Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What's Your Best Position?, Part 1

Creative positioning is crucial to gaining market share, because it helps differentiate products and services in the consumer’s mind. A well-conceived position can penetrate consumer apathy, and that’s an absolute prerequisite for success, because all of us ignore tons of advertising and marketing communications every single day. It’s simple self-defense. The relentless promotional bombardment comes from all sides, battering us 24/7, and so much of it sounds and looks the same. But a sharp marketer can rise above the masses and get its message across if it uses its Big Idea as the basis for a position that resonates with Baby Boomers in a uniquely memorable way.

Despite what some marketers seem to believe, positioning isn’t something that happens in the marketplace like an end cap display. It happens in the consumer’s mind. Ultimately, that’s where all sales occur, so the most innovative positioning is designed to cut through the communication clutter and carve out a unique niche in the consumer’s awareness. But it has to be done deftly to be effective.

A truly meaningful position doesn’t beat people over the head. In fact, some of the most successful positioning is so subtle it’s hard to detect. The understated approach is particularly important if you’re selling to Baby Boomers, because they’re grown weary of bombastic advertising and marcom that tries to shout over the competition. The secret of effective positioning, then, is to first create a quiet corner in your prospect’s mind, and then gently fill it with your message. Y’know, speak softly and carry a Big Idea.

And keep in mind that in a world deluged with me-too communications, there’s no hope for the marketer with an identity crisis. To carve out a solid position, you must know exactly who you are and what you have to offer. If you can’t figure that out, no one else will either. More about positioning tomorrow.

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