Skip directly to the steps you need to do to come up with a winning strategy
When you have a clear strategy, a clear positioning strategy, this acts sort of like a roadmap for your product. The strategy shows you where you play and how you are going to win with the product you have on the market you are in.
Your product positioning strategy sort of fills in the blanks for the following positioning statement:
We are going to make [OUR PRODUCT] [DIFFERENT] because [THESE CUSTOMERS] need this and can’t get it in the current market.
They need this in their lives in their companies, to make their jobs to be done a bit easier.
So for example: We are going to make our new CRM easy to use, because small companies need this and are prepared to pay for it.
And then it’s simple. You know how to market your CRM, how to develop your CRM, you know how to price it as well. You have your roadmap ahead of you.
Now let’s figure out how to do a successful product positioning strategy, shall we?
There are two key elements to a successful product positioning strategy
A successful product positioning strategy, in my mind, consists of two key elements. The first one is mindset, and the second one is the technical part, the execution.
If your current product strategy isn’t working, if you don’t know how to beat your competition, if you don’t know how to grow. You see that other competitors are getting more traction and better results than you, better engagement on social media. If your current strategy isn’t working, it’s very possible that one of the two elements isn’t working or the elements aren’t aligned. So either your mindset is wrong or your positioning is wrong.
Now let’s take a look at both elements.
The mindset is about where your strategy is coming from. Your strategy needs to come from a safe space. You will rarely craft a successful strategy when you’re in a panic mode, when you’re running out of money, when you’re reacting to things that happen on the market. Because when we are in a panic mode, we only think about ourselves.
And to come up with a successful strategy, you really need to think about, your audience, your customers, how can you help them? So you need to be in a safe space. You need to be comfortable. You need to be confident.
I do most of my strategies for my clients while walking or running in the woods, possibly during the weekend. Because that’s when my mind is in the best possible space to think strategy.
While talking with Matic, a friend of mine who is really good at strategies, he said, as a founder you need a day in the week, blocked off just for strategies. You need to have a time where you are not disturbed by the next phone call or the next Zoom meeting. And I agree. So think you can get to that. In the beginning, this can be as simple as going for a hike on a Sunday.
Once you have the head space and clarity and are in a safe space, you can create a good positioning or any strategy for that matter.
So let’s take a look at the technical part, the actual product positioning.
The positioning strategy
One important thing about your positioning strategy comes from Al Ries who said. “You can’t go head to head with a market leader. You can go around, under, above, but never head to head.”
One thing I see teams do all the time is just copying competitor’s features. But that basically just guarantees you staying behind, right? If you’re copying something, if you’re copying somebody, if you’re copying somebody’s features, you’re just staying behind them all the time. Trying to catch up, never really succeeding.
Just look at Spotify and TIDAL, right? Title looks exactly the same as Spotify. The UX is exactly the same. The song-list is the same size, it has the same Bluetooth functionalities everything else is exactly the same.Yet, they are lagging behind because Spotify is experimenting quicker, trying new things, learning along the way, so TIDAL became known as a worse version of Spotify because they’re always behind in development, in mentality, in tests and experiments. Two exact same products, but a couple of months ago everybody was talking only about Spotify, because Spotify released the yearly wrap-up.
So don’t just copy competitor features. It guarantees you staying behind. It guarantees you staying second. It guarantees you that you’ll never bid your competitor.
How to win
What you can do instead, is you can find examples from other industries, good examples from industry leaders and adapt them to your industry.
For example, let’s say companies in B2C started using influencer marketing as their marketing approach and are seeing good results. How can your B2B company do the same? How can you positioning your product as the authority and gain traction along the way? You can start tinkering with the idea and find that consultants in B2B are much like influencers in b2c. They have their audience, their followers and you can use them to gain access to these followers.
So, you can sponsor their podcasts, you can connect with them and talk on their podcast, or in any other way work with them because they have access to your audience. And now you have a new channel, right? You have one path that’s gonna bring results. Obviously you need to test this, but you have figured out a way to position your product deliberately in front of your audience.
So you know I like things in steps, so here they are:
- Take a look at other industries. What are the winning strategies you can learn from?
- How can you implement some winning strategy in your industry?
Now grab another idea, make another, path, make five of them. How can you reach your target audience? How can you improve your messaging? How can you position your product deliberately so your customers understand it? That’s your positioning strategy.
Having a positioning strategy is like having a map full of paths. And you need to test which ones are worth following, but you have a plan, a roadmap, a strategy, that’ going to help you achieve something meaningful with your product.