Every market is competitive and how you position within that market is critical to achieving a unique company identity and success. Are you trying to find the “white space” – an uncontested market niche, are you attempting to position in a known and defined market and compete based on features / functions, or are planning to price against better established competition? No matter which option you choose, you need a clear target position within your chosen market and that needs to be captured in well-crafted positioning statement. Such a statement will help:
- Define the direction for your company and identify the path which your company will take in order to achieve its goals
- Create alignment across your entire team around your company strategy and mission
- Clearly and consistently describe your company and product(s) through your website, collateral, social media, at events, etc.
- Establish the company tagline and campaign slogans
- Develop sales collateral and, if you are looking for funding, investor pitches
A Customer-Driven Approach To Positioning
In Designworks’ experience, many companies (particularly startups) try to develop their positioning with a company or product-driven approach, not a customer-driven approach. While inwardly focused statements (e.g. mission and value statements) have value, your positioning statement is the starting point for your messaging or go-to-market planning and therefore, in our opinion, it needs to be customer-focused. Our approach to developing positioning is customer-driven and it consists of asking and answering some very basic questions:
- Who is your product for?
- What problem do these companies or individuals want your product to solve?
- What proof-points or claims can you provide to substantiate your ability to solve this problem?
- How else could these customers solve this problem?
- How is your solution different from these alternatives?
Good Positioning Is Agile and Dynamic
If your company is successful, your positioning will change over time, and this is something that you need to bear in mind and be realistic about. You may want to be the next great cloud software company but that doesn’t mean you should position to compete with IBM, Oracle and Salesforce.com right out of the gate. In fact, Salesforce.com, the fastest software company to a billion dollars in revenue, is a very good example of this. Salesforce.com initially positioned themselves as a simple contact and opportunity management system for sales people, a far cry from their current positioning as a cloud-applications platform for global enterprises.
Getting Everyone On The Same Page Isn’t Easy
There is nothing easy about developing a positioning statement. To do this successfully requires that the key stakeholders in your company go through a thoughtful and honest analysis of both your company and your customers. Like many such processes, this is one where are external agency or partner can be a great asset by bringing a process/framework and objectivity to the table.
Need Help? Let’s Talk
With our extensive positioning experience, Designworks can be your partner. Whether you are positioning a new company, product or re-positioning an existing one against changing market conditions, call us, we want to help.