There are many businesses out there – all with their unique products and services, all vying for customer attention. So, how do you make sure your business stands out in the overcrowded and over-communicated marketplace?
The answer lies in positioning. You need to find the right place for your business in the customer’s mind, and then communicate that positioning to them clearly and consistently. This is how you’ll be seen and heard above all the noise.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the right positioning as a customer acquisition strategy and how you can use it to make your business stand out in the marketplace.
What Is Positioning?
Generally speaking, positioning is the process of creating a unique image and identity for your business and/or objective in the minds of your target customer. However, authors Al Ries and Jack Trout of the book “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind” define it more specifically as “an organized system for finding a window in the mind.”
In other words, it’s about finding a “mental slot” for your business in the customer’s mind and then filling that slot with the right message. You can think of positioning as creating a unique selling proposition (USP) for your business. It’s what sets you apart from the competition and makes you the only logical choice in the customer’s mind.
The Positioning Process: 6 Steps to Follow
The goal of positioning is to make your business the obvious choice for the customer. And, while there is no one-size-fits-all formula for accomplishing this, we can use Al Ries and Jack Trout’s key points from their book as a guide.
Here is a six-step positioning process to help get you started.
Step 1: Understand What’s Already in the Customer’s Mind
To be successful, you need to understand what’s already in the customer’s mind, and to restructure it to your advantage. “The essence of positioning thinking is to accept the perceptions as reality and then restructure those perceptions to create the position you desire.” This is what Ries and Trout call “outside-in thinking.”
However, the assault of the mind begins long before the customer is ever aware of your product or service. It starts with all the messages, impressions, and information that the customer has already been exposed to – messages from friends, family, the media, and so on. You need to be able to look at the customer’s world through their eyes and understand what they’re seeing.
Step 2: Think of Ways to Get Into the Customer’s Mind
Once you understand what the customer is seeing, you need to think about how you can get into their mind and start shaping those perceptions. This is where creativity and innovation come into play. You need to find a way to stand out from the competition and be different.
Authors Ries and Trout say, “The easy way to get into a person’s mind is to be first.” However, this may not always be possible – there are already established businesses in every industry. So instead, Ries and Trout suggest that “If you can’t be first in a category, then set up a new category you can be first in”.
For example, when Apple launched the iPod, they didn’t position it as a better MP or portable CD player. Instead, they positioned it as a new category – a digital music player. This positioning and customer acquisition strategy allowed them to be first in the customer’s mind and own that mental space.
Step 3: Find Your Niche
Some businesses try to be all things to all people, but this is a mistake. You need to find your niche and focus on serving that customer base. This is when you focus on a small part of the market and become the big fish in the small pond. As Ries and Trout say, “Isolating a narrow target is usually the first step in finding an effective position.”
When you try to serve everyone, you end up appealing to no one. But when you focus on a specific customer, you can better understand their needs and wants. This allows you to create a Positioning Statement that resonates with them and sets you apart from the competition.
Step 4: Consider the Position That You Own (And the Position You Want to Own)
Customer acquisition is all about getting into the customer’s mind and staying there. But, in order to do that, you need to understand what position you currently occupy (or want to occupy) in the customer’s mind.
Ries and Trout suggest that you should think of two positions: the position you are in and the position you want to be in. The position you are in is what the customer currently sees and thinks about your product or service. The position you want to be in is what you would like the customer to see and think.
The goal is to move from the position you are into the position you want to be in. And, to do that, you need to focus on the customer’s needs.
Step 5: Implement Your Positioning Strategy
Of course, all of this positioning is for naught if you don’t take action and implement your strategy. You need to turn your Positioning Statement into a Reality Statement by taking concrete steps to make it happen.
This means creating marketing materials, sales collateral, and customer-facing content that reflects your new position. It also means training your team on the new positioning and making sure they are aligned with the customer’s needs.
Step 6: Monitor & Adjust Your Positioning Strategy
It’s important to remember that positioning is a never-ending process. As customer needs and perceptions change, you need to adjust your positioning and acquisition strategy to stay ahead of the competition.
This means monitoring customer feedback and making changes to your products, services, and marketing materials as needed. It also means being prepared to pivot when necessary and abandoning strategies that are no longer working.
Be Seen & Heard: Make Your Brand Stand Out in an Overcrowded Marketplace
In today’s marketplace, it’s more important than ever to find ways to stand out from the competition. With so many businesses vying for customer attention, you need to be strategic about how you position your company.
By following the steps outlined above, you can create a positioning strategy that will help you acquire new customers and stay ahead of the competition. So, what are you waiting for? Get started today and position your business for success!
Need help with customer acquisition? Here at Beanstalk Growth Marketing, we can help you find the right strategy to reach your target market and grow your business. Contact us today and let us show you how we can help!