Positioning is creating an identity to your product. This identity is a cumulative of the following four positioning identities.
Having chosen an approach for reaching the firm’s target segment, marketers must then decide how best to position the product in the market. The concept of positioning seeks to place a product in a certain ‘position’ in the minds of the prospective buyers. Positioning is the act of designing the company’s offer so that it occupies a distinct and valued place in the target customers’ minds. In a world that is getting more and more homogenized, differentiation and positioning hold the key to marketing success!
The positioning gurus, Al Ries and Jack Trout define positioning as: Positioning is … your product as the customer thinks of it. Positioning is not what you do to your product, but what you do to the mind of your customer. Every product must have a positioning statement. A general form of such a statement is given below:
Product X is positioned as offering (benefit) to (target market) with the competitive advantage of (competitive advantage) based on (basis for competitive advantage)
For example, the positioning statement of toothpaste X may read as follows:
Toothpaste X is positioned as offering to kids a toothpaste made especially for those kids who don’t like to brush with the competitive advantage of a mild fruit taste and lower foaming.
One way to think about positioning is to imagine a triangle, with the baseline anchored by the organization and competitor concerns and the apex, the customers. The marketer’s job is to find a positioning of the product or service that is both possible and compatible with organization constraints which uniquely places the product/service among competitive offerings so as to be most suitable to one or a number of segments of customers.
Positioning can be done along different possibilities. Attribute positioning is when the positioning is based on some attribute of the product. Benefit positioning is when a derived benefit is highlighted as the unique selling propositioning. Competitor positioning is when a comparison is drawn with the competitor and a differentiation from the competitor is emphasized. Product category positioning is when a product is positioned to belong to a particular category and not another category which probably is crowded. Quality/price positioning is when the product is positioned as the best value for money.
For example, a Pizza may be positioned on its taste or it’s natural contents or as an easy meal or with a thicker topping or as the lowest priced offering the best value for money. Each one of them offers a distinct positioning possibility for a pizza.
In the positioning decision, caution must be taken to avoid certain positioning errors: Under positioning is done when a unique, but not so important attribute is highlighted. As a result, the customer does not see any value in such a position. Over positioning is done when the product performance does not justify the tall claims of positioning. Confused positioning is when the customer fails to categorize the product correctly and the product ends up being perceived differently from what was intended. Doubtful positioning is when the customer finds it difficult to believe the positioning claims.
Positioning map is a valuable tool to help marketers position products by graphically illustrating consumers’ perceptions of competing products within an industry. For instance, a positioning map might present two different characteristics, price and quality, and show how consumers view a product and its major competitors based on these traits. Marketers can create a competitive positioning map from information solicited from consumers or from their accumulated knowledge about a market.
Draw a positioning map to describe the toothpaste market. Choose any two characteristics to show how the different brands can be viewed based on these traits.
Sometimes, changes in the competitive environment or cultural environment force marketers to reposition a product – changing the position it holds in the minds of prospective buyers relative to the positions of competing products. Nestle’s Milkmaid brand has undergone few repositionings in the last few decades.
The original positioning as ‘sweetened condensed milk as a milk substitute’ became obsolete when India attained self-sufficiency in milk production and milk products. So Milkmaid was repositioned as a ‘ready ingredient’ in preparing home-made sweets. Recipes started appearing on the labels. It succeeded for a certain period of time. Soon the Indian households were no longer making home-made sweets, but rather consuming ready-made, packaged sweets.
If it was an economic environment factor that necessitated a repositioning earlier, it was now the changing demographic of the Indian homes. Milkmaid took another successful attempt at repositioning.
Milkmaid was then repositioned as a ‘central ingredient’ in making the deserts at home. The recipes naturally changed. Repositioning helps a firm to tide over the environmental changes and the changes in consumers’ preferences. It extends the life of a brand.
Positioning is creating an
identity to your product. This identity is a cumulative of the following four
Who am I?
It refers to the corporate credentials like the origin, family tree and
the ‘stable’ from which it comes from. For instance, think of the mental
associations when a buyer buys a Japanese car and it is a Honda!
What am I?
It refers to the functional capabilities. The perceived brand
differentiation is formed using the brand’s capabilities and benefits. For
instance, the Japanese cars are known for their fuel-efficiency,
reasonable-price and utility-value.
For whom am I?
It refers to the target segment for the brand. It identifies the that
market segment for which his brand seems to be just right and has competitive
advantage. For instance, the Japanese car makers have traditionally focused on
the quality-conscious, value-seeking and rather-serious car buyer
It highlights the differential advantage of the brand when compared to
the competing brands. It gives reasons as to why the customer should select
this brand in preference to any other brand. For instance, Japanese car makers
have tried to score a competitive advantage on the lines of quality and
Tags : MARKETING MANAGEMENT - Market Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning
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