Product Positioning, to put it in the simplest of words, is an activity done for marketing a product, which decides what place does your product hold in the mind of the customer, or in the heart if done most effectively.
Product Positioning allows you to set a narrative for the product you are manufacturing to have a certain level of impact on the customers which in return would lead to an increase in sales. What are the benefits of your product? What is it that your product is enabling the customer to do that they wouldn’t be able to otherwise? What are the characteristics of your consumