Positioning Part 1: Why positioning is Ground Zero for all marketing activities

August 11, 2020
Sandro Meyer

As I am re-reading April Dunfords book, Obviously awesome, I'll take you on a little journey with me and report what I learn. I currently directly applying those insights to work on the positioning of a customer project and our own company GrowthBay as well.

So what is positioning?

Positioning is the act of deliberately defining how you are the best at something that a defined market cares a lot about. If we fail at positioning, we fail at marketing and sales.

Want to grow revenue faster? Understand what makes a best-fit customer. Positioning is a fundamental input into every tactic we execute, every campaign we launch, every piece of content we create, every sales pitch we make. Customers need to be able to easily understand what your product is, why it's special and why it matters to them.

April Dunford has an analogy I like:

Like speaking Japanese slowly and loudly to a person who speaks only English, putting a bigger marketing budget behind confusing and unclear positioning doesn't work.

Weak positioning diminishes the results of everything we do in marketing and sales. It's a wind in our face, constantly slowing us down, making the effort required to meet our business targets just that much more difficult.

Perfect execution with bad positioning is like trying to make an omelet with rotten eggs - your cooking technique may be great, but nobody wants to eat what you're serving.

Positioning is "context setting" for products or services. When we encounter something new, we will attempt to make sense of it by gathering together all of the little clues we can quickly find to determine how we should think about this new thing. Without that context, products or services are very difficult to understand, and the whole company suffers—not just the marketing and sales teams.

April Dunford outlines four surefire signs that your positioning has flaws:

  1. Your current customers love you, but new prospects can't figure out what you're selling.
  2. Your company has long sales cycles and low close rates.
  3. You have high customer churn
  4. You're under price pressure

The issue is, while we understand that context is important, we generally fail to deliberately choose a context because we believe that the context for our product is obvious.

Dunford points out that there are two traps we fall into:

  1. We are stuck on the idea of what we intended to build, and we don't realize that our product has become something else.
  2. We carefully designed our product for a market, but that market has changed.

In pretty much every company or project I have worked on, there were glaring positioning issues at work that held us back, so you are not alone. The good news is, April Dunford has written a replicable process of how to sharpen your context in the market. Over the next couple of weeks, I'd like to go through it with you step by step.

In the next part we talk about how to understand the customers who already love your product and how we can take that as a basis to communicate those motivators to the rest of your prospects.

Who wrote this essay?
Nice to meet you! We are Growth Bay, a growth marketing agency based in Zurich, Switzerland.
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