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Knowing how to correctly position your products or services is essential to having a successful business.  Some experts say that having your positioning determined is even more important than your company name.  Once you have your positioning, your name, messaging, branding and copy can all flow from this core message.

What is positioning?

And how do you work out where you fit?

Positioning is a process of determining where you fit in your market and what makes your product or service stand out from the crowd.  Effective positioning means that you should be asking yourself what you do differently from your competitors and how your product can be used in ways that your competitor’s products can’t.

The effects of positioning

Before we work out how to position your business in the market, let’s take a step back and look at the dangers of being a people pleaser:

  • Your sales efforts are all over the place as you are not focused on who really needs your product or service
  • Your sales pitch is disjointed as you need to keep changing the benefits for every new customer
  • No one understands what your company stands for as you appear so frenetic
  • Internal capability and skills are not built up over time around a unique position
  • You give off a sense of desperation
  • You are easily burnt out
  • All this ultimately slows down the growth of your business

Now we know the effects of trying to be everything to everyone, what happens when you position your business correctly?

  • It’s easier to find your customers
  • It’s easier to convince potential customers to become loyal customers
  • Your expertise in your industry grows, which in turn attracts more customers your way

It’s pretty clear why positioning your business correctly is so important – let’s get started.

Claim your position

So how do you know what makes you stand out in a crowded market?  How do you know where you fit?  The first step is to ask yourself some questions:

  • What do you enjoy doing? What interests you? What are you good at?
  • Who are your competitors? Where do they focus their attention and energy?
  • What sets you apart from your competitors? What do you do that no one else does?
  • Is there a group of customers in your area of business that are not being well looked after?
  • Are there any new trends in your industry? Is anyone championing them yet?

When thinking about these questions, make sure you avoid all buzzwords – it can be easy to fall into clichés and not get to the core of what makes you different.

Once you have answered the above questions, it is time to move onto to the next step.  Typically, there are five key factors that a company can base their unique offering on:

  • Service – fast, predictable and reliable service
  • Convenience – easy to access (availability or location), easy to do business with
  • Customer experience – customers feel valued, your processes are orientated around customers, you know your customers and understand their needs
  • Price – lowest price in the category
  • Authority – expert your field, trusted for advice

Some of these factors may be hygiene factors (the basics of what you need to do to be in business) and other factors in these categories are differentiators (what your customer base feels is needed to set you apart).    The key here is working out where your strengths lie and how your strengths cross over with what your customer base views as key differentiators.

The goal is to end up with a statement that will get people inside your business excited about why your idea is special and is going to help people get something they want.

New Zealand’s Favourite Positions

As a final thinking point to help you get started, there are several popular New Zealand companies that own strong positions in the market.  Have a think about these brands and why they chose these traits, then think about what makes your business different and how that works with your target market:

  • Air New Zealand – vitality, high energy and stretching the boundaries
  • Tip Top – fun and playfulness
  • The Warehouse – cheap and cheerful
  • Watties – trust, reassurance and comfort
  • Trelise Cooper – High end, high quality and feminine

A strong position is the foundation of any effective marketing plan as it impacts the ultimate purchase decision.  If you have a strong position and own it  your business could end up being the next Tip Top or Watties.

Need help with working out what your company’s positioning should be?  Contact us to find out how Energise can help.