What is Market Positioning Strategy?
Market positioning strategy refers to the perception of consumers towards a product or brand in relation with other similar products or brands. It is basically a process of establishing an identity or image of a product or brand so that it is perceived by consumers in a certain way. Market positioning of a brand needs to be maintained over the life of the product. This requires organizations to undertake marketing initiatives that tend to reinforce the target market perception of the brand or product.
Types of Positioning Strategy
Common types of market positioning are:
- Pricing: For customers, pricing is a very important element. Companies that offer products at lowest prices with a reasonable level of quality tend to have an advantage over many product aspects. For example, low-priced alternatives to high-quality products like Gillette have changed the idea of refill blades and razors. It was later on reported that the market share of Gillette was eroding because of the low prices of Dollar Shave Club products.
- Quality: Quality is very useful in rebuffing the price wars. There are some markets, like that of luxury cars; the level of quality defines who the competitors are. An example of quality can be the Taco Bell and Chipotle where the latter has gained a good market share by competing over quality rather than price.
- Customer service: Customer service aims at creating friendly and helpful interaction. This is very crucial in certain industries like banks and restaurants. For example, the importance of customer service is very high in insurance companies and contacting customers is very important. Allstate and State Farm use customer service-based messages as their marketing plan to focus on positioning their offering.
- Convenience: Convenience helps in making the life of customers easier. From usability to location, convenience involves aspects like free returns or e-commerce. For example, traditional banks are relatively slower in developing mobile apps however online-banks only like Simple tend to appeal internet-savvy customers.
- Differentiation: Differentiation tends to set the offering apart from others. If the product is different, competitors may not pose a significant threat to the product. For example, Tesla entered the market of the electric vehicle with the luxury sports model and setting aside economy cars. Tesla targeted higher-end market with Model S.
How to Create Effective Market Positioning Strategy
Market positioning has the following seven steps which are:
Drafting a market positioning statement: Positioning statement incorporates all facts into a basic and formulaic structure.
Comparing and contrasting for identifying uniqueness: Determining the differences between the company’s communication channels with that of the competitors presents those aspects of the market where the positioning message needs to be addressed.
Analyzing competitors: analyzing and investigating competitors helps in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the business as against its competitors. This allows determining gaps in the market which needs to be filled.
Determining current position: This is important to understand the market position of the business so as to compete in the market.
Competitor positioning analysis: This identifies market conditions that influence how much power competitors are able to exercise.
Developing a unique positioning idea: This allows understanding of what the business is and what it is not. Preparing a statement of facts determines this.
Test effectiveness of brand positioning: This involves quantitative and qualitative data gathering. The results of this test need to be rated against a set criterion.
Market Positioning Map
Positioning maps are diagrams that are made for illustrating the perception of customers of business offerings’ on the basis of quality, price and product benefits and how this perception is compared to the competitors. This map helps marketers to develop an appropriate positioning strategy.
Market repositioning is a situation in which business changes the status of its product in the marketplace. This involves changing the marketing mix to cope up with changing consumer needs and wants.
Example of Market Positioning
The world’s leading beverage company Coca-Cola changed its marketing strategy with its new global campaign ‘Taste the Feeling" in 2016. This campaign replaced the ‘Open happiness’ campaign and aimed at strengthening the core brand and sub-brands. The new plan was very promising for the brand but also presented various challenges like packaging and unique communication strategies.
Market positioning is a very important aspect of planning marketing activities as it determines how a particular product or service will be positioned in the market. Marketers find this positioning strategy to be very useful in understanding the characteristics of the brands and how it will benefit customers.