The Importance of a Positioning Statement

This post is a contribution by Jon Bergan whom we’d like to thank for allowing us to publish his work and the opportunity to share some good tips with you.
– Ken

Business marketing plays a vital role to the life cycle of any successful organization as it exposes and promotes your products and services to hundreds of potential customers. This statement is obvious to anybody who has ever ran a business before, however the important fact to remember is that marketing is useless if nobody remembers your advertisements. This is the hard truth about marketing and unfortunately it seems a lot of people fall short in this category. This is where a simple, effective and memorable positioning statement comes in to play.

One way to ensure people remember you and your products/services is to come up with a brilliant positioning statement. A positioning statement should define what you do, how you do it and position you within your industry all within a few catchy words. Some good examples include Jeans West “Fits Best” and Victorian Bitters “For a hard earned thirst”. Both of these statements identify briefly what the organization can do for you in just a few simple words. Remember, the KISS rule definitely applies here!

Most of us know what KISS is but if you don’t, it means Keep It Simple, Silly (ok so the last word is actually stronger and we’ve improvised)

To develop a great positioning statement, a few key steps should be conducted. These have been outlined below.

  1. Begin by reviewing your company’s Mission and Vision Statements and keep these in mind throughout the process. Your positioning statement should bring your vision to life.
  2. Make a list of your audiences and prioritize them.
  3. For each customer type, figure out what their urgent needs are. Don’t assume you know what your customers’ needs and pains are. Get out and talk to customers to get an in-depth understanding of their wants and their needs. Categorize the customer needs into three categories: Urgent, Important, and Useful.
  4. Make a matrix with the Urgent and Important Needs of customers across the top. Down the side, make a list of key features of your product/service. In each box where there’s a match between a customer need and what you offer, jot down how you solve that need.
  5. Make a similar chart for each of your competitors. In addition, gather information from their website, printed materials and other sources, how they are positioning themselves and what their key messages are. Write this all down.
  6. Now you have all the necessary information to identify your distinctive positioning. Using your company’s matrix, focus on how you meet the most urgent need, or top two if there’s a close second. In solving those needs, what do that is unique compared to the competition? Identify the one most compelling reason for customers to do business with you. It’s important to be focused.
  7. Write a sentence that gives you a distinctive advantage, not just presents your value as a superlative claim. Keep honing it until it’s clear and feels right. Check it out with some customers for confirmation that it conveys the compelling reason to do business with you.
The Micro-Script Rules ebook is another good resource to help you understand and develop strong positioning statements with lots of examples too.

Once you have applied these steps, you should have in your hot little hands an effective positioning statement that will soon become the single most important sentence in your marketing arsenal. Use this positioning statement wherever you can. Let the whole know what you can do for them. Remember, keep it simple. There is nothing worse than a position statement that takes more than a few seconds to read, process and most importantly memorize.

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