Positioning Products & Services – “The Battle for the Mind”

Poor Positioning

Unappetizing Positioning

Photo: Tobias Pohler

Major Marketing Malfunction #2

Part 1 – The Issues

Positioning your organization or offering: irresistible or unappetizing? No distinction has no appeal. Trout & Ries in their classic manifesto: Positioning calls it a “battle for the mind”. Furthermore, I would suggest if you don’t position yourself, the marketplace will position you … and it won’t be appealing! Just as a stock is foundational to making a soup or a sauce, positioning is foundational to marketing. In my thirty plus years of business experience I see poor positioning as one of the fundamental flaws in organizations’ marketing strategies.

Your organizations’ offering or your particular product or service offering must “own” a space in the marketplace that is uniquely yours. Your positioning must also be credible, defendable, and sustainable.

  • Credible positioning means when challenged with the words: “prove it!” you can back up your claims.
  • Defendable positioning means no one else can easily lay claim to your “space.”
  • Sustainable positioning means that it works today, next week, and next year.

A simply irresistible™ positioning starts with your Extraordinary Value Proposition; don’t just have an ordinary boring value proposition. Literally make it “extra – ordinary!”

Also, the higher the value perception and the greater the differentiation, the more you can command for your offering. The value you bring to the marketplace begins by listening to the marketplace – understand the needs – fill the need better than anyone else. A mother who lives in our neighborhood in Irving was looking for activities for her children – there wasn’t one place to go to find all the information. She complied a list and thought surely there would be other mothers needing the same. So she launched a local magazine called “Irving Parent” — sure enough, other parents wanted the information, and advertisers wanted to reach this target-rich audience through a magazine that had “shelf-life.” The concept expanded to other neighborhoods in the Dallas Fort Worth area and now Suburban Parent is a family of six magazines boasting a circulation of 95,000. The magazine now dominates a very specific space in the marketplace. Have you found your “space” – do you “dominate” it?

Positioning yourself with purpose and intention is not just a good marketing exercise – it’s a profitable one!

Perhaps the greatest management and business thinker of the last 100 years, Peter Drucker wrote: “There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer. …. Therefore, any business enterprise has two—and only two—basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.[1]

Most businesses start because they have an inimitable idea, a unique solution to a problem in the marketplace; their creativity and innovation drive the development of the venture. Whether you have a distinctive approach to dog grooming, or written an extraordinary software application, or have created a fresh culinary fusion concept, your innovation just makes you the best-kept secret on the planet. It is marketing that will put you on the map. Creating the demand for your product service offering in a distinct “irresistible” fashion will be the precursor to your success. Ideally you will develop both an innovative valuable offering coupled with irresistible marketing. But let’s be honest, a mediocre product well marketed will probably outperform a superior product poorly marketed. Which would you rather be? Hopefully, you will have both the innovation to power your business and the irresistible marketing to promote it.

In tomorrow’s blog we will create a recipe a recipe to transform poor positioning into a purposeful and profitable positioning.


[1] Peter Drucker (1954), The Practice of Management, pp. 39–40



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