When it comes to your marketing strategy for Go-to-Market, product positioning is one of the first steps you’ll take to a successful launch. Get it right, and it can make your launch. Get it wrong and, well, you get the idea.
Your product positioning should be the backbone of every customer-facing asset you have, which means this isn’t an area to scrimp on. If you nail your positioning, you can build everything out from that point. But, as with all things in life, it’s easier said than done.
So, what is product positioning? How do you get good at it and why is it so important to your Go-to-Market strategy?
Read on to discover the answers to these questions and more…
What is a positioning statement?
A positioning statement clearly defines what your product is, who it's for, why it’s being made and why it’s important. From reading your positioning statement, a person should understand which customer problems a product has been built to solve and how it’ll do so.
Crucially, a positioning statement is not a public asset. This is a tool that’s used within your company to ensure everyone working on a product, wherever they are in the Go-to-Market chain, understands what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.
A positioning statement is not the same as a value proposition, but it can be used to create one. What’s really important is that it’s clear, concise and easy for stakeholders to use.
Why does your positioning matter?
Your positioning statement will be at the core of your Go-to-Market strategy. From it, you can develop your messaging strategy and educate your stakeholders, such as sales and customer success, on the product they’ll be supporting.
You want all of your teams to understand the value of your product to a customer and be clear on how they’re going to sell it based on a customer’s needs. A strong positioning statement makes that information accessible and digestible.
At the end of the day, the importance of the positioning statement boils down to the fact that it is built to demonstrate value. Your positioning statement should showcase the value of your product, sign post why it’s unique, why people should buy it and how it’ll improve their lives.
If your positioning statement misses the mark, this will have a knock on effect for other Go-to-Market stakeholders. If the messaging isn’t resonating, or sales aren’t successfully connecting with customers, it could be because you’ve had the wrong strategy for a product from the start.
To build a successful positioning statement, you need to really think about your customers and how you’re creating value for them.
How to build a positioning statement.
There are four cornerstones to the positioning statement:
1. Target audience: Work out who your customer is going to be, taking into account things like demographics, geography, pain points, etc. Having an ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) is essential for your positioning and messaging strategy.
2. Market: Which space are you selling in? Digital? Big tech? B2B or B2C? It’s important to know where you’re going to be selling because this will influence how you sell and the kind of assets you’ll need to market your product. Your positioning statement needs to tell the intended recipient that yes, this product is for them. So, positioning yourself in the appropriate market is key.
3. Differentiation: Put simply, how are you different? What sets you apart from competitors? This is arguably the most important part of your positioning, as a lot of your marketing strategy will hinge on it.
You need a singular point of differentiation that supplementary features and benefits support, rather than trying to make your case for differentiation on several points. For your positioning and messaging to be strong, it needs to be clear, concise and easy for an audience to digest.
So, pick your strongest differentiating factor and build your product story from that.
4. Outcome: aka, what your product will do for your customer. The problems it’ll solve, the pain points it’ll address. You should know your target users really well by this point, and have an in-depth understanding of not only their problems but why your product is what they need to overcome them.
Want to know more about positioning? Check out the Positioning Masters course on Go-to-Market Academy.
The importance of alignment
As we’ve mentioned above, your positioning statement will affect every one of your Go-to-Market stakeholders and how they do their job. But alignment on positioning isn’t just about sharing your statement with others, it’s also about getting their input from the offset.
Be it product marketing, customer marketing or any other team that ultimately takes responsibility for a positioning statement, you still need to consider the perspectives of other teams.
For example, why did your product team create this product in the first place? What problem were they looking to solve? What is the full potential of this design or feature? The team that built the product will have the most in-depth knowledge of how it can be used and who it might benefit, and that information is too valuable to be overlooked.
Then we have the matter of customer-facing teams. Sales and customer success hear from customers on a regular basis about what their problems are, and what they’d like to see your company achieve next. That kind of customer feedback can be crucial to effectively position your product for your target customer base.
And possibly most importantly, for a positioning statement to be really successful, it has to be consistent. Say you have multiple tracks rolling out messaging for a product, and each track is targeting a different issue that a customer wants resolved.
If customers are being bounced around between tracks, they won’t get a clear understanding of how a product can help them. They may end up seeing messaging that isn’t relevant to them, which makes the relevant messaging less effective. This can be really damaging when it comes to pushing customers down a sales funnel.
If you spend time and money on positioning, but don’t use it properly, you’ve essentially set your hard-earned cash on fire. So you need to make sure your positioning is being consistently implemented by every one of your Go-to-Market stakeholders, to make sure that a product is delivering its highest possible return on investment.
Want to learn more about positioning?
If you’re looking for a more detailed approach to the nitty gritty of product positioning, then we recommend the Positioning Certified: Masters course.
Designed and taught by our very own Chief Marketing Officer, Bryony Pearce, this course features 90 minutes of bonus footage from the best the industry has to offer.
Get everyone in your team upskilled and ready to deliver high-level positioning for a successful Go-to-Market strategy. And while you’re at it, check out our other highly recommended courses to round out all your GTM expertise.