What IS and what IS NOT a positioning statement?


position statementThe dreaded positioning statement. Possibly the most dull, graduate-school-preaching statement in the business world. While this might be true, having a rock solid positioning statement is also a critical stepping stone to standing out and above the crowd in your marketplace – especially when implementing inbound marketing strategies. When done correctly, the positioning statement outlines how you want your prospect ecosystem to think about your service, product, and brand in comparison to your competition.

If you are unsure of how your competition stacks up or how you stack up against your competition, pick a handful of known competitors and begin researching their websites to see how they are positioned. If you are short on time or if you require a more thorough analysis, consider hiring someone to perform a full blown competitive analysis.

In your position statement, define compelling reasons for your customer to shape a positive frame of reference to buy your service or product.  A successful positioning statement acts as the internal compass to delivering consistent messages to your audience. The number of ways prospects can find you and interact with your content (and your competitors) is ever increasing – consider websites, print, phone, social media, and search engines alone.  Let your the position statement guides you as you expand your content and inbound marketing footprint regardless of the channel.

The potential risks of not clearly positioning your company are evidenced by poor marketing and sales results. In the Harvard Business Review case study, Positioning: The Essence of Marketing Strategy, the authors state, “ If you do not actively and accurately communicate how you want your product to be positioned in your customers’ minds, your customers will position the product themselves, for themselves—perhaps with the “help” of your competitors “.

A positioning statement is

  • An internal document
  • Believable, straightforward, and true
  • A statement that defines your target market
  • How you want customers to perceive your brand
  • A statement that differentiates you AND customers value that differentiation

A positioning statement is NOT

  • Customer facing
  • Confusing
  • An advertisement, slogan, or tagline
  • Full of empty promises, embellishment and fancy words
  • A sales pitch or a value proposition

While writing a positioning statement may seem easy on the surface, it requires you to answer some soul searching questions about your business. It can be complicated if you have multiple products and multiple target markets. Getting lost in the minutia can stall teams and strategies.  Avoid stagnation at all costs and stick to what a positioning statement is. Start putting words on paper, test approaches, and fine tune until the statement stands the test of the vetting process.

Photo Credit: USACEpublicaffairs