Effective Positioning Addresses Customer Needs

Often times companies get caught up in telling all about the bells and whistles of their products and services and neglect to talk about the most important element of all…how their solutions address their customers’ needs. After all, isn’t that what we are all in business to do? If we aren’t then we have a big problem!

Effective business positioning is all about describing the value your products and services provide to your target customer. Yes it is important to some degree to describe what it is you are selling, but it is most critical to focus primarily on the value you are providing. Many businesses fall into this trap of focusing too heavily on their products and services (features) and not enough on the problems they solve (benefits).

Let me give you an example:

Standard “feature” focused positioning: Our all-in-one fax/printer/copy machines feature fast, high-resolution printing and color copying.

More powerful “customer-value” focused positioning: Our all-in-one fax/printer/copy machines feature everything you need to efficiently produce high-quality, professional looking business documents that will impress your clients.

The first example above focuses heavily on the product’s features while the second version effectively addresses the customer value. Positioning your solutions according to customer benefit, rather than product features, will help you surely distinguish yourself and your solutions from your competitors.

I strongly believe this approach to key messaging should be pervasive across all of your sales and marketing communications channels, including in your brochures, sales presentations, website copy, press releases, articles, white papers, etc.

A good rule of thumb for crafting effective customer-focused key messages and positioning statements is to ask yourself the following question at the end of each statement: “What does this mean for my customer?” Here are more examples to further illustrate my point:

Typical “feature” focused key message: We offer a full range of business accounting services, from tax preparation and filing to payroll and accounts payable/receivable.

More powerful “value” focused key message: We offer every accounting service you need to effectively run your business, all under one roof.

The first message puts the accounting firm in a class with every other accounting firm. The second message helps distinguish the accounting firm from its competition.

I’ll leave you with this final thought: It isn’t about the solutions provided. It is, however, about providing solutions.

If you feel you need help crafting effective messages for your business, please consult a professional.

Kevin B. Levi


  1. Your winning message must come from a credible source. Credibility-based messages are helped by company images which are credible. This is the purpose of credibility-based logo design. Remember the classic communication persuasion model: credible source>motivational message>through a channel>to reach the customer. The credible source is at the beginning of the message chain, the customer is at the end. For more on this, please read some of my articles about source credibility and communication persuasion on my website, http://www.powerlogos.com.

    Dr. Bill Haig

  2. Thanks Bill.

  3. The best way to know what your potential customer wants is to ask him about it. And than you can positioning your products or services according to his answer

  4. Itchy,

    Yup. That’s obviously true but more importantly than asking him/her what they “want” is to find out what they “need”.

  5. the article is brillien and i enjoy reading it.i m sure that it will help a lot in my career.

    i will love to have more articles from you on positioning, making a marketing plan, sucess stories of marketing personels.


  6. Jeffrey Summers says

    Even better is to find out what they will need TOMORROW!

  7. Totally agree. Messaging is critical. And the right messaging is even more important. Always remember that no one cares what you have to sell, they care about what they want to buy. And how do you find out what they want to buy? Ask. Here’s a great article on conducting small business customer research free to find out exactly what they want so you can sell more.