"The Three C's of Successful Positioning" By Lawson Abinanti, Messages that Matter Effective positioning of B2B software products is written
in the key of C. Actually, three C's. Because positioning requires a thorough understanding of your Customers, your Competition and your Channel. In the Positioning Workshops I conduct (see sidebar), this is one of the main points we try to impress on software company executives. In this column, I'll summarize the importance of the 3C's, and in the next three columns, we'll explore in detail each of the C's. The series will highlight the knowledge you'll need to answer these important questions during the positioning process: 1. 1. What pressing problem does your product solve for your prospective customer? 2. How is your prospect solving that problem today? 3. What specific benefit does your product deliver? 4. Why is your product better than the current solution and competitive alternatives? 5. What makes your product unique in a way that is relevant to your prospect? 6. Can you communicate this difference in a way that sets your product apart from the competition? When you can answer these questions with confidence, you're on your way to successful positioning of your B2B software product. Here's a quick summary of how and why understanding each of three Cs provides answers you need to develop a successful positioning for your product: The Channel: a great source of information about all three Cs The channel is how your product reaches the customer, whether you sell directly or through VARs. It will be the first topic of the 3C's series, because your channel is - or should be - one of your best sources of information about the other two Cs, your customers and your competition. It's your first avenue of interaction with what you hope will become your customer. And it's the battleground for the ongoing war with your competitors. So, it's vital that your channel partner is your ally with shared goals and a trusting relationship. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case, even at B2B software companies that sell direct. I'll suggest ways you can overcome this problem in the column about the channel.
From the channel. if you really need to communicate to more than one buyer. A good grasp of demographics is critical to successful positioning. You learn why you win and lose . and what they feel is missing. and customer concerns. and you gain insights into the details of purchase processes. Your prospects are overwhelmed by communication in today's fast-paced. because it's doomed to fail. It may surprise you that it's relatively easy to adapt a good positioning statement to different target audiences. Learn what's really happening in the channel.somewhere between 5. high-tech world. the flow of honest information and insights vital for your product positioning strategies. The channel can also provide valuable feedback on the viability of your marketing message. You can get through the filter. They get so many marketing messages .and against whom. Ongoing communication with your channel will improve the relationship and. not problems. But some companies feel they have to sell to everyone. Besides customer concerns. Although it may be tempting to think of your product as a Swiss Army Knife. and often fail to communicate effectively with the ultimate decision maker. you learn what gets your customers excited about your product (it may surprise you). other psychographics such as industry and technology trends can affect your message strategy. but only with a benefit statement that addresses the primary concern that keeps your prospect awake at 2 am. All these factors contribute to help you converge on the ideal positioning statement for your product. as a result.000 and 10. Your target buyers will listen to your message when you demonstrate an understanding of their problem.that they have become experts at filtering them out. don't. psychographics. and clearly communicate the benefit your product offers to solve the problem. sales strategies. Know the competition. Know your customer? at least as well as you know your own products You can't successfully position your product unless you know the answer to this basic question: "What is my target customer's most pressing problem?" Notice that this question asks about THE problem.000 per day . demographics. intimately
brochures. See if there's consistency and continuity. As the old baseball adage puts it. Few companies stick with a position long enough to own it. "Positioning . idea or theme frequently appears in the first paragraph of an advertisement or on the home page of the Web site. and we'll look at possible options in the column devoted to the third C -competition. One that sets you apart from your competitors. and when to consider making a claim that borders on being unbelievable. Your patience and persistence can reward you with a position you own exclusively
Brand Positioning & Differentiation March 29. a brand positioning and differentiation strategy can increase your customer
. as well as how market confusion contributes to a longer sales cycle.The Battle for your Mind. But. press announcements and trade show materials. It's a good idea to become familiar with the competitor's messages in other marketing communication.Differentiation is critical to successful positioning of your product. such as direct marketing pieces. In the marketing classic. uniquely and strategically position itself in the market that makes it successful. In essence. How is your product or service perceived in the market? If the brand and product is similar to competitors. They advertise their products in a vacuum and are disappointed when their messages fail to get through. Be patient." You can often discover how a competitor is positioned by analyzing its print advertisements and Web site. hit it where they ain't. Claim an unclaimed space. I'll close with a bit of good news for anyone who thinks your competitor has decided to try to steal your position. You can gain a competitive advantage just by recognizing the realities of your competitors. That's ideal. A positioning statement. what can you do if your competitor makes a similar claim? It's a tricky situation. I'll also explore a positioning tactic that enables you to set a trap for your competitor. Ries and Trout lament the fact that "too many companies embark on marketing and advertising as if the competitor's position did not exist." authors Al Ries and Jack Trout say that knowledge of your competitor's positioning is just as important as knowing your own. 2011 | by Ethan Lyon What makes Madonna. they learned to think outside of the box and be different. Coca-Cola and Apple iconic cultural leaders? Why do Apple fans spend hours standing in line to buy the next innovation? It is a brand’s ability to creatively.
For instance. A company makes products and services and a brand conveys the emotional attributes of both the company and products. and elevate communications. prioritize development. To do so. social media. and how you’re going to sell them on your product and brand. is more affordable. and how will you position your company uniquely Questions to answer when examining brands: What three adjectives best describes each competitor? What traits are aligned with customer expectations? What key messages do brands convey in marketing materials? (Including website. After defining the target audience. your strategy and development will be much stronger. such as hobbies and favorite brands to define target segments. Outline key customer needs on the x and y axises and plot competitor brands. With the benefit of real customer feedback. In fact. accessible. Combine insights from customer research with a thorough competitive analysis and creative stretching to determine the optimal brand position: Quick jump: Segmentation / Focus groups / Online survey research / Customer insights / Competitive analysis / Brand re-positioning Competitive Analysis Consumer research identifies audience needs states. to drive your differentiation and positioning strategy. Brand Differentiation and Position A chart should illustrate what makes your brand distinct among competitors. such as age. therefore record labels should focus more on digital music. with the advent of iTunes and pirated music. To differentiate yourself amongst peers. and timely than focus groups. and what are their products and services? What have been their successes to date? What are their competitive strengths. and psychographics. household income level. what you’re going to offer them. our team developed agenerational analysis and psychographic report. examine the market through the lens of a company and brand. find a pool of representative customers and either perform focus group research or online survey research. Then. Identify the opportunity based on customer need states and decision drivers to find the optimal brand position. most online research surveys can go from setup to response to data in a week or less. concert sales and rights management instead of traditional profits from CDs. customers no longer pay for whole CDs anymore. on the other hand. collateral) Consumer Research defines who you’re targeting. To examine potential segment need states and decision drivers. print. Questions to answer when examining companies and products:
Who are the top market players and what space do they occupy in your category? Who is their target market. Use demographics. Insights tie the two together. .appeal. Customers will inform overall market trends and specific need states. where you’re going to reach them. write a positioning statement: Our product [list benefits] for [target audience] because [name
. key decision drivers and the determines if market peers are meeting the needs of your target segments and how to better meet those needs. can provide insight to improve products. find what drives their buying decisions.
See also positioning.
Changing a brand's status in comparison to that of the competing brands. Repositioning is effected usually through changing the marketing mix in response to changes in the market place.unmet need]. creatively build a brand around that position. or due to a failure to reach the brand's marketing objectives. Finally. including a distinct voice and personality to make a meaningful connection with target audiences.