If you don’t want to read, you can skip directly to the positioning process
In this essay, I want to talk today about how our society works. Because today, you can be really good at something, but only struggle to get by. That happens because there is tons of resources available on any topic and we use these resources to gain knowledge.
But the reality is that if you are not a specialist, you will only get to about 80% of where you need to come. And sometimes that’s good enough. Let’s say you want to test some messaging with Google ads, right? And you know a bit about Google ads, but you are not a specialist. You watch a couple of tutorials, you already have some experience, you set up the ads, you get general feedback on your messaging, job well done.
Now could you make these ads profitable? If you had 6 months to really learn Google ads, sure, but not with the 20/80 principle where you put in the 20% of your effort and get 80% of the results.
You can think of it like that:
Would you DIY a heart surgery? I’m guessing the answer is no. You would want your best surgeon on your heart problem, right?
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But then why would you risk half-assing your positioning – your positioning; the problem you solve, your messaging, your differentiation is at the heart of your startup. I see time and time again, founders who just get 80% of positioning right, but that 20% is costing them money.
That 20% can easily mean the difference between whether your startup makes it or it doesn’t, it fails. Because you can do all sorts of marketing campaigns, all sorts of marketing hacks.
For example, in the first Covid wave, we wrote a book at my last startup. We wrote an 80 page book that was acting as a lead magnet, and it was a good hack. Basically, it allowed us to get user emails at 50 cents per email, 50 cents per lead.
But the issue was that even if we managed to attract a lot of people, we’d still couldn’t convert them into paying customers. Nobody would actually convert. They would download the book, but nobody would actually use the book to get to our product which was a mobile app.
And so at first we thought, okay, maybe we just don’t have enough credibility. Like the book doesn’t have credibility, like the people don’t believe the book or something like that. And so we thought, okay, so how do you get credible. Like, how do you make a book credible? And it was an obvious answer, you create an Amazon best seller out of it.
And so we did that. So we basically, we put the book into a category with low competition or very small amount of competitors and we bought the book so many times that, in combination with the adds and other sales, we basically became the Amazon best seller in that category.
But guess what? Nothing changed. People still downloaded the book, but nobody would actually read it. And so you can sort of start with all sorts of marketing hacks. You can try all sorts of things, but if your positioning is wrong, your marketing will fail because people simply won’t understand what you do or what your product’s value is.
Nothing works if you are not positioned properly
This all changed when we repositioned from a mobile app to an electronic reader, to an e-reader.We went from being a mobile app to presenting our mobile app as a Kindle. So instead of saying, Kobi is a mobile app that helps dyslexic children learn to read, we said Kobi is an e-reader that helps dyslexic children learn to read.
And just by doing that, we lowered the cost of user acquisition by 52%. You know, just a small change in the market category. How are you ever going to experiment with these small changes, these small words, if you have a company to run?
So, you know, leave it to the specialist. You have enough work running the business, staying afloat, getting to the investment,making sure you’re profitable and all that. You can’t put a hundred percent focus on positioning. So you’ll do it at 80% right? But that 20% might just screw you over. And I think this is something that we as founders should learn. To outsource work to specialists so we can produce better results, so we can grow. For example, in my case, in March, I outsourced the organization of my work to a specialist, to my girlfriend and since then I had more time to focus on building connections, providing value to my customers, and improving my processes.
The 3-stage process to get your product working
Speaking of processes, I promised my positioning process. So here it goes. I look at positioning in three stages.
Simplifying your product
In the first stage we look at your product, product foundations, and we do that because business is full of opportunities. So you being a good businessman, a good founder, you take those opportunities and you get all sorts of people into your product, but that also means that the product and the customer’s problem get misaligned.
So basically, your product becomes complex and you can’t explain it anymore, simply because what happens is you get different customer segments into the product, and so you listen to their feedback and you basically develop your product into four different segments. But that means you get what’s called a Chameleon product. So basically a product that can be anything for anybody, and so that’s why we basically look at your product foundation and we go back to basics.
We take your complex product and we simplify it by niching down, by basically figuring out who your best fit customers are and what the pain is that they have that we can solve.
Eliminating the competition
Now, in the second phase, we then have to eliminate the competition. Basically we just take a look at the competitors, we figure out where they’re strong and where they’re not, where do they have a weakness?
And we figure out whether we can exploit that weakness.
That’s called a market gap. So basically we find a market gap and figure out whether we can fill it with our product, with our team. And that’s how we find a space on the market. That’s a space on the market for our product, and we differentiate our product from the competition.
So the goal is to go from not knowing how to compete with bigger brands, not being sure whether our product is unique, not knowing exactly how to explain the product or the product’s value, we go to eliminate the competition, basically making it irrelevant by getting super specific about your product’s value to the best fit customers that we found in the first phase.
Choosing how to win
Next is the final part, and that’s basically choosing your positioning strategy. So you know, it’s how we’re gonna get clients, it’s how we’re gonna get our marketing to work. It’s what’s our promise to the clients, the value proposition, how we’re gonna play and how we’re gonna win.
So the goal is to figure out with the product that we have, with the team that we have, where we’re gonna play and how we’re gonna win. Because only figuring out this – our positioning leads to attracting the right customers and have them convert into paying customers.
And at the end we test and obviously we need to test the strategy, so we need to figure out a test that’s gonna say, yeah, this is a good strategy, or No, this won’t work.
And if you have this basically you have your positioning nailed and if your product is also good enough, what you get is product market fit. And you know, when you get to the product market fit, you can now scale. You can now grow.
If you want to go through all of the step by yourself I have prepared a 7-email course, called Product-Market Fit Accelerator (free for now): HERE
If you are interested in how a positioning project would look for your team, grab a call.