Why you need a positioning statement

Positioning statementA positioning statements may not appear at first glance to be one of the most exciting bits of a marketing plan. However, they are essential to give you a competitive edge and grow your business.

What is a positioning statement?

It is a statement that clearly describes your target market, your product or service, its benefits and how it’s different from other companies.

It is one of the most effective ways to help businesses set themselves apart from competitors.

It should be used as an internal tool and once the positioning statement is in place, marketing activity can then be developed to attract new clients. A good positioning statement is a guidepost for your marketing efforts.

What makes a good positioning statement?

Here are six keys things to keep in mind:

  1. It is simple, memorable, and tailored to the target market.
  2. It provides an unmistakable and easily understood picture of your brand that differentiates it from your competitors.
  3. It is credible, and your brand can deliver on its promise.
  4. Your brand can be the sole occupier of this particular position in the market. You can “own” it.
  5. It helps you evaluate whether marketing decisions are consistent with and supportive of your brand.
  6. It leaves room for growth.

What to include in a positioning statement?

Here’s a basic template for writing a positioning statement:

For [insert Target Audience], the [insert Brand/Company] is the [insert Unique Benefits] among all [insert Market Segment] because [insert Reason to Believe].

The target audience is a clear, focused description of the core prospect. This describes the target companies, the roles/functions within those companies, and/or the people who fill those roles. Obviously, there are many audiences you ultimately need to reach. The key here is to narrow your focus to the single most important audience – greater specificity in this description will support more focused communications and more effective targeting.

Market segment is simply the market in which you compete. You want the target audience to think of your company as the top provider of the service in this market segment.

The Unique Benefits describes how your brand or product benefits customers in ways that set you apart from your competitors. It is crucial that this benefit – or combination of benefits – be unique.  It can be easy to develop a list of benefits but it can be very difficult to identify clearly what benefits are unique. Your unique benefits should be truly motivating, compelling advantages for the target audience. Put yourself in your potential client’s shoes to see why they would prefer to choose your businesses over your competitors.

The reason to believe is just what it says. This is a statement providing compelling evidence and reasons why customers in your target market can have confidence in your differentiation claims. It is compelling proof the brand can deliver the promised benefits.

The wording of the positioning statement doesn’t have to match this template exactly, but to be effective, it must contain the five main components in brackets above.

Above all, your unique benefits, and reason to believe must be meaningful, important, and convincing to your clients, not just to your company.

An example of a positioning statement

The following positioning statement was used by Amazon.com in 2001, when it sold books almost exclusively:

For World Wide Web users who enjoy books, Amazon.com is a retail bookseller that provides instant access to over 1.1 million books. Unlike traditional book retailers, Amazon.com provides a combination of extraordinary convenience, low prices, and comprehensive selection.

Read my blog on developing an effective marketing plan to understand the role positioning statements have.