Introduction

Around 95% of the 30,000 newly launched products fail every year due to wrong product segmentation. Effective product positioning can save the day by helping you to compellingly explain the value of your offerings to your potential customers, thereby making it successful in today’s fierce market competition.

Let’s take a look at what we will cover in this article- 

  1. What is Positioning in Marketing?
  2. Why is Product Positioning Important?
  3. Vital Elements of Product Positioning
  4. Types of Product Positioning
  5. How to Develop Product Positioning Strategies?
  6. Product Positioning Examples

1. What is Positioning in Marketing?

The product positioning meaning is the same as that of positioning in marketing. Product positioning is a strategic exercise that showcases your product’s unique benefits to a specific target audience in such a way that makes it better than alternative solutions.

Market/product positioning definition encompasses how your consumer sees your brand or product compared to the competing ones. It refers to establishing the identity or image of a product or brand so that the customers perceive it in a particular way.

2. Why is Product Positioning Important?

A study by Microsoft reveals that humans’ average attention span is reduced from 12 minutes in 2000 to 8 minutes in 2018! Further, another research shows that it decreases by a whopping 88% every year.

Product positioning enables you to quickly and accurately articulate your product’s key benefits and how it solves your customers’ pain points. It helps you keep your marketing strategy grounded and ensures your marketing efforts, messages, and promotional activities resonate with your customers by understanding how your product is the best option to meet their needs. Besides driving more leads and sales, it helps differentiate your service and product from the market competition.

In addition to effectively targeting your primary audience, product positioning can also help you capture a secondary audience that may be interested in your offerings in a different way; by using tailored marketing messages of their interest. For instance, a dietary health supplement company with protein powder, amongst its other offerings, has a primary target audience of sportspeople and weight lifters. It can also target health-conscious individuals who want to maintain their weight by using a suitable marketing strategy for the same product.

3. Vital Elements of Product Positioning

While finalizing the positioning of products, you should consider these core elements:

  • Target Audience – Your product should target specific buyers based on their demographics and behavior, such as age, gender, location, employment, and income. One of the best ways to define a target audience is by defining an “ideal customer” or a “buyer persona.”
  • Market Category – You need to identify and define who the buyers are in the market, where they are searching for services and goods, and whom they approach for availing these. It would help determine what your competitors offer and how you can position your product against the competition.
  • Customer Pains – Identify the customer issues and challenges for which your product will offer a solution.
  • Brand promise – The brand promise is what your target audience will gain from using your product for resolving their problems or pains.
  • Brand and Product Identity and Values – Your brand and product identity include your brand values, voice, logo design, and other aspects that set you apart from your competitors and enable you to gain recognition from your target audience.
  • Mission – The mission includes your organization’s objectives, goals, and approach.

4. Types of Product Positioning

There are a variety of options for brands for the positioning of a product. Following are the common categories of product positioning:

  • Pricing – Pricing is the most common type of market positioning wherein the businesses with a reasonable level of quality and the lowest product prices achieve success.
  • Convenience – Consumers prefer products and services that make their life easy. It can be in terms of usability, terms, and even location. The best example for this is any e-commerce websites that offer a convenient mode of ordering, a wide variety of selection, and a sound return policy at affordable prices.
  • Differentiation – If your product offers an identifiable difference from your competitor, it helps you stand out from the competition.
  • Brand Recognition – Unique visual branding, including symbols, shapes, colors, typography, logo, and more, can give your brand and product a distinct identity.
  • Problem Solver – You may position your product to focus on your consumers’ problems in your marketing strategy and communication and offer a ready solution.

5. How to Develop Product Positioning Strategies?

Devising an effective product positioning strategy is a collaborative exercise and often involves a close association between product management and product marketing teams to define your product’s core essence. For this, you need to apply the knowledge of the following areas combinedly:

  • Understand Your Customer – Product positioning should distinctly capture who your customers are along with their needs. It will help you describe your target customers’ attributes, such as their demographic, geographic, psychographic, and behavioral details. Also, explain the main problems that they are trying to solve. Use these persona profiles to inform your product positioning and help your team build empathy with your customers.
  • Analyze the Market – Research your competitors and understand how they cater to their customer needs. Based on this information, differentiate your product from the competition. It will help you showcase your product to your potential customers as the best alternative for solving their problems.
  • Assess the Product – Conduct SWOT analysis to objectively analyze where your product is doing well and where the scope of improvement lies. It will ensure that your marketing message is in line with product experience and help your customers make informed decisions.

Based on your product positioning strategy, create a brief positioning statement. Your positioning statement should narrate your target audience, how your product is unique, and why they should care for it.

6. Product Positioning Examples

Here are some consistently successful  product positioning examples in marketing:

  • Positioning Based on Corporate Identity – Baja uses the theme ‘Value for money for years’, and Britannia extended its corporate identity through its campaign “Eat healthy, think better.”
  • Positioning Based on a Brand Endorsement – Lakme (creams, colors, moisturizers), Annapurna (Salt, atta), Maggi (noodles, soup, sauces).
  • Positioning Based on Category – Tanishq (watches sold as jewelry), Sugar-free, a sugar-free sweetener, initially intended for diabetic patients was available in drug stores. Nowadays, it’s being positioned as a weight-control device for the health-conscious segment and sold through supermarkets.
  • Positioning Based on Benefits – Certain products like Lifebuoy (Kills the germs you cannot see) and M-Seal (Seal all leaks) are based on their brands’ functional benefits. In contrast, some others like Close-up (Confident) and Axe (Irresistible) narrate how customers feel about their products and involve emotional triggers.
  • Positioning Based on Occasion and Time of Use – Nescafe (Great start to the morning) and Kwality Walls (Post dinner treat).
  • Positioning Based on Price – Tata Indica (More car per car) and Westside (Surprisingly affordable).
  • Based on Demographics – Elle 18 for teens and college kids.
  • Behavioural Fit – Lays (No one can eat just one) and Coca Cola (Thanda Matlab Coca Cola).
  • Satisfaction fit – McDowell’s No. 1 (Smoothness) and Haywards (Strength).
  • Psychographic – Van Heusen (Corporate/Power dressing) and Bajaj Pulsar (Masculine).
  • The Consumer as a Complete Person– The Johnson and Johnson mom and Saffola wife.
  • Unique Attribute – Moov (special ingredient for backache), Dermi Cool (prickly heat powder that cools).
  • Positioning by a Competitor – Borosoft (non-greasy vs. Boroline and Boroplus), Savlon (doesn’t sting vs. Dettol).

The concept of positioning a product lets your product reach your customers effectively. It’s an essential marketing skill in today’s highly competitive market and can make or break your product’s and brand’s potential for success. These product positioning examples can effectively provide an understanding of how marketing works.

Conclusion

Postgraduate Certificate Program in Product Management by IIM Indore and Jigsaw Academy offers a fundamental understanding of various stages of the Product Development life cycle, including in-depth know-how about product positioning. This 6-month comprehensive program with online live sessions is based on the 5i framework of Product Management – Ideate, Innovate, Implement, Industrialize, and Improve. The course is supported by projects, case studies, industry sessions, and batch immersion with campus visits to IIM-Indore. Further, it includes a capstone project where you can bring your product idea to reality. For more information, check out our PGCP in Product Management.

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