What differentiates you, product, price, market or service, defines you
How do I use positioning in my business?
The first step is ensuring that each of the four categories – product, price, market, and service – is aligned. Southwest Airlines does that brilliantly whereas United and American charge higher fares without the comparable improvement in service and charge for bags. It is no wonder Southwest is constantly rated one of the top airlines to fly.
Many small businesses make these same mistakes -- cutting costs at the expense of client value, or trying to offer high service levels at a too low a price. These decisions, the lack of alignment, affect their position.
Remember that we want to be positioned so we’re top of mind, one of the first businesses our potential clients think of. Any misalignment across these four areas acts to confuse consumers. And confusion makes it hard for them to remember us.
Here’s a reminder of those four areas. One of them will be your primary position. All need to be aligned.
Product – What are you selling (it could be a product or a service)? How does it compare with competitors in your market?
Price – How does your pricing compare – are you expensive, cheap, or in the middle? If you have several products, are they all aligned?
Market – What is your market? If you sell to business, are they corporate, mid tier, or small businesses? If you sell to consumers, are they the top, mid, or low end of the market?
Service – What are your levels of service? And do all of your customers receive the same level of service regardless of how frequently they use your products or service?
When reviewing these areas within the business, use arrows to show your business model strategy.
If you have different products, markets, divisions, departments, suppliers, do the exercise for each one whatever is relevant for this business. How aligned are the different parts of your business? Are they aligned with each other?
So far, we’ve discussed many different aspects of choosing your market position. For positioning to be successfully implemented, for it to be readily applied to areas of your business as diverse as culture, marketing and focus, then it needs to be summed up in a something brief enough for your whole team to remember at all time: One word.
Ideally you are looking to identify one word that encapsulates your business. For example Volvo chose safety, whereas Rolls Royce chose luxury and Jaguar chose style.
So how do you choose your one word? Begin with a brainstorming session – on a whiteboard or paper, alone or with your team, write down all of the words or short phrases that actually describe what you do. These might be things like ‘innovate’ or ‘respect our customers.’ Record each one under one those four headings – product, price, market or service. Once the initial list runs out, specifically address each one: How would you describe your Product, etc.