Positioning your Product in the Market

by smartamarketing

Determining the Positioning Strategy

Dr Brian Monger

Having explored the alternative positioning strategies available, the marketer must determine which strategy is best suited for the firm or product and begin developing the positioning platform.   The development of a positioning platform can be seen as a six-step process:

1.  Analysing the buyers’ preferences

The earlier discussion of segmentation in this chapter, noted various factors that may distinguish groups of buyers, including situation, benefits sought, behavioural factors and lifestyle differences.  Each of these segments may have different purchase motivations and different attribute importance ratings.  One way to determine these differences is to consider the ideal brand, defined as the value offering the consumer would prefer over all others, including value offerings that can only be imagined but do not exist.  Identifying the ideal product can help you identify different ideals among segments or identify segments with similar or the same ideal points.

2.  Assessing buyers’ perceptions of our value offering. 

The organisation needs to determine how their brand is perceived by buyers in relation to their preferences in 1. above.  Which attributes are important to buyers in evaluating this type of product?

3.  Identifying competitors. 

This process requires broad thinking.  Competitors may not be just those products and/or brands that fall into your product class or with which you compete directly.  The organisation must consider all likely competitors, as well as the various effects of use and situations on the consumer.

4.  Assessing buyers’ perceptions of competitors. 

Once the organisation has defined its competition, they must determine how they are perceived by buyers in relation to their preferences.  Which attributes are important to buyers in evaluating a product and/or brand?

5.  Determining competitors’ positions. 

After identifying the relevant attributes and their relative importance to buyers, we must determine how each competitor (including our own entry) is positioned with respect to each attribute.  This will also show how the competitors are positioned relative to each other.

Adopting a positioning strategy.

Going through the previous steps will help a firm understand which position to (try to) assume in the marketplace.

These judgements raise a number of questions:

•           Is the segmentation/targeting strategy appropriate?  Positioning is the result of a decision to segment the market.  The question here asks whether the right variables have been focused on.

•           Are there sufficient resources available to communicate the position effectively?  It is expensive to establish a brand position.  Marketer need to commit to a long-range effort in all aspects of the marketing campaign.  Further, once a successful position is attained, it is likely to attract competitors.  It may become expensive to fend off me-too brands and continue to hold on to the brand distinction.

•           How strong is the competition?  The marketer manager needs to ask whether a position sought is likely to be maintainable/defensible, given the strengths of the competition.

•           Is the current positioning strategy working?  If current efforts are not working, it may be time to consider an alternative positioning strategy (repositioning).  If they are working, a change is usually unwise.  Change may cause confusion in the marketplace and weaken a brand’s position.  Unless there is strong reason to believe a change in positioning is necessary, stick with the current strategy.

           Monitoring the positionOnce a position has been established, it needs to be monitored.  Tracking studies measure the image of the product (or firm) over time.  Changes in buyers’ perceptions can be determined, noted and reacted to.  The impact of competitors can be determined

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Also check out the article on Segmentation, Targetting and Positioning on http://smartamarketing.wordpress.com