Anyone that knows me knows that Positioning is one of my favourite marketing topics. For startups in particular, figuring out how to define a unique piece of the market that you can claim and dominate is really important. Today I’m announcing that Alistair Croll and I are working on a book – Different, Better – A Practical Guide to Superb Positioning in Noisy Markets. Many of you will know Alistair as the co-author of Lean Analytics. We’ve launched a new site and a blog where we will be posting articles, case studies and interviews. Sign up there to stay in the loop.
Positioning is hard, necessary work. In the rush to build and launch products for hungry markets, however, it’s often overlooked. But organizations ignore it at their peril, because customers don’t buy what they don’t understand. If you can’t clearly communicate who you’re for, and why you’re better for them, you don’t have a position.
In short, you need to be different, better.
Good positioning lets you serve a target market better than competitors, earning their loyalty and erecting barriers to competition. A well-positioned company enjoys higher margins and lower sales costs. It knows what to build, for whom, and when to expand.
Positioning is often misunderstood term. It’s not messaging, or a tagline. It’s not branding. And it’s not a lofty vision statement. Rather, it’s a clear understanding of what you are, what market you’re in, and who you’re selling to, combined with the thing that, in the eyes of that market, makes you better or different from your competitors.
Hasn’t this already been written?
Positioning is part of every first-year marketing course. The seminal text, Positioning: The Battle for your Mind, came out thirty years ago. It was written in an era of one-to-many communications, broadcast marketing, physical channels, and mass-production. So much has changed since then:
- Markets are noisier, and fighting information with more information is a losing battle. Today’s currency is attention, and markets are eager to understand where products fit so they can form a mental model.
- Consumers do their own research, and form their own conclusions. Companies can’t dictate their positions; they have to embody them, consistently, across packaging, customer support, marketing campaigns, and every other place where they touch their customers.
- It’s easier to test positioning, and tailor it to smaller markets—even a market of one—with incredible accuracy. Done right, software, analytics, and automation mean an organization’s position can be adjusted to each market.
We need a new way to think about positioning, a new way create positioning and new methods to test and verify that our positioning is great.
Why we’re writing this book
Startup founders, innovation teams at large companies, and new entrepreneurs selling products and services online need to know how to position their products and services so that their offerings can break through the clutter of marketing messages their target markets they are being bombarded with.
We’re going to teach you how to identify and claim a market that you can own in the minds of your best customers to make your business more successful. We’re writing a practical guidebook that breaks down positioning into its component pieces, showing you how to position your product or service in a way that helps prospects understand why your offering is unique and valuable.
We’ll show you how to select the best option for each element of your position:
- Your key differentiation and value
- Your ideal target customers
- The market in which you operate.
We’ll teach you how to determine where you have flexibility in those components, and how to choose the best ones for your business and your target customers. We will show you how to bring the components together using a positioning template. Lastly, we’ll teach you how to test and iterate on your positioning.
Be sure to sign up for the Different Better Blog and stay tuned for more updates