How to Position Your Product for Success

Published: 10th September 2008
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Positioning has many definitions, but the most simple is this: Positioning is the consumer opinion of a product or service compared to its competition.

In particular, positioning relates to marketing decisions a business makes to get customers to think about a product or company in a certain way compared to its competitors. The goal of positioning is to convince customers to believe the marketer's offerings are different in some way from its competitors on an important benefit sought by the market. For instance, if a consumer needs a quick bite to eat and does not have a lot of money, he or she will probably go to McDonalds because their marketing efforts position their products as offering quick, good food for a cheap price. The consumer knows this because of McDonalds' advertising - whether the consumer saw a full color brochure or a billboard, McDonalds sent the message to go there for quick food at a small price.

Why use positioning?
First, positioning your service or product defines who you are to the consumer. Your products say a lot about you, but your marketing materials tell people what to think about you. When a business owner sees a full color brochure touting the services and products of a brochure printing company in their mail, if the brochure is not spectacular - good colors, great images - the business owner's opinion of that brochure printing company will not be good. If the business owner gets multiple marketing materials from different printing companies, she will go with whoever's color brochure printing services are impressive and reflected in the brochure she is holding in her hands.

You can use positioning to target different markets and reach a wider audience. You can sell the same product to two totally different markets by playing up different characteristics of the same product. By tweaking your marketing materials to emphasize quality for one target market and emphasize how easy your product is to use for another market, you can double your sales without spending a lot of money.

How to position successfully
To position successfully, you need to know the key benefits of your product. You then need to know what benefits your target market wants. You also need to know what benefits you can offer that your competition cannot. Use these common benefits to position your product. Tout these benefits in all of your marketing materials, from color brochure printing pieces to radio commercials.

There are many ways to effectively position: by price, attribute, quality, application, product user and as a solution.

Price is the easiest way for consumers to compare you to your competition - people know the difference in clothing price when they're choosing between shopping at Target and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Positioning by attribute is common in the automobile industry - Volvo emphasizes safety and durability, while Jeep emphasizes off-roading ability.

When positioning by application, this means by what the product will be used for. For instance, Folger's coffee is positioned as being the best choice for morning coffee.

Product user positioning is demonstrated by Johnson & Johnson's baby shampoo. You know who the product is designed for.

Lastly, a solution positioning strategy can work extremely well. Since public education does not have the funds for extra tutoring to keep kids up to speed on their studies, Sylvan Learning Centers have solved this problem by offering after-school tutoring programs.

The positioning options are endless - you can choose to emphasize whatever aspect of your product or service you choose. Whatever you want consumers to think of when they think of your company is the message you need to communicate.

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