Every entrepreneur thinks that they have the next big idea and that if only consumers or businesses were exposed to it, it would become a rockstar business overnight. In truth, this is not always the case. Often, there is a massive disconnect between those creating brands and what the target audience is demanding. To fix that problem, businesses need to craft a stellar product or create a service that resonates with their audiences.
It is important to have a product or service that provides real value, but equally important is learning how to articulate those benefits to potential customers. Without proper branding, even the most exciting product can sit on a shelf or go overlooked as the competition continues to maintain its hold on the market. Learning how to create a positioning statement that helps a brand or product stand out from the competition, and also connect with audiences can make the difference between success and delayed opportunities for many businesses.
Positioning Statements Explained
A positioning statement is intended for internal use only. This means that a business is not going to share this information with the public. According to the National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP), it is used so a business can create and launch marketing campaigns that support overall goals from branding and consumer outreach to strategic partnerships and implementing retail strategies. In short, a good positioning statement helps a business stay focused and true to their target audience and product or service goals.
Understanding The Importance Of A Solid Positioning Statement
Marketing is a critical component of building a successful brand or product. No matter how good something is, if no one knows about it or it never gets in front of the right people that help it take off, then the product is irrelevant. This is where positioning statements are effective tools.
When a business takes the time to perform due diligence and map out how products or services align with consumer demand or needs, this improves success rates when managing consumer outreach. But to do this, a business must approach developing a position statement with focus and clarity.
Creating An Effective Positioning Statement
Creating a positioning statement follows basic principles that are not that different than — for example — writing an essay in school. To be effective and ace the class, a student writing an essay must answer the five W’s. While positioning statements might seem more sophisticated than an English literature essay on a novel, the concept is the same.
Who Is The Target Audience?
Because positioning statements directly influence marketing goals, the first question the marketing department, founders, or even sales teams must answer is, who is the target audience? What people would be interested in this product or service?
But this is not a simple answer. Creating a target audience profile requires nuance. This is because, depending on the product or service being pitched, the customer life cycle can vary widely and it is possible to intercept customers at different points along that cycle.
For example, a brand selling screen printed t-shirts priced at $20 each does not necessarily require a long customer journey. However, the target audience may be diverse. Depending on the graphics, the audience could include a wide age range from 13 to 65, all genders, and even varying interests. But, if the brand is not well known, it might take three to five website visits for a consumer to shift from a casual browser to someone that adds a product to the cart — and finally to someone who adds a product to their cart and also completes the checkout process.
When creating a target audience profile consider:
What Is The Product Being Offered?
“Product” is used loosely here and can refer to a good or a service. Whichever term applies to a business, clearly define what the product is. This does not need the nuance of the “who is the target audience” question and can consist of a few sentences simply spelling out what is being offered to consumers. But clarify whether it is a physical product with premium materials, or a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that revolutionizes processes and makes routine tasks or disconnected departments work more efficiently together.
When Can People Access The Product?
This one might seem like an odd one, but the “when” can be expanded beyond the product itself. Asking the question “when can people access the product” can refer to a launch date for brands wanting to build excitement ahead of a launch or can be used to position the actual brand as an expert in the field.
For example, a brand creating a product targeting other businesses (also referred to as B2B), may want to outline how long the business has been open. Alternatively, highlighting key team members with extensive experience in a brand’s industry or field can also prove why the promoted product is preferable to the competition.
Where Can People Access The Product
This is a straightforward question that needs to be answered. Whether consumers can shop online or in-store, or need to contact a sales representative to request pricing, be sure that the positioning statement defines this. When a business knows where a product can be purchased or accessed, marketing and sales campaigns can effectively be developed to meet consumers where they are — which is essential to turn them into customers.
Why Should Consumers Buy The Product
This is the hero portion of any positioning statement. In this area, businesses need to identify why the product being offered is superior to competitors or relevant. This can be similar to the value proposition. However, with positioning statements, this conversation is extended to connect the “why” to the target audience that was identified in the “who” question.
Tips For Creating A Stellar Positioning Statement
Creating a positioning statement that resonates with a brand’s target audience and helps to build more effective marketing or sales strategies is critical. The following tips can help key stakeholders develop a positioning statement that offers proper guidance.
- Seek outside feedback: Sometimes internal team members can be too close to the topic to be objective. Gather feedback from focus groups or even other departments not in charge of marketing or sales to maintain perspective.
- Focus on core talking points: It’s easy to create a positioning statement that turns into a manifesto. Avoid this by prioritizing factors that directly impact sales or customer acquisitions and segment or delete factors that are nice to have but not essential.
- Skip the marketing speak: Focus on what matters—which is not excessive verbiage. Remember, this positioning statement will be shared with other team members and should clearly state goals and product facts, not a bunch of language that are wordy and excessive.