Discover more from The Daily PPILL
Before you go, Position yourself - The Daily PPILL #408
The one important "Marketing P" that is not listed in the 5 original ones
While working with business leaders around their marketing strategy, sometimes I get this frustrated sigh. It happens invariably when they are looking for a quick-fix demand generation solution, and I ask them about their positioning. The conversation can feel like a setback, but is crucial to do marketing that goes in the right direction and that ultimately delivers willing prospects. It can be even more frustrating if they have never heard about it. By some, it may not even part of the original “5 Ps of Marketing” (Product, Price, Promotion, Placement, People), but -in my opinion- it should be.
Your positioning will drive everything else you do -even the other 4 Ps-, and that's because it ties together your product, your value proposition, and your Go-To-Market strategy (Placement!); and by consequence, the price, and any necessary promotions.
Positioning establishes your brand or your product in the mind of your customers, and it creates a distinct identity for them in relation to your competitors. Positioning defines what your product or brand are known for. Is your product a merely utilitarian product? Is it a luxury product? Is it the most reliable? The easiest to use? All of these are valid positioning questions.
It is worth noting that THE SAME EXACT PRODUCT may be positioned in a different way by two different companies, or maybe in different markets. The Big Mac for example, is positioned as a humble, reliable, and quick bite in the US. But the same exact burger, is sold in South America like an Icon of US progress, served in an extremely clean environment, and that even offers a playground for kids to spend an hour at a safe and fun place. Another example, Jeans can be a tough work garment, or a trendy fashion statement.
Like products can also be effectively positioned in a different way and capture different market segments, depending on what customers value the most. This is how you have the low cost, the no-frills, the dependable and long lasting, or the top of the line, high quality. This is how we have such marked differences among car manufacturers as well. Just think about the one thing that comes to mind when you think of each brand. That one thing, is no accident, it was created through positioning throughout the years.
But as it happens, positioning is interrelated with other areas of your marketing and go-to-market strategy, and it will define -and even pigeonhole you- into some. When positioning your product, you are making a promise, that you better be able to fulfill. Also, you will be picking a particular audience who will value those key attributes more than others. So it is a delicate dance, but the one thing that you shouldn't do, is to relinquish control to the market of your positioning. You want to own this.
What happens if I get it wrong?
That's definitely a risk and the consequences can be dire. You may put off your audience, by offering them something they are not interested in, or even worse, you may end up making promises that you cannot keep. All of these will make your sales plummet as a consequence, but when done carefully and intentionally, it will align your product features, with your strategy, your Unique Value Proposition, and your intended audience; in one cohesive framework.