This is the second in a four-part series on Creating a Marketing Plan, which includes:

  1. Setting your goals and targets
  2. Market positioning
  3. Drawing the plan together
  4. Marketing measurements

Review the previous post if you’ve missed it and want to go back.

In this post, we’ll cover what market positioning means and why it’s important. This is all about how your audience sees you relative to your competition. I’ll start by asking you a simple question:

Why would someone use you over your competition?

Can you answer this easily? If not, you may have a positioning problem.

What is market positioning?

In simple terms, market positioning is the way you position your business in the market to attract customers. Your market positioning could be based on factors such as quality, price, speed or innovation. It depends on what’s possible and what matters to your customers.

Why is market positioning important?

Firstly, it allows you to attract your target audience. However, often a business will hold a position in a market and either not be fully aware of where they sit relative to the competition or not communicate it. But if you identify and communicate what makes your business unique in your marketplace and why it’s the best choice for your target audience, you’re more likely to win their business.

Secondly, market positioning can help you charge premium prices for your products or services. If customers perceive your business as high quality, innovative or providing something they can’t get for less, they’ll be willing to pay more for what you offer.

Finally, market positioning can help you build a solid and recognisable brand. If you can position your business well, you’ll be able to create a powerful brand that customers will remember and trust.

How can you improve your market positioning?

You can do a few key things to improve your market positioning.

  1. Create a clear understanding of your target audience and what they’re looking for. Once you know this, you can start to communicate your unique selling points and position your business in a way that appeals to them. You can read more about how to do this here.
  2. Keep an eye on your competition and make sure you’re always offering something different or better. If you can stay ahead of the competition, you’ll be in a solid position to win over customers.
  3. Draw up a market positioning matrix. Add the values along the x and y-axis that it’s possible to compete on in your marketplace, and plot yourself and your competitors on the matrix. An example might be ‘quality’ vs ‘price’ as in the following matrix. For your market, ‘speed’ or ‘authority’ may be the important competitive factors to use for positioning instead of quality or price. Look into Porter’s Generic Strategies if you want another way of looking at this.
  4. Finally, you need to make sure your whole team knows your market positioning and is working hard to communicate it effectively. If everyone is on the same page, you’ll be able to create a consistent and powerful message that will resonate with customers.

We don’t do business in a vacuum, so market positioning is vital for any successful business.

If you feel you don’t have a position, make sure you find one, occupy it and communicate why someone should use you over the competition. If you have a position but find it’s a crowded marketplace where everyone is competing on price, could you change where you’re positioned and update your communications accordingly?

In the next post, we’ll cover the ingredients of a marketing plan to draw it all together. Find the full series here.

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