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Positioning in Marketing: Carving Out Your Business Niche


Cydney Hatch

October 3, 2018

Ever feel like there are 100,605,469,458,069,350,238,405,938,460 businesses just like yours?

Do you ever wonder how you can make a name for yourself in an industry that is oversaturated with other talented or high-quality businesses?

If so, you are not alone.

More importantly, it’s probably time to think about your positioning in marketing. If you want to see how you can best establish your brand in your given industry and how to set up a positioning strategy, read on! In this article, we will go through the basics and how to best carve out a position for your business to shine!

What is Market Positioning?

Market position refers to the process of establishing the image or identity of a brand so that customers perceive it a certain way.

This is created through the use of the 4 Ps: promotion, price, place and product. The best way to do this is through a positioning strategy. The more detailed a positioning strategy is at defining these 4 Ps, the more effective the marketing strategy will be.

So, for example:

  • Audi and Tesla position themselves as a luxury status symbol.
  • McDonald’s and Wendy’s position themselves as a place to get cheap and quick meals.
  • Starbucks positions itself as a source of upscale quality coffee and beverages.
  • Apple and Microsoft likes to establish and position themselves as a tech company that offers innovative and user-friendly products.

Positioning of a brand or product is a strategic process that involves marketing the brand or product in a certain way to create and establish an image or identity within the minds of the consumers in the target market. So going back to Starbucks, they created this video advertisement that lists the following value proposition statements:

  • The Best Coffee
  • Rich & Smooth Flavors
  • The Finest Milk Used
  • Natural and Clean
  • 100% Recycled Paper Use

All of these value proposition statements in the ad give a sense to potential customers that they will recieve high quality, green and upscale beverages they will love.  Like Starbucks, market positioning of a brand or product must be maintained over the life of the brand or product. Starbucks for years has been the top coffee provider in America. People cannot get enough!

Like them, any business will need to create ongoing marketing initiatives intended to reinforce the target market’s perceptions of the product or brand.

So, how do you do that? You would create a strong marketing position strategy! Let’s take a deeper look into what an effective marketing position strategy looks like!

What is Market Positioning Strategy?

Like discussed above, a good positioning strategy elevates your marketing efforts and helps a buyer move from knowledge of a product or service to a purchase. So, like Starbucks did in their advertisement above, the video made people want to go and get some quality coffee and drinks!

A solid market positioning strategy is crucial to the successful longevity of a business. The sooner you create, the better off your business will be.

Actively positioning a brand means the brand must truly position themselves with the right branding, values, messaging and experience. However, that is easier said than done because there are a lot of elements that go into positioning in marketing, but let’s take a look at some of the things you should include in your strategy to clearly define your brand for your given industry!

Steps to an Effective Marketing Position Strategy

This section is broken down to keep content simple but do not assume that these are the only efforts you need to make. Positioning your business in your industry take a great deal of detailing, thought and commitment. Taking the below steps will help with the clarity part but you will need to take them to th next level.

To get you started, market positioning follows these basic steps:

Create a Positioning Statement

A positioning statement is the identity your business is striving for. The positioning statement, like a mission statement, becomes the basis for your business identity. It first identifies who you are and what you stand for. From that point it identifies the target audience, their pain points, and then states how those will be solved by your business.

There are a few things that go into creating an effective positioning statement like:

  • Defining your Target Audience
  • Defining your Target Market
  • Creating a Value Proposition Statement
  • Create Content to Prove Value

So for example, if you are a business like Amazon you might make a positioning statement like:

“For internet users who want things fast and easy, Amazon.com is a retail database that provides instant access to millions of items. Unlike traditional retailers, Amazon.com provides a combination of extraordinary convenience, low prices, and comprehensive selection.”

Positioning statements become the guide to key marketing and advertising decisions that positively impact your potential customer’s perception of your brand. One biggest red flags that you have  neglected your market positioning is that there is a disconnect from target audience. If your audience is confused by you, there’s a good chance that you misunderstand yourself on some level.

If you are struggling to figure out your positioning statement, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does it paint a clear picture differentiating your business from others?
  • Does it share the unique value proposition?
  • Does it focus on your target audience and their needs?
  • Does it come off consistent across all areas of your business?
  • Is it easy to understand?
  • Does the statement promise something that is realistic?

If you answer “YES” for a lot of these, you are on the right track!

Simplify and Tagline

Once you have a strong brand positioning statement you can then create a tagline, or better known as a slogan, to use externally for potential customer messaging. Instead of using the positioning statement, this is a shorter, snappier version of what you want your customers to know.

