Market Positioning

Find or create a large share in the market to speak to those who value what you have to offer and reduce your competition.

What you will learn in this article:

  • What is “Market Positioning”
  • Why do you need Market Positioning
  • How to position your business in the market

Why you need to read this article:

  • Stop losing clients to your competitors
  • Stop wasting resources on things that don’t match your market position
  • Get clear on who you are marketing to

What is Market Positioning?

Do you want to sell your products and services to your ideal customers and reduce your competition in the market? Of course, you do, what business owner wouldn’t! Well, you’re in luck because market positioning does EXACTLY that. No more getting your customers stolen by your competitors. No more competing against your competitors, no more frustration or confusion when marketing your business to your audience. You will learn exactly how to take your rightful spot in the market so that you can help the world with your products. Market Positioning is the position in the market where your business is represented. To make this easier to visualize, many positioning experts use an axis grid with two values on each axis. On the grid are brands distributed accordingly. Here’s an example in the auto industry:

Illustrative educational purposes only.

The position of the auto brands above reflects the two values that are being reviewed. The two values chosen for these axes are the cost and quality of the product. These are the two values that most businesses think about when thinking about how to price their products and showcase their brand. The problem with this is that you are now competing with the thousands of other businesses that are also competing on these axes! Let’s be honest, competing on these axes will become a race to the bottom. How fast can you drop your prices while not sacrificing quality? Probably not as fast as million dollar industries doing EXACTLY that!

Why do you need Market Positioning?

You need market positioning because it will increase the value of your products and services once you find the right customer. In the grid above, the two values being looked at are quality and cost BUT what if your “Ideal Customer” is instead looking for cost-effectiveness and safety? Well, the graph now turns to this:

Illustrative educational purposes only.

Before, Mazda and Hyundai were two of the worst choices you could make, but now that they are marketing themselves as cost-effective and safe, they are two of the best choices to make for those who value cost-effectiveness and safety. Not everyone values quality and high cost, and that's okay. Your job is to find what your ideal customers value and to provide that value to them. Ideally, you want your business to be in the top right quadrant while all of your competitors are in the bottom left quadrant. Let’s look at an example to demonstrate this with the computer industry:

Illustrative educational purposes only.

Apple does not have the fastest PCs for you to use and they are most certainly not the cheapest. But for those who value innovation and simplicity, Apple is the choice for them. No other PC can compete with apple on these two values. With a net worth of $2430 Billion ($2.43 trillion. . .let me spell that out for you: $2,430,000,000), they are definitely doing something right! Once you find a unique position in the market for your business that matches your values and beliefs with your customers’ values and beliefs, you will win their business. This is because your ideal customer values what you have to offer. You may not attract everyone, but you’ll attract the right people.

How to position your business in the market

Now that we know what market positioning is, how do you do it for your business? There are three steps:

If you do have the resources to hire a facilitator for this, we do recommend that you hire us. As professionals, we will help guide you through a proper strategy session so that you can follow your new strategy to the T and trust that everything will work according to plan. If you don’t hire a professional, you could run into problems such as your audience being too vague, psychographics not being correct, and/or contradicting answers. If you are doing this without a facilitator, I recommend collaborating with someone in your organization whom you trust and who can make business decisions. This will help eliminate biases and give a different perspective on your business.

Business Strategy

We already have an article on how to do this. Read our Business Strategy article to learn what it is, why you should do it, and how to do it.

Market Positioning Q&A

The goal here is to get clarity on who your ideal audience is by learning their Demographics and Psychographics. You’ll achieve this through a series of questions and answers. Make sure to challenge your preconceived notions and go in-depth when answering these questions. They will lay the foundation for your future business success. All of these questions are about your IDEAL customer.

  1. What change are you trying to make in your customers’ life?
  2. What is the promise you are making when your customers choose to buy from you?
  3. Metaphorically, get in bed with your customer. While they are laying down in bed at the end of the day, what are they thinking about? What do they want to do tomorrow? What are they worried about? Who are they worried about? What do they hope for? What do they fear? Who do they fear? What do they need? How can you provide them with what they need?
  4. How would your customers describe your business?
  5. How would you describe your customers?
  6. What are your customer’s demographics? (age, gender, relationship status, education level, income, occupation, etc.)
  7. What is valued by your industry (or your competitors)? Make a list. (ex. Convenience, cost, ease-of-use, community, timeline, quality, etc.)
  8. What are the top 2 common values used in your industry (competitors) from this list?
  9. With the information learned about your ideal customers, what are the top 2 values that would appeal to them?
  10. As a business, what are your top values?
  11. Can you pick two values that aren’t common values in your industry but align with your ideal customer’s values and your business’s values?

Values Exercise

Congratulations! You are almost done learning about Market Positioning! Lastly, you need to do this values exercise. Remember the grids from the beginning of this article? Now you are going to do the same thing for your business. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Draw a grid with two axes on a piece of paper.
  2. On the axes, put the two values from question 11 in the Market Positioning Q&A
  3. Fill in you and your competitors on that grid
  4. If your business is alone in the top right quadrant, congratulations! You are now in a unique position in the market. If not, brainstorm more values that you and your ideal customer have in common that your competitors don’t until you are in the quadrant on your own.

Congratulations! You’ve completed your Market Positioning, but to make it bulletproof, go the extra mile! Review everything you’ve written down and discussed and look for these things:

  • Contraindications
  • Inconsistencies
  • Vagueness/ lack of clarity

If you find any of these, make sure to fix it and re-review your strategy until it’s perfect. Remember, this is the foundation of your business success, get it right!

Conclusion

You now have everything you need to position your business in the right market. What’s next? Now you need to refer back to everything you’ve decided on for your positioning and align your visual design and copywriting to match it. After all, if you have the best positioning strategy in the world but you don’t express it, it’s useless. Make sure to utilize this information to design a beautiful brand and create words that are engaging and make your ideal customers buy from you. If you do this you’ll have clarity on who you marketing to and you’ll stop wasting resources on the wrong audience. No more confusion or losing money to your competitors! If you implement this and it doesn't go as expected, give us a call and we'll schedule a market positioning session with your business for free! If you want us to do this for you, get started here.