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Riffs on marketing and writing ––

What is product positioning?

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Product positioning is just a fancy shmancy word for discovering what benefits your potential customer finds most attractive about your product… and then marketing these benefits to said potential customer.

For example, before spending millions of dollars on marketing, Nike might ask a couple hundred runners what they like most about Nike running shoes.

Let’s say 75% of these runners say something along the lines of ––“I love how lightweight and comfortable Nike running shoes are.”

How should Nike go about marketing their running shoes?

They should create advertising that markets their running shoes as being the lightest and most comfortable in the world.

Does this make sense? Good.

While this may seem straight-forward and a bit commonsensical, you would be surprised by how many people don’t think about product positioning before spending thousands of dollars on marketing.

Buying thousands of billboards all over the country with your product on them, is only effective if you are positioning your product correctly in your customer’s mind…

Again, this means matching the RIGHT product benefits with the RIGHT customer.

Developing a positioning strategy

I know this can be a bit confusing, so let’s use Dove soap as an example. Here is how we would go about positioning Dove soap.

Let’s say Dove soap is interested in marketing their product to mothers of young children. What do you think is the best way they should go about positioning their product?

Well, there are two obvious benefits of Dove soap.

1. Dove can get your hands squeaky clean.

2. Dove can help moisturize dry skin.

Of these benefits, which do you believe to be the most attractive to a mother of a young child?

Cleanliness.

While mother certainly want their children to have moisturized skin, they are more concerned with keeping their child healthy and germ-free.

So, if Dove was going about marketing to mothers of young children, they would market their product with a positioning statement that reads something like ––

Dove. For mothers looking to keep their kiddos germ free this cold & flu season.

Best positioning statements

And, speaking of positioning statements, here are a few for you to think about as you continue to work towards better positioning your product.

Target ––

Style on a budget.

Volvo ––

For upscale American families, Volvo is the family automobile that offers maximum safety.

Home Depot ––

The hardware department store for do‑it‑yourselfers.

Product positioning in marketing isn’t hard. It really just comes down to taking the time and the energy to ask your customers what they want and like and need. And, better yet, asking them what they want, like and need most in regards to your product.

By Cole Schafer


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Cole Schafer