Product Positioning In Marketing – How To Get It Right
What is Product Positioning in Marketing?
Product positioning in marketing is equivalent to the process of matchmaking.
A successful matchmaker ensures that two compatible people meet together to begin a long term relationship. Similarly, an expert marketer ensures that the right products are targeted towards the right consumers.
It makes sure that no one sees the iPhone 12 as a phone with lower specifications as compared to many Androids, but a luxury experience that no other phone can replicate.
It makes sure that people see diamonds not as solidified carbon, but as a wedding necessity.
It makes sure the pulp in an orange juice is seen as a nutritional add-on and not as a hindrance.
Why Is Product Positioning In Marketing Important?
Sales can plummet without proper product positioning.
- Is your product something innovative that needs to be marketed to a new audience altogether?
- Is it an upgrade over something that exists in the current market?
- Is it an existing product that needs to be marketed differently in a separate region?
- Or do people already have a certain image of it, that shouldn’t be drastically changed?
These questions can help make or break a product’s sales.
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Product positioning in marketing, essentially, helps create an image of a product or a brand. And in that sense, it helps develop an audience, a market for it.
This ‘image’ is important because it wires a certain consumer base to react in a certain way to a product. It helps build an intangible image off of which purchase decisions are made.
Bic, for example, has an image of creating economical pens. Trying to sell those as a luxury item might create a dissonance in the minds of its existing target market.
On the converse, Bic rides off the positioning of its pens and has successfully created economical perfumes and lighters.
How To Get Product Positioning in Marketing Right?
There is no one right answer to how a company can position their products correctly. However, there are a few cues that you can take to make that happen:
1. Learn From Other Industries
Product positioning innovations in other industries might not apply directly to your company. However, there are always lessons to be learned and derivatives to be created from other industries.
For example, Xbox took cues from streaming giants such as Netflix and Prime Video to create the Game Pass.
The company used its existing inventory of games, to develop a streaming market by giving gamers a subscription-based model, unique to the industry.
The positioning worked, as the gaming service has over 15 million subscribers, already.
Similarly, if there is a relationship between your products and those from other industries, you can try and import successful positioning strategies with a few tweaks, of course.
2. Fill Missing Gaps in The Market
Disrupting the status quo requires research- and a lot of it- but once done, you can craft a unique positioning for your products.
Apple did it to the phone market, with the iPhone. Google did it to the phone software market by releasing the open-sourced Android.
Companies like Mi do it by providing cheap smartphone alternatives to the iPhone and Samsung smartphones.
If a product is inaccessible to a certain population, there is a gap to be filled. How can you create and position your product to fill that gap?
Unless you have the chance and/or unprecedented intelligence, your best bet is creating insights with market and industry research.
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3. Experiment & Try Something New in Other Markets
Called ‘Market Development’ in the Ansoff Matrix, this strategy can work if your products have a strong presence in only one country/market.
Pabst, for example, mostly made affordable beers in America in 2010. However, in the same year, they launched the Pabst Blue Ribbon 1844, in China, which costs USD44 per bottle (!!!).
This kind of product positioning in marketing is the corporate equivalent of ‘new city, new me’. Like Pabst, you can use your brand’s/ products’ lack of global renown to create a new identity for yourself.
4. Be Sneaky About Diversified Products
It is difficult to be sneaky in the age of the Internet.
However, it is best to not heavily advertise your corporate name with a new product, if it meets both the following conditions:
- The positioning of the product is wildly different from what you normally produce.
- Your brand is very well known in the market.
Such was the case for Tata when they acquired Jaguar- the luxury car brand. Tata, an Indian conglomerate, is known to manufacture essential goods and cars that cost a little over USD4000.
Therefore, directly associating with Jaguar would have been counterproductive.
So, unless an internet user does research on who owns what, there is no way of knowing that the everyman brand owns the pillars of luxury that are Jaguar and Land Rover.
Similarly, if your business is wildly positioning a product to a completely different market, it is best to try and not flaunt your corporate name with the new venture.
5. Double Down on Your Unique Selling Point
Your Unique Selling Point (USP) can prove to be an invaluable tool in positioning your product and giving you a competitive advantage over other companies.
If you’re a sixth-generation acoustic guitar creator, double down on that and flaunt that. All the guitar purists will be lining up to buy your creations.
If your software is the only one with unreplicable tech, market that so that consumers come flocking to you.
Your USP can create a position for your product that no one else can occupy, granted the USP is valued highly by the target market.
Product positioning in marketing is crucial and crafting a unique position for yourself can be a game-changer for you and your brand.
Most consumers considered the Xbox as an inferior console to the PlayStation. So, Microsoft changed the tide by shifting its focus from hardware to software.
Building that unique position, getting it right is a combination of research, trial and error, and persistence. This is especially true if your aim is to get a new product to a new market.
It takes time, effort, and quality for newly positioned products to work.
However, doing this- positioning your products effectively, crafting a distinctive identity for your products is much better than trying to be the same in a potentially saturated market.