Mastering Product Positioning: what is a positioning statement?

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This is an excerpt from my new online B2B online course, Mastering Product Positioning. This fast and easy course is designed for busy product marketers and product managers. You'll learn the secrets of how to build, critique, and apply a positioning statement. This course is based on the popular B2B marketing book, The Marketing High Ground by Mike Gospe.

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  • What is a positioning statement?The answer to this question is often confused, creating internal frustration that can and should be avoided.It’s not uncommon for a marketing communications manager to boldly recite their slogan. Or have a director of product marketing provide their company’s history. Other times, marketers believe their data sheet is the positioning statement. And most often, it’s not a statement at all. Instead, the positioning thought is buried deep within a lengthy marketing plan, putting the burden on the copywriter to make sense of it all. And we all know how well that works.The trouble is that when there is no central, clearly articulated strategy that everyone can rally behind, marketing tactics appear to be random. If marketers, sales reps, product managers, and engineers can’t agree on how to clearly articulate the unique value offered in their product or service, the best we can hope for will be a confused set of messaging offered to our customers and prospects. We force them to figure out what’s most important. And that can have dangerous results.A positioning statement is a tool to help the internal marketing team focus on what’s most important.
  • Unfortunately, this approach of broad inclusiveness leads to poor product design, a mish-mash of messages, and an unfocused marketing campaign that actually extends the sales cycle because it takes longer for customers to understand our offering.
  • Marketers occasionally fall into the trap of believing “more is better.” It’s not. They are reluctant to limit the number of benefits their product offers for fear of missing a key element the prospect cares about. The irony is that people are overloaded with messages every day. We only push people away when we load up the benefit plate, thereby requiring the prospect to sort through the mess in order to find those benefits that are important to them. This is also a sign that, perhaps, you don’t understand the target buyer enough. It is up to the marketer to determine what key benefit, or subset of benefits, are relevant to each prospect, and when and how to present them.
  • Introducing the Positioning Statement – this tool is our guide to developing the best, most relevant customer-ready messaging for our marketing efforts.But what exactly is this?Well, before we can answer that, let’s first talk about what a positioning statement is not.
  • Laura was a PR manager at a hi-tech company. She was frustrated because it took, on average, 9 iterations to draft a single press release to get one approved. She was constantly at odds with the product marketing team because they kept changing the emphasis. Decisions on direction were made by “he who yelled the loudest” rather than having a a shared understanding of the product strategy. This was a direct result of not having an agreed upon positioning statement to guide the team. Laura suggested the cross-functional marketing team use the positioning statement exercise to help smooth the process. To her surprise and delight, others in the organization where waiting for someone to guide a structured conversation, as opposed to the agenda-less freeform meetings of the past. With a positioning statement created and confirmed, the result was that future press releases required only 3 iterations, with minimal rewrites. Internal frustration was immediately eased, and it became easier to make marketing recommendations and decisions.
  • This course is all about helping marketers understand how to better position their products for greater marketing success. Together, we’ll walk through the template, evaluate examples of positioning statements, and learn how to apply it to your business.Ready? Let’s begin.
  • This course is all about helping marketers understand how to better position their products for greater marketing success. Together, we’ll walk through the template, evaluate examples of positioning statements, and learn how to apply it to your business.Ready? Let’s begin.
  • All the material covered in this online course is from my book and blog, The Marketing High Ground, the essential playbook for B2B marketing practitioners everywhere.
  • Hi. I’m Mike Gospe, author of the Marketing High Ground, the essential playbook for B2B marketing practitioners everywhere. Welcome to my online course entitled, Mastering Product Positioning: Staying Unique in Crowded Markets.
  • I also invite you to check out other books written for B2B marketers by Mike Gospe.
  • Mastering Product Positioning: what is a positioning statement?

    1. 1. The secret ingredient for any integrated marketing program Mike Gospe KickStart Alliance www.kickstartall.com Based on the book: What is a positioning statement? Excerpt from a new B2B online marketing course https://www.udemy.com/mastering-product-positioning/ Click here to link directly to the online course.
    2. 2. 2014 © KickStart Alliancehttps://www.udemy.com/mastering-product-positioning/ 2 Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect
    3. 3. 2014 © KickStart Alliancehttps://www.udemy.com/mastering-product-positioning/ 3 So, how do we influence the minds of our prospects?
    4. 4. 2014 © KickStart Alliancehttps://www.udemy.com/mastering-product-positioning/ 4 Introducing the Positioning Statement
    5. 5. 2014 © KickStart Alliancehttps://www.udemy.com/mastering-product-positioning/ 5 Positioning Statement Format To: is the one that unlike . (One Target/Persona Type) (Product/Company Name) (Category) (Key Customer Benefit) (Differentiator)
    6. 6. 2014 © KickStart Alliancehttps://www.udemy.com/mastering-product-positioning/ 6 Why build a positioning statement?  Adds clarity and focus to the value you provide customers  Acts as a rudder to keep your messaging consistent (thereby reducing the chances of confusing audiences over time)  Provides direction to the marketing team so fewer rewrites (of brochures, datasheets, etc) are needed Think of the positioning statement as “what prospects say about you after you leave the room”. What’s the one thing you want them to remember? If you can’t craft a focused positioning statement, your prospects and customers will infer one for you, and you may not like what they come up with. Be proactive. Take the time to create one, and use it to guide your messaging.
    7. 7. 2014 © KickStart Alliancehttps://www.udemy.com/mastering-product-positioning/ 7 This online course is for . . . . . . product managers and product marketers  Discover the Positioning Statementtemplate Build Critique Apply
    8. 8. 2014 © KickStart Alliancehttps://www.udemy.com/mastering-product-positioning/ 8  Introduction: Why we need a “positioning statement”  Lesson 1: Line 1 – Target segmentation & the persona  Lesson 2: Lines 2 & 3 – Names & categories  Lesson 3: Line 4 – A good key benefit  Lesson 4: Line 5 – Competitive differentiation  Lesson 5: Positioning statements in action  Lesson 6: How to bring positioning statements to life  Conclusion Lessons
    9. 9. 2014 © KickStart Alliancehttps://www.udemy.com/mastering-product-positioning/ 9  Achieve organizational alignment  Build better products  Drive faster market success  Beat your competition Learn how to use the Positioning Statement to:
    10. 10. 2014 © KickStart Alliancehttps://www.udemy.com/mastering-product-positioning/ 10 Based on the playbook: The only “how to” playbook on B2B positioning statements Click here to link directly to the book.
    11. 11. 2014 © KickStart Alliancehttps://www.udemy.com/mastering-product-positioning/ 11 Downloadable Materials Lesson Plan Positioning Statement Template Mousetrap Ad Introduction Persona Template Persona Examples Lesson 1 Category File Lesson 2 Benefit Slides Lesson 3 Positioning Statement Evaluation Cheat Sheet Lesson 5
    12. 12. 2014 © KickStart Alliancehttps://www.udemy.com/mastering-product-positioning/ 12 https://www.udemy.com/mastering-product-positioning/ Click here to link directly to the online course.
    13. 13. 2014 © KickStart Alliancehttps://www.udemy.com/mastering-product-positioning/ 13 Click on these other books for B2B marketers Mike Gospe KickStart Alliance mikeg@kickstartall.com www.kickstartall.com Join me on LinkedIn: mikegospe Follow me on Twitter: mikegospe Positioning Lead Generation Sales Readiness

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