be unique as well.
But the steps to realizing a market positioning strategy are universal. You can begin exploring market opportunities right away. In fact, the success of the large investment you’re soon to make on marketing depends on it.
How can you make your brand resonate in your target market? How can you use the planning stages to increase opportunities for customers to buy? The following ten steps help you create a pathway to brand success.
Identify Your Value Proposition
In today’s economy, you aren’t just selling your product. You’re selling your trustworthiness and your values. You might be selling a lifestyle as well.
Your value proposition is a statement to customers about what they’re getting from your brand.
Determining your value proposition is simple. Ask yourself who you are as a brand and what you stand for. The most unique aspects of your business will set you apart from the competition.
Identify your ideal customers. Before you look at the market, build personas for the customers most likely to engage with your brand. Consider their demographics, buying power, interests, and more.
Determine how you will meet their needs. What will your customers get from you that they can’t get anywhere else? How is your product or service superior for those needs?
Figure out what you do differently from your competitors. Don’t pull yourself up the same strategic ladder as your competitors. Identify what you can do differently that will make your brand a success.
Analyze Your Target Market
Knowing who your ideal customers are will give you an idea about where their niche is in the market as well.
It’s time to learn as much as you can about them.
This is a group of people, or companies, that will benefit the most from what you’re selling. Your marketing team should use this information to build your market positioning statement.
Forbes says, “You need to break down exactly who your customers are and where to find them. This breakdown is called target market segmentation. Once you know those things, you can put out the proper bait to lure them in and reap the benefits of target marketing.”
Analyze Your Competitors
Imagine your customers are at a fork in the road. One path leads to you, each other leads to a competitor. Which will they take?
The travelers on the road are your target market. Eventually, they will need to make a choice. That’s why you can’t differentiate yourself without knowing about your competitors.
First, you should ensure your brand name is unique. Losing customers due to confusion about your brand is a deadly mistake.
You need to analyze competitors’ products, services, and brand messaging to succeed. You should also learn about their returns policies, customer service practices, and any other functions that overlap with those of your company.
Differentiate Yourself from the Competition
To start, build a competitive grid that rates the quality of your company versus others. List your competitors on the Y-axis. Include your brand there as well.
Now, write all of the value items every brand needs across the X-axis. You will be rating each company’s success in these areas on the grid.
Which brands are succeeding in what areas? Why are they succeeding? And, how does your company measure up? If you have a lot of competitor success in one column, how will you differentiate yourself?
By working through this, you can identify trouble spots and opportunities you can take advantage of immediately.
Create a Market Positioning Statement
You now have an understanding of how your brand fits into your competitive space. You also understand what you need to do to differentiate yourself. But it’s not all about products and services.
In Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, author Jack Trout says: “To be successful today, you have to build brands, not products. And you build brands by using positioning strategies.”
This should be reflected in your Market Positioning Statement. Your positioning statement should be only one or two sentences. It will describe your brand value and what distinguishes your brand in the market.
Test the Effectiveness of Your Brand Positioning
Before you invest money in marketing campaigns, you need to test if your positioning resonates with your target market. There are formal and informal approaches to this stage.
For example, many companies invest in focus groups as a means of testing products and brand appeal. This strategy can be costly, but it can produce practical, real-world data.
You can use this data to identify overlapping characteristics in your market. For example, certain age groups with specific interests might strongly favour one product. Another demographic with similar interests might not.
A cost-effective alternative is market research mobile apps. These companies partner with thousands of consumers ready to help companies with testing. Many of these apps allow you to target key markets as well.
Develop a Strategic Plan
Strategies vary greatly from company to company. If your target market stretches across the country, you will need digital placements. If your market is a small local town, you might focus more on signage or local ads.
The first step is to identify which channels you will use to engage with your customers. This can be digital channels like social media, digital advertising, SEO, and others. It can also include print advertising, signage, events, etc.
The most important aspect of a marketing plan is content. Most companies use content as part of an inbound marketing strategy.
That means customers engage with your brand by accessing content that has inherent value. Your job is to nurture those customers until they convert. Then, continue to delight them until they become brand advocates.
Prepare Your Team
As you are developing your market positioning strategy, you may notice you need additional human resources. Launching your campaign without a cost-effective team can spell disaster for your business.
You might end up paying for resources you don’t need. You also might end up making last-minute decisions because you don’t have enough staff.
Most companies’ greatest struggle is with producing enough content. That’s why building an editorial calendar for targeted content is so important. You should ensure your team can produce what you need in a timely way.
But the most important part of preparing your team is ensuring they internalize your positioning statement.
Execute Your Strategy
Once you have a strategy and are fully prepared, you’re ready to execute your plan. The most important part of this stage is consistency.
Too often marketing efforts fizzle out when results are either very poor or very good. If you have too many or too few resources, you’ll run into inefficiencies as well.
Your marketing machine is just that–a machine. It requires maintenance. Based on the results of your campaigns, it might require very serious adjustments. For better or for worse.
Analyze the Results
Why ‘for better or for worse’? If your products or services don’t perform the way you’ve planned, maybe they are performing in others. Glean what you can from the results of your campaigns.
Be flexible. Adjust your market positioning strategy until it works. With good positioning, you only stand to win.