For example, here are some business taglines:

  • State Farm: “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.”
  • L’Oreal: “Because you’re worth it.”
  • Southwest Airlines: “The short-haul, no-frills, and low-priced airline.”
  • Walmart: “Always low prices. Always.”
  • Nike: “Just do it.”
  • Target: “Expect more. Pay less.”
  • Home Depot: “You can do it. We can help.”

By simplifying your positioning statement, you can easily use these in other marketing efforts to get your business point across a lot sexier than an internal, longer and detailed positioning statement.

Competitor Analysis  

Investigating and analyzing the competition helps to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your own business but also helps you carve out your positioning in the market.

Understanding the differences between a business and its competitors is central to finding gaps in the market that can be filled. So, when you are looking at your competitors consider the following:

  • Competitor Objectives Market share and growth rate
  • Competitor HistoryPast marketing efforts, cultural factors, market trends, messaging, and engagement
  • Competitor Strategy White papers, promotional campaigns, advertisements
  • Competitor Audience Engagement, social media, features, collaborations

By understanding where you competition stands, you will better know the direction you need to go to make yourself stand out. Why be like everyone else when you can construct a positioning strategy that does things better than your competition?

Find Current Position

After you figure out where you competition is, you might want to then understand where your business currently stands. When you understand this, you can properly compete for your market share! You cannot grow without a starting point, so define where you are with the same competition analysis questions we discussed earlier.

Develop Your Unique Position

Since you have all the data ready to have a holistic understanding of your market, audience and competition, you should have a better idea of who you are, who you are not and who you want to be to the best target audience. At this point you will be able to create strong marketing plan strategies that can effectively position your business in the market.

Make sure your marketing efforts and messaging is always reflecting your mission and positioning statement!

Positioning in Advertisements

Advertisements are usually the first and most impactful places businesses position themselves.

Again, when creating advertisements and other content, ask yourself: Is my business and value proposition being shared clearly? If you are a facial skin care business, for example, you must determine who you are targeting and what customer needs are.  If the intended target is trying to help teenage girls overcome acne issues, the content in your advertisements might need to include:

  • Value Statements (We help acne—easy use, customer testimonials, and success stories)
  • Young Design (Feminine, bright, youthful, possible influencer they would recognize)
  • Young Female Models (Personal connection so they can see themselves in the product)
  • Comparison Statements (We are different from St. Ives or other over the counter scrubs, different technology)
  • Quick Usage ( Text Us at 1888ACNE to get 10% off and manage your account online, mobile friendly)

To note the importance of positioning, this same type of advertisement might not work for a skin care company that wants to help women’s skin look younger.

Every marketing effort you make needs to intimately be apart of your positioning statement and mission.

Test Your Market Positioning

At Disruptive, we truly believe you should test everything and continue to do so throughout your business career. Testing includes qualitative and quantitative data gathering that can include focus groups, surveys and laddering interviews.

Based on the findings of these tests, you can solidify your positioning in marketing and transform your marketing efforts! When you have a strong internal message, it can become the blueprint for the development of all creative.

Now, if you find that your positioning in marketing is a bit off, you can always reposition. Let’s take a look at that process in the next section.

What is Market Repositioning?

Unfortunately, no matter how beautifully craft your marketing positioning, people will have their own ideas of what your business is. Positioning is not something you do, but rather, is the result of your customer’s perception of what you do.

So, like any marketing effort, you should be prepared to adapt and change your market position as needed. By examining the essence of what you are and comparing it with what your customers want, things might need to change. Hence, repositioning.

Market repositioning is when a company changes its existing brand or product status in the marketplace. Repositioning is usually done due to declining performance or major shifts in the environment.

It is best to see what worked and what did not work in your previous marketing efforts to best reposition yourself in the market. It also be might that you do not need to rehaul all of your positioning in marketing. Many companies, instead of repositioning, choose to launch a new product or brand because of the high cost and effort required to successfully reposition a brand or product.

By examining the essence of what you are and comparing it with what your customers want, the doors open to building a business with a strong positioning in the mind of the customer.

Positioned for Success

Positioning is often used nowadays as a broad synonym for marketing strategy, but positioning in marketing should be thought of as an element of strategy, not as the strategy itself.

Positioning is—and should be—intimately connected to the concept of “target market.” With the above elements and a solid understanding of positioning, you should be able to carve a strong place out for your business! If you focus on the potential customer, target market and put in the efforts to see how they work together for your positioning, you will come out on top!

Still need some help? I would be happy to help you figure out where you fit in your given industry!

What do you think? What is the hardest part about making businesess stand out in markets? Comment below!

Cydney Hatch


Cydney is a polka dot wearing business owner, photographer, cupcake enthusiast and writer, who through her work, shares her personal passions about visual marketing, branding and business strategy.

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