Before engaging resources in costly sales and marketing operations, it is important to address marketing positioning * issues.
These answers will be used as the basis to shape effective messages, as well as to select the most appropriate (social and traditional) media that will be able to make all the difference.
* : Marketing positioning is “the way by which marketers attempt to create a distinct impression in the customer’s mind” (Wikipedia)
1. Identify Your Core Target.
You have the best solution, technology, product or service. But whom is it for?
- Have you identified your target audience? Most commonly, this corresponds to your regular and also most profitable customers.
- Can you specify its characteristics? industry, geographical situation, company size, business function within the organization?
Analyzing your existing customers and their specific sales history will allow you to understand what your different business development options are, as well as identify your most effective options from a sales perspective.
2-Identify Your Target Needs.
Can you explain what sorts of challenges your target audience faces, for which your offering, technology, product or service provides a genuine solution?
It is with this customer perspective that you will be able to identify a relevant value proposition.
Being able to measure the costs that such challenges can represent for the organization and/or for the manager you are talking to within the organization is a useful means for calculating the return on investment for your customer – an essential sales argument when budgetary controls are increasing.
Your customers have no time to lose: they are looking for concrete solutions to specific problems. Understanding their concerns will allow you to shed light on the benefits of your offering with the goal of solving them.
3. Identify Your Competitors.
It is necessary to consider direct and indirect competitors – i.e. all the alternatives that are available for your target audience to solve their issue.
Have you identified all potential solutions for your customers?
What if you don’t have any competitors?
- Are you responsible for your own market education costs?
- Can you afford it?
- Are you really sure there is a need?
Having an existing market is the sine qua none condition to creating a sales approach. It will also require time to be fine-tuned and yield significant results.
4. Know Your Competitive Advantages.
Can you summarize in a few words that which you offer that your competitors do not – which will make all the difference for your target audience?
- In terms of your offering (features, services, methodology, pricing, etc.)?
- In terms of your company (team, location, values, etc.)?
Knowing your competitive advantages is necessary for communicating your differentiating factors for your target audience to clarify offerings within complex markets.
5. Focus on Your Strengths.
It will always be more effective to build on your strong points rather than trying to fix all your weaknesses!
It is better to identify potential customers for whom your strengths will be the most beneficial.
Emphasizing the differentiating factors of your offering is essential for standing out from your competitors and making the difference.
6. Choose (And Renounce).
Selecting the market focus that corresponds to your competitive advantages is a way of generating results.
This can lead you to reduce your target to a specific kind of organization (medium size vs. large companies, or government vs. public sector), or roles within the organization.
These choices are not related to the functional capabilities of your solution, but rather the current market conditions, including both the situation of your competition and of your target audience (for example, because of a particular regulation, a specific customer need can provide you with a new opportunity in a dedicated industry).
Positioning must be tested against reality, as well as your customers’ perception of your offering.
7. Be Authentic.
Even within huge volumes of available information, authenticity can make all the difference.
This is because it is often the condition for true relevancy that will be appreciated by your target audience.
Your customers don’t believe in “noisy marketing” anymore: the simplicity and reality of your messages will be more effective than promises without foundations.
Disguising reality is counterproductive: With the internet and through word of mouth, these things will come to light at some time or another.