The difference between “positioning statements” and “value propositions”

Confused about the difference between positioning statements and value propositions? You’re not alone. These terms are often used interchangeably, but they mean very different things.

Click here for an example of a positioning statement.

Check out this VIDEO describing another positioning statement example.

Value propositions are broad in nature and are a direct output of a company’s business strategy. They reflect your brand promise along with all the primary benefits offered to multiple market segments and the price the customer pays for those benefits. Value propositions refer to the “big picture.” Product marketers are usually responsible for developing the value proposition.

Positioning statements, on the other hand, are a subset of the value proposition. Positioning statements are used in marketing communications programs and activities. The positioning statement includes the target audience (persona), product name, category, benefit, and competitive differentiation. Price is not a component of the positioning statement. Most importantly, positioning statements represent a plea for single-mindedness when it comes to executing specific marketing messages aimed at very specific audiences. While the value proposition reflects the wider range of primary benefits offered, the positioning statement points a laser beam at only the most relevant benefit and points of competitive differentiation that are meaningful to the persona. Positioning statements are usually developed by product marketers with input from corporate marketers.

A single value proposition may be comprised by multiple positioning statements. They are both tools used by marketing teams to focus their campaigns, programs, and activities. However, neither provide the exact wording that will be used in any customer messaging. For that, you need the message box.

Click here for another example of a positioning statement.

For more examples and in depth analysis of positioning statements (along with personas and customer-ready messaging), please check out The Marketing High Ground.

3 responses to “The difference between “positioning statements” and “value propositions”

  1. Hi Mike – a Client of mine found your article via a Google search and pointed me in your direction. He suggested that perhaps a useful addition to the article might be a couple of examples of positioning statements as he couldn’t grasp the concept from your description alone.

  2. That’s great Mike; really appreciate the prompt, helpful update – have forwarded the link to him.

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