It is hard to imagine a company that isn't actively competing with another. In 2013, many ideas and strategies have been done before, whether as a product, brand, or piece of technology. The trick, today, is to take something that's been done before and market it in a way that promotes the production of value, which is something you'll need to understand in order to produce an effective competitive positioning strategy.
That way, your business will not only have an offensive plan of attack, but a defensive one as well in case a competitor comes biting at your heals. The trick is to strategize by knowing both the market and your competitor's stance in that market. By doing so, your business will stand out from the wishy-washy ploys your competitors invest way too much time and energy into.
Competitive positioning is defined as how you differentiate your prouduct or service in a way that adds value (and significance) to the market. So if you're trying to establish an effective positioning strategy to help set your business apart, check out these tips!
1. Know Your Target Audience AND the Competition
Studying up on your potential clients/clientele can mean all the difference when establishing a strong positioning strategy for your product. It helps to use market research so that you cannot only gain a better understanding of your own audience, but your competition's audience as well. See how those competitors have positioned themselves in the market and gauge what the benefits and drawbacks are of each position. Also understand that the market is in a constant ebb and flow of change, and that locking yourself into an outdated strategy is worth no one's time.
2. Know Your Own Market
Another important step in your competitive positioning strategy is knowing the weaknesses and shortcomings of your own market. Ask yourself (unbiasedly) what are some of the problems your company is currently struggling with?Discuss these problems with prospects or customers, or do some more research! Ask them what issues they're facing, or what their wants and needs are? What is the buyer personality of your product, and what lifecycle stage is your market in? These are all important questions you need to ask yourself, as a strong foundation is made so by a strong plan of attack.
3. Segment Your Buyer-Base
It also helps to group prospective clients into segments, a common practice used by competitive positioning strategists. By doing so, you give yourself clear cut groupings of your main buyers, making marketing to each distinct 'buyer' that much easier. There's never one, true, business strategy to follow, as buyers come from a variety of different markets with different interests and needs. Your choice is in quality vs. quantity, as it can be hard to do it all.
4. Develop a Distinct Value-Based Position
Now is the time to identify those areas where your competition is the weakest. Many businesses use three core-marketing incentives: lowest price, best product, or the best solution. This is the part where you can get creative with the direction of your company. While it's possible to exist outside one of those three categories, the trick is to implement one of them with a twist. Do you want to be known as a company or brand that's known more for it's price tag than customer service? Probably not, so it's best to find some niche in the system that allows you to focus the attention on the good values rather than the negative. The entire ideology behind filling a niche in your business is to make more money, so if there's no value, there's no reason to engage.
5. Understand the Art of Competition
So you've studied up on your target audience, outlined a competitive positioning strategy, and highlighted some incentives to get your business going? All that's left is to put your plan into action, but it doesn't stop there! Just because you have a new positioning strategy that's working well for you doesn't mean you own it. Once the competition gets dicey, will you be able to hold your own? If you can establish a strong position in the market, it makes sense to incorporate a strong strategy to match. The market's in a constant state of change, so you need to be on you heels and ready to embrace that change.
They say that you can create the best brand, you can sell the cheapest product, you can make the most inclusive offering, but you can never do all three at once...At Least Without A Little Help!
Matt Burke is a Content Marketing Specialist at Stratus Interactive, focused on providing clients with award-winning messaging that helps build brands and meet growth goals. See all Matt Burke's posts.