The Power of P‍‍‍ositioning in Marketing

A Marketing Cla‍‍‍ssic

Many moons ago, when I was just a slip of a girl, I was introduced to the marketing classic – “Positioning: The Battle for your Mind: How to be Seen and Heard in the Overcrowded Marketplace” first published in 1980 by Al Ries and Jack Trout.

Can you imagine that 38 years ago, a whole decade before the dawn of the World Wide Web, these two advertising gurus were talking about an overcrowded marketplace!

Fast forward to 2018 and we are literally suffocating in media.  The need to “position” your business has never been stronger.

The book was the first of its kind. It addressed the issues of communicating to a sceptical public, who were suffering communication overload.

Ries and Trout advocated creating a "position" in a prospective customer's mind that reflected the company's strengths and weaknesses as well as those of its competitors.

"To thine own self be true" (William Shakespeare)

Positioning involves establishing where your business stands in the market compared to your competitors and how you communicate that difference. You have to stand out; being a “me too” business is not an option.  It is a battlefield out there and you are competing for the mind of the consumer; it is a battle you have to win.

The power of one…

Once you have determined your positioning you will have greater clarity with regard to your pricing, distribution channels and promotional platforms.  Whether you actively create and manage your positioning or “just let it happen” your customers will form their own idea of what your company stands for.  Don’t leave it to chance.Your aim is to position your business as an industry leader.  You want your name and your marketing message to find its way into the subconscious of your target market.

Create a niche…

In a situation where the industry leader position has already been claimed then the aim should be to occupy a niche not claimed by the leader.  The classic example here is Avis and Hertz and, can you believe, it dates back to 1962!  Avis had always played second fiddle to Hertz, the market leader in car rentals.

In 1962 their advertising agency decided it was time to embrace this fact instead of trying to fight against it.  They created the advertising campaign - “When you’re only No. 2, you try harder”. The authenticity of the message struck a chord with the target audience. Their print ads are legendary in marketing circles, even today!  Avis used their existing position in the market to their best advantage.

Just check out these headlines:-

Avis can’t afford not to be nice

Avis can’t afford to make you wait

Avis can’t afford dirty ashtrays (who remembers ashtrays in cars, now you don’t even get a CD player!)

Focus on the Achilles Heel…

If you conduct a thorough competitor analysis you will soon be able to identify the weaknesses of your competitors.  Your marketing strategy should take these weaknesses into account. Your goal is to demonstrate your business’s strengths in this area to the target market.  Find the Achilles Heel and strike at the very heart of it!  Hopefully this article will help you to grasp just how fundamental positioning is to the success of your marketing.

Need some help?

If you would like help with how to position your business contact us today on 01440 710158 or email [email protected]

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