Positioning Statements in Action – Part 2

So, what makes a good positioning statement? The following is a snippet from The Marketing High Ground. More details of this positioning statement example, including many others, can be found in the book. Additional examples will be shared and briefly reviewed in future posts. Read part 1.

This is another example of a positioning statement in action

Let’s conduct a quick evaluation of this real positioning statement. What do we like? What needs some refinement?

Pros:

  • This team constructed a persona they called “The Skeptical Futurist.” This short-hand description became a handy reference shared widely amongst the team.
  • This team chose to position the company and not a specific product. They determined that the target audience prioritized the need to feel confident in making a good purchase decision as being more important than the actual hardware being purchased. Thus, the category choice became “single vendor, strategic partner.” The confidence angle plays well to their brand image, so they chose to lead with that. This is a helpful reminder that competing feature- to-feature isn’t always required or appropriate.
  • Three competitive alternatives are offered here, each revealing a weakness that could be exploited in the messaging.

Cons:

  • The category and benefit elements are rather verbose. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because the positioning statement is not the message to customers. However, it is critical that every word be meaningful to the marketing team. Watch out for streams of technical jargon that ramble on and muddle the intention.
  • The differentiators against the three nearest competitive alternatives are written from an internal perspective. But are these really true, or just complaints based on gossip? As marketing is really aimed at managing perceptions, these statements are acceptable. However, it is probably worthwhile to explore these in more detail to see if they are meaningful to the intended personas. Some additional market research would be helpful to substantiate these statements.
  • As a central positioning statement, addressing the top three competitors here serves a purpose. However, these specific differentiators are only relevant when competitor X, Y, and Z are engaged with the prospect. And each of these differentiators is likely to be relevant in the short-term only. If we assume they are true (as per the bullet point above), then time is of the essence to make use of them now. They are not sustainable.

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