5 steps of market positioning

If you just start your business, it’s one of the first steps you have to do. If your company already exists, you should do your market positioning now to: capture larger audience and articulate a clear marketing message.

Let’s see how to do it quickly and easily:

1. Determine current position

Determining your existing market position is the first step to know where you are as a brand. You have to understand your own market first to be able to compete with your competitors for your share. Answer the following questions:

  • Who are you as a brand and what do you stand for?

The most unique attributes of your business will set you apart from the competition. You have to set up attributes and values that only your company can provide to customers. 

  • Who are your target customers and what do they want or need?

Great brands understand that it simply isn’t possible to please all people, in all ways, all the time. Instead they rely on a clearly defined market segment where they can serve the customer base more meaningfully because of their unique attributes. Determine which customers your company best serves. Those customers will be your market segment, or niche.

  • How will you meet their needs?

Create your products, services, write the benefits, the solutions that your company offer to a specific problem or need.

  • Who are your competitors and what do you do differently?

Find out and analyze your competitors is one of the most important element in market positioning. It’s a bad idea to try and leverage another brand by likening yours to it. Imitation may be the highest form of flattery, but in business, flattering the competition too much can weaken your brand just as easily as it can strengthen it.

Address these questions for yourself and write the answers down so they can be referenced or revisited later.


2. Develop a unique positioning idea

Once the ideal market position is identified, the goal is to create a unique impression in the mind of customers that associates something specific and desirable about your brand that is different from the competitors.

With all this information in hand, you should be able to clearly and specifically state who you are as a brand, who you are not, what problems exist in the market, and how you can solve those problems.

3. Competitor analysis

Investigating and analyzing the competition helps to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your own business measured against the competition. Understanding the differences between a business and its competitors is central to finding gaps in the market that can be filled.

Next, you want to conduct a thorough competitor analysis to understand who they are, what strategies they use or may have planned, how they may react to your strategic actions, and how your actions may influence their behavior to your advantage.

Some of the data you’ll need is easy to find. Some will take time and effort to gather and analyze.

As long as you understand that this process will in aid the development of your own marketing strategies – and help locate needs in the market that aren’t being met – then maintaining the motivation to see the process through shouldn’t be a problem.

Some categories you have to consider when identifying your competitors:.

  • Competitor Goals

These aren’t necessarily financial goals, and may relate to market share or growth rate. 

  • Competitor Strategy

This is probably the most difficult information to uncover but also the most useful. Check press releases, white papers, shareholder reports, promotional campaigns, for deeper insight into the direction the competition is moving.


4. Competitor positioning analysis

Michael Porter of Harvard Business School says that there are five forces of competitive position analysis that determine the competitive intensity and appeal of a market, and point to the place where power lies in any business situation.
Porter’s five forces are:

  • Supplier Power

How easy is it for suppliers to raise prices? If your competitors market themselves as “cheap” or “low cost” it’s pretty difficult to increase prices, but it’s doable. It’s all about how you differentiate yourself from your competitors.

  • Buyer Power

How easy is it for buyers to drive prices down? The number of buyers in the market, and the buyer’s cost of switching between suppliers can all be relevant. 

  • Competitive Rivalry

How many competitors exist in the market? The more competitors there are offering similar products or services, the less attractive the market is.

  • Threat of Substitution

How many similar products exist in the market? Where a large number of similar products exists, the likelihood of people changing brands based on price is high. Suppliers have less power in saturated markets so those markets are less attractive.

  • Threat of New Entry

How profitable is the market? More profitable markets attract new competitors.

5. Compare and contrast to identify your own uniqueness

Now gather together your company’s version of the same set of information that you found out in the competitor analysis and the competitor positioning analysis. Hold the two data sets up for comparison.

It should become pretty evident where your market positioning strategy should place its focus. Market positions that allow you to take full ownership of a niche are rare but valuable.

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