Corporate positioning is one of the most important ingredients in establishing a company’s position in the marketplace. However, it’s often overlooked because most organizations believe they know what their target audience needs and wants. Strong positioning starts from the beginning and creates a clear path highlighting your product or service in the market.
3 Considerations for strong positioning
- Customer Interviews – Talk to the people who matter.
There is no better way to gain insight and learn about customer's needs than by going to the source. Customer interviews uncover a lot of useful information. In many cases, company differentiators are identified through these conversations. In one situation, we learned about competitor pricing frustrations which then became an important portion of our client's value proposition.
Interviews should go beyond existing customers, as information from lost deals can provide just as much insight. The most valuable interviews give you a clear understanding of how customers think and talk about your brand and product. These details can guide the features you choose to highlight as well as the language you choose to use.
Pro tip: Use a third party to conduct interviews when possible. The feedback will be more authentic and customers are far more willing to open up to someone not tied to the organization.
Haven’t identified your target customer yet? Use this worksheet to develop your customer personas.
- Competitor Distinction – Stand out from the crowd.
Your product and company can stand out in technology or advancements, but if your branding resembles a competitor, distinction may be lost in the market. Naming and color palette are critical to brand and product identity.
Lack of branding consideration creates customer confusion and could also lead to legal issues. Choosing the same color as your competitor or a name that's too similar brings trouble with trademarks and stalls progress on product launches. Before finalizing your branding, company or product, examine how you’re setting yourself apart.
- Value Proposition – Solve a real problem.
On more than one occasion, we have seen products developed without solving a real customer problem. These are cases of invented value propositions. Successful positioning is based on market research and speaks to a real, recognized problem. Just because a product can be made, doesn’t mean there's a demand for it in the market. We find this to be especially true for our clients in the technical and scientific space, as their audience may not actually be ready for the newest and most advanced technology available. If you’re struggling to answer the question “What is the benefit?”, your value proposition may need to be reworked. Instead, try asking yourself, “Why will customers buy this?”
Value propositions based on terms that aren’t commonly used by your target market aren’t valuable. Stay away from acronyms or made-up phrases to describe your technology — the people you’re selling to don’t know what they mean. Beyond customer understanding, made-up phrases won’t help you rank in online searches due to low SEO value. This will make it more difficult for prospects to find and learn about you and your offerings.