Positioning is what the customer believes about your product’s value, features, and benefits; it is a comparison to the other available alternatives offered by the competition. These beliefs tend to based on customer experiences and evidence, rather than awareness created by advertising or promotion.
Marketers manage product positioning by focusing their marketing activities on a positioning strategy. Pricing, promotion, channels of distribution, and advertising all are geared to maximize the chosen positioning strategy.
Generally, there are six basic strategies for product positioning:
1. By attribute or benefit- This is the most frequently used positioning strategy. For a light beer, it might be that it tastes great or that it is less filling. For toothpaste, it might be the mint taste or tartar control.
2. By use or application- The users of Apple computers can design and use graphics more easily than with Windows or UNIX. Apple positions its computers based on how the computer will be used.
3. By user- Facebook is a social networking site used exclusively by college students. Facebook is too cool for MySpace and serves a smaller, more sophisticated cohort. Only college students may participate with their campus e-mail IDs.
4. By product or service class- Margarine competes as an alternative to butter. Margarine is positioned as a lower cost and healthier alternative to butter, while butter provides better taste and wholesome ingredients.
5. By competitor- BMW and Mercedes often compare themselves to each other segmenting the market to just the crème de la crème of the automobile market. Ford and Chevy need not apply.
6. By price or quality- Tiffany and Costco both sell diamonds. Tiffany wants us to believe that their diamonds are of the highest quality, while Costco tells us that diamonds are diamonds and that only a chump will pay Tiffany prices.
Positioning is what the customer believes and not what the provider wants them to believe. Positioning can change due the counter measures taken at the competition. Managing your product positioning requires that you know your customer and that you understand your competition; generally, this is the job of market research not just what the enterpreneur thinks is true.