In this article we describe Marketing Positioning, an important marketing concept with which an attempt is made to give a place for an awareness of a product or service in the mind of the consumer.

What is Positioning?

Positioning is an important marketing concept with which an attempt is made to give a place for an awareness of a product or service in the mind of the consumer. The point is about the perception relative to the competitor. With this technique an attempt is made at creating an image or identity in the perception (in the mind) of the target group. This image is often based on a defensible competitive advantage.

By making use of a defensible competitive advantage in the positioning strategy, a distinctive character relative to the competitor emerges in the mind of the customer. Consider the Marlboro Man of Philip Morris. In the Marlboro advertisement, the Marlboro Man occupied a central position for years. This was a tough cowboy, with hat and horse, who enjoys his cigarette in a cool manner. Thereby the customer associated Marlboro with “toughness” “ruggedness” and masculinity. Despite that the product “cigarette” has limited opportunities to distinguish itself, Philip Morris manages to succeed with a good positioning strategy. Marlboro is now the biggest cigarette brand in the world.

Different forms of Positioning

There are three forms of Positioning:

  1. Functional (solves problems, offers advantages to clients)
  2. Symbolic (extending self-image, ego identification, sense of belonging and social meaningfulness, affective fulfillment)
  3. Experience giving (offer sensoric stimulation; offer cognitive stimulation)

What does Positioning do?

By choosing a good positioning, a company distinguishes itself from the competitor. That is so because the correct positioning is the best way to communicate a product’s added value to the target group. Marlboro communicated a number of qualities with which the customer proceeded to associate himself, resulting in added value for the Marlboro cigarette.

Why Positioning?

To create distinctive quality compared to the competitor in the mind of the consumer. Such as in the example of Marlboro Man creating marketing added value by which the product become succesful.

How to do Positioning?

Choosing a good positioning is not easy. The input from a brainstorming session is often invaluable. Other positioning aids encompass graphic perception charts, market researches, and statistical techniques.

Step 0: Clarity concerning one’s own product and market (must be as clear as possible) Who are we? What do we sell? What is the ideal client? What does the ideal client need? What is different about our company? What kind of unique advantages does the company have to offer?

Step 1: Identifying the competing products Who are our competitors?

Step 2: Gathering information about the customer’s perception (sample)

Step 3: Classify one’s own products and the competing products (such as in a matrix)

Step 4: Research the matrix, the position of one’s own products and ideal position

Step 5: Choose the ideal positioning