De-positioning involves attempting to alter the identity of other competing products, relative to the identity of your own product, in the collective minds of your target market.
Re-positioning involves altering the identity of a product, relative to the identity of other competing products, in the collective minds of your target market.
The original work on Positioning Marketing was more consumer marketing oriented, and not focused on competitive products as much as it was focused on cutting through the clutter of the ambient "noise band " and creating a moment of real contact with the intended target recipient. In the well known example of the car rental company, Avis ads claiming "No.2, We Try Harder", the point they made was shocking - it cleared space in your brain and made you forget all about who was the #1 company, and made a point about being "hungry" for your business.
The growth of high-tech marketing has had much to do with the shift in these definitions towards more competitive positioning.
Although there are different definitions of Positioning Marketing, probably the most common is: identifying a specific market niche for a brand, service or product utilizing traditional marketing placement strategies (such as price, distribution, packaging, promotion and competition).
Positioning Marketing as a concept in marketing which was first popularized by Al Ries of Atlanta and Jack Trout in their bestselling book " Positioning - a battle for your mind".
This definition differs from the context in which the term was first published in 1971 by Jack Trout in his paper on "Positioning" is a game people play in today’s me-too market place" in the popular publication Industrial Marketing, where the case is made that the a typical consumer is over-whelmed with unwanted advertising, and develops a natural tendency to filter out all information that does not immediately find a comfortable (and vacant) slot in that consumers mind. They expanded this into their first book called, "Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind", in which they defined Positioning Marketing as "an organized system for finding a window in the mind. Based on the concept that communication can only take place at the right time and under the right circumstances."
What most will agree on is that Positioning Marketing is a perception that in the minds of the target market. It is the aggregate perception that the market has of a particular business, service or product relative to their perceptions of the other competitors in the same category. It happens independent of a company's management. Whether it is proactive, reactive or passive about the process of evolving a market position. A company can and should positively influence these perceptions through strategic positioning marketing actions.
Product positioning process
Usually, the product positioning process involves:
- Defining the market in which the brand or product will compete (who the actual buyers are)
- Collecting information from surveys of customers about their specific perceptions of each product
- Determine each product's location in the product space
- Determine each product's mind share
- Identifying the features that define the product space
- Examine the congruency between:
- The position of your product
- The position of the ideal perception vector
- Determine the target market's preferred combination of attributes
This process is similar for positioning your business's services. Remember that services, don't have the physical attributes of products - we can't feel them or touch them or show nice product pictures of them . So you must first ask your customers and then yourself too, what value do your clients get from your services? How are they better off, after having done business with me? Also ask if there is a characteristic that makes my services different?
Describe the value customers derive and the attributes your services offer to create a first draft of your positioning. Then test it on potential prospects who don't really know what you do or what you sell, carefully watch their facial expressions and listen for their responses. If they want to know more because you have piqued their attention and interest and started a conversation, you'll know for sure that you're on the right track.
Helpful Positioning Marketing concepts
More generally, there are three types of positioning marketing concepts:
- Better Functional positions
- Provide specific benefits to customers
- Solve their problems
- Develop favorable perception by investors and lenders
- Self-image enhancement
- Symbolic positions
- Belonging-ness and social meaningful-ness
- Ego identification
- Provide sensory stimulation
- Provide cognitive stimulation
- Affective fulfillments
- Experiential positions
Measuring Your Marketing Positioning
Positioning Marketing is facilitated by a graphical techniques like perceptual mapping, survey techniques, and some recent statistical techniques like multi dimensional scaling process, factor analysis mapping and conjoint analysis.
Repositioning a company
In today's volatile markets, it can be necessary - sometimes even urgent - to reposition an entire company, rather than only one product line or brand name. Case in point - When Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley suddenly shifted from investment banks to commercial banks. The expectations of their investors, clients, employees and regulators all needed to shift. Every business needs to influence how these perceptions change toward them. This involves repositioning the entire firm.
This is is vital for small and medium-sized firms, which often lack strong brands for individual product lines. In an extended recession, business approaches from healthy economic times often become ineffective. It becomes necessary to change a firm's positioning in the market. Upscale restaurants, for example, which previously flourished plentifully on expense account dinners and lavish corporate events, may now need to stress value as the sales call.Repositioning a whole company involves more than just a marketing challenge. It usually involves making hard decisions about how a market is changing and how a firm's competitors will react to that. Usually these decisions are made without the benefit of sufficient information, because the definition of "volatility" is that change becomes difficult or impossible to measure or even predict.