As consumers, we are constantly bombarded with a never-ending stream of products and services vying for our attention and dollars. In today's crowded markets, it can be incredibly challenging for businesses to differentiate themselves and position their products as the obvious choice for consumers.
But the good news is, it's not impossible. By understanding the principles of positioning and how to apply them to your product, you can make it stand out from the competition and become the obvious choice for your target audience.
What is positioning?
Positioning is the process of creating a unique and differentiated image or identity for a product or service in the mind of the consumer. It's about crafting a clear and compelling message that conveys the benefits and value of your product, and why it's the best option available.
Effective positioning can help you:
- Attract the right target audience
- Differentiate your product from competitors
- Communicate the unique benefits of your product
- Build brand recognition and loyalty
- Increase sales and revenue
But positioning is not just about creating a catchy tagline or slogan. It's about understanding the market, your competition, and your target audience, and then using that information to craft a unique and compelling message that resonates with your audience and positions your product as the obvious choice.
The principles of positioning
To effectively position your product in crowded markets, there are a few key principles to keep in mind:
- Understand your target audience
Before you can position your product, you need to have a clear understanding of who your target audience is and what they care about. This means conducting market research to identify the needs, wants, and pain points of your target audience, as well as their preferences, behaviors, and decision-making processes.
For example, let's say you're launching a new fitness app. In order to position your app effectively, you need to understand who your target audience is and what they care about. Are they mostly young professionals looking for quick workouts they can do on the go? Are they fitness enthusiasts who are looking for advanced training programs? Or are they older adults who are looking for low-impact workouts?
By understanding your target audience, you can tailor your positioning to speak directly to their needs and wants, and make your product the obvious choice for them.
2. Understand your competition
In order to position your product effectively, you also need to understand your competition. This means conducting a competitive analysis to identify who your competitors are, what they offer, and how they position their products.
For example, let's say you're launching a new meal delivery service. In order to position your service effectively, you need to understand who your competitors are and what they offer. Are there other meal delivery services in your area? If so, what sets them apart? Do they focus on organic and locally-sourced ingredients? Do they offer a wide range of dietary options?
By understanding your competition, you can identify where there are gaps in the market and position your product to fill those gaps and stand out from the competition.
3. Identify your unique value proposition
In order to position your product as the obvious choice, you need to be able to clearly communicate what sets your product apart from the competition. This is where your unique value proposition comes in.
Your unique value proposition (UVP) is a statement that clearly and concisely explains the unique benefits of your product and why it's the best option available. It should be specific, relevant, and compelling and should communicate the value of your product in a way that resonates with your target audience.
For example, let's say you're launching a new mobile app that helps users track their daily water intake. Your UVP might be something like "Our app makes it easy and fun to stay hydrated, with personalized daily hydration goals and reminders, plus a fun rewards system to keep you motivated." This UVP clearly communicates the unique benefits of your app and why it's the best option for users who want to stay hydrated.
4. Use compelling language and imagery
Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience, competition, and unique value proposition, it's time to craft your positioning message. This should be a clear and compelling statement that communicates the value of your product and why it's the obvious choice for your target audience.
When crafting your positioning message, it's important to use language and imagery that resonates with your target audience and captures their attention. This could be through the use of compelling adjectives, vivid verbs, or evocative imagery.
For example, let's say you're launching a new line of organic skincare products. Your positioning message might be something like "Nourish your skin with our all-natural, organic skincare line, made with pure, plant-based ingredients and hand-crafted in small batches for maximum potency." This message uses compelling language and imagery to communicate the value and benefits of your products, and sets them apart from the competition.
5. Test and refine your positioning
Once you have a clear and compelling positioning message, it's important to test it and refine it as needed. This could be through market research, focus groups, or other methods that allow you to get feedback from your target audience and see how they respond to your positioning.
For example, let's say you're launching a new subscription box service that delivers curated collections of artisanal and organic products to your doorstep each month. You might test your positioning message with a focus group of potential customers to see how they respond and what suggestions they have for improvement. This feedback can then be used to refine your positioning and make it more effective.
Examples of effective positioning in crowded markets
Now that we've covered the principles of positioning, let's look at some examples of companies that have successfully positioned their products in crowded markets.
- Dollar Shave Club
Dollar Shave Club is a subscription-based men's grooming brand that offers high-quality razors and other grooming products at affordable prices. In a market dominated by big-name brands like Gillette and Schick, Dollar Shave Club differentiated itself with its unique positioning message: "Shave time, shave money."
This message effectively positions Dollar Shave Club as a cost-effective and time-saving alternative to traditional razor brands. It also taps into a common pain point for many men - the high cost of razor blades - and offers a solution that is both affordable and convenient.
Casper is a direct-to-consumer mattress brand that offers high-quality, comfortable mattresses at a fraction of the cost of traditional mattress retailers. In a market crowded with mattress brands, Casper differentiated itself with its unique positioning message: "The internet's favorite mattress."
This message effectively positions Casper as the obvious choice for consumers who want a high-quality mattress at an affordable price. It also taps into the growing trend of online shopping and the convenience of buying a mattress directly from the manufacturer.
Starbucks is a global coffee chain that offers a wide range of high-quality coffee and food products in a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere. In a market crowded with coffee shops and chains, Starbucks differentiated itself with its unique positioning message: "The third place."
This message positions Starbucks as a third space for people to gather and connect, outside of their home and work environments. It also speaks to the company's focus on creating a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere for its customers, and sets Starbucks apart from other coffee shops and chains.
Positioning your product effectively in crowded markets is essential for attracting the right target audience, differentiating yourself from the competition, and increasing sales and revenue. By understanding the principles of positioning and applying them to your product, you can make it stand out from the competition and become the obvious choice for your target audience.