The Hidden Agenda Of Positioning

Great Lessons You Can Learn From Positioning

Market Positioning

What is the market position? In marketing and business strategy, market position refers to the consumer’s perception of a brand or product in relation to competing brands or products. Market positioning refers to the process of establishing the image or identity of a brand or product so that consumers perceive it in a certain way.

For example, a car maker may position itself as a luxury status symbol. Whereas a battery maker may position its batteries as the most reliable and long-lasting. And a fast-food restaurant chain may position itself as a provider of cheap and quick standardized meals. A coffee company may position itself as a source of premium upscale coffee beverages. Then a retailer might position itself as a place to buy household necessities at low prices. And a computer company may position itself as offering hip, innovative, and user-friendly technology products.

The positioning of a Brand

The positioning of a brand or product is a strategic process that involves marketing the brand or product in a certain way to create and establish an image or identity within the minds of the consumers in the target market. Market positioning of a brand or product must be maintained over the life of the brand or product. Doing this requires ongoing marketing initiatives intended to reinforce the target market’s perceptions of the product or brand.

Repositioning

Repositioning a brand or product means altering its place in the minds of the consumer, or essentially changing the brand’s or product’s image or identity. When you are repositioning or trying to change the consumers’ perception of a brand or product after it has already been solidified, may confuse or alienate consumers in the target market.

For example, if a premium luxury car maker suddenly slashed the prices of its vehicles and began selling them at the same prices as cheaper brand-name vehicles, consumers would no longer perceive the vehicles made by the luxury car maker as prestigious status symbols, even though the car features may remain unchanged.

Cost Leadership and Differentiation

There are two broad categories of market position: cost leadership and differentiation. Cost leadership and differentiation market positioning strategies are applicable to any business and any industry. A business can choose to position itself using a cost leader strategy or a differentiation business strategy.

Cost Leader Strategy

A company using a cost leader strategy attempts to position itself in the minds of the consumers as a company that provides products the consumers want at a price that is lower than competing products available in the marketplace. Consumers expect basic products with no bells and whistles from a company using a cost leader strategy. Instead, consumers just expect the products to meet their needs and nothing more or less.

Differentiation Business Strategy

A company using a differentiation business strategy attempts to position itself in the minds of the consumers as a company that provides unique products that consumers will pay more for because they cannot find comparable products or product features anywhere else in the marketplace. Consumers expect more from a differentiated product and therefore are willing to pay a premium for a differentiated product. This is true as long as the unique features of the product add some value to the product that makes it more valuable to the consumer, whether a functional feature or an aspect of image or prestige that enhances the perception of the product.

 What Is Positioning in a Marketing Plan?

Positioning is a marketing concept that outlines what a business should do to market its product or service to its customers. In positioning, the marketing department creates an image for the product based on its intended audience. This is created through the use of promotion, price, place and product. The more intense a positioning strategy, typically the more effective the marketing strategy is for a company. A good positioning strategy elevates the marketing efforts and helps a buyer move from knowledge of a product or service to its purchase.

 Target Market Analysis

The best start for any positioning analysis is gaining a thorough knowledge of a product or service’s target market. This is the group of people or businesses that will best benefit from the use of the product or service. With a good idea of the wants, needs and interests of a product or service’s target market, a good marketing team can help develop a positioning statement to help reach as much of the target market as possible.

Positioning in Advertisements

Advertisements are usually the first places businesses position themselves. A cosmetics marketing department, for example, must determine who they are targeting and what consumer need is being met. If the intended target is African American teenagers, what type of need should the cosmetics fill? If the cosmetics line is trying to help teenage girls overcome acne issues, the person in the ad might be one of a younger African American physician who teaches girls how to battle acne with the use of these cosmetics. To note the importance of positioning, this same type of advertisement might not work if the intended audience of the cosmetics line was older Caucasian women trying to look younger.

 Positioning in Sales Locations

Reaching the customer is not simply a matter of advertising, it is also a matter of choosing the right channels for distribution. If a majority of your target market lives in an urban area with only public transportation available to them, having your product in rural areas where a private automobile is needed for transport would not equal sales success. Place or position your product or service as close to the target market as possible. Create similar advertisements in store as the ones seen out of a store to create an overall identity for your brand.

Positioning through Price

It should be noted that there is a large amount of research on the psychology of pricing in marketing. Simply put, the price of an item tells the buyer more about the item than most realize. Many associate a higher price with higher quality and the opposite with a lower price. Additionally, if a product is positioned as a good alternative to high-priced brands, the marketing department must price it in the middle of the market to avoid a comparison to the cheapest end of the spectrum.

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