Position Statement: The Basis of Your Marketing

by Nov 14, 2013Strategy | Entrepreneurship, Marketing

While it sounds like a marketing buzzword, a position statement is an important first step in building your brand, marketing, and personality. It simply defines who your customer is, what they need, and how you are uniquely qualified to deliver a solution for them.

When Al Reis and Jack Trout introduced the idea of positioning in the 1970s, they explained it was about creating an impression in the mind of your customer. A good position statement isn’t advertising copy, but a clear definition you can use to build your marketing around.

To build your position statement, start by answering three questions:

  • Who is your customer? If you are still saying everyone or anyone, it will be impossible to write a compelling position statement. Think about the people who are most likely to buy your product or service. A well-written position statement will focus on the needs of that select audience.
  • What problem do you solve? One way to approach this part of the statement is to think about what keeps your your customer awake at night. What are their most pressing problems? When you can articulate their problem, it’s easier to frame the solution.
  • What makes you uniquely qualified to offer a solution? Too often, companies fall back on phases like “best,” “leading,” or “high quality.” Seriously? Which of your competitors won’t claim that? Where is the unique element?

Good position statements may be a little lengthy, but they answer the key questions well.  Here are two examples which do a good job of answering the questions. In both examples the statements are a little long, but there is a enough real information to build on.  The company names have been changed.

Designed by nurses, MediReport Monitoring Software helps nursing homes and long-term care facilities decrease Indiana state fines for noncompliance and increase federal reimbursement for their rehabilitation programs.

  • Who is the customer? The rehabilitation departments of nursing homes and long term care facilities located in Indiana. This position statement gives the sales team a very tight target.
  • What problem do you solve? Reduce operating costs. With the emphasis on the administrative benefits of fine avoidance and increased federal funds, it is clear that the marketing will be directed at the facility administrators and not the floor nurses. While the product does make their job easier, they have little or no influence on the purchase decision, so the key benefit is directed at the decision maker.
  • What makes you uniquely qualified to offer a solution? Designed by nurses. This conveys the idea that this product is based on real world experience, not theory. That implied subject matter expertise is a true point of difference.

With more than 10 years of software development experience in the banking and financial services industries, Ridgewater Technology helps understaffed and/or “under-knowledged” IT departments in these sectors plan and execute significant system upgrades without impact on staff resources or day-to-day operations.

  •  Who is the customer? IT departments in banking and financial services sector. This was a tough call for this company, because they certainly had the skills to work in a wide range of industries. Narrowing their focus limited the number of opportunities, but it also limited the number of viable competitors who could match their industry-specific expertise.
  • What problem do you solve? Balancing manpower resources between day-to-day operations and system upgrades. IT managers continuously face the challenge of deciding between generalists who can handle any basic issue which comes up or someone with a very specific skill for a short-term project.
  • What makes you uniquely qualified to offer a solution? 10 years of software development experience in the banking and financial services industries. In a complex and heavily regulated industry, 10 years of documented experience is their point of difference. Lots of companies have development engineers with 10 years of experience, few have as much experience in this industry.

As  you can see narrowing down your position takes a bit work, and sometimes courage to step away from products or markets. In the end, your message will be more compelling if you do. What is your position statement? How do you describe who you are and what you do?


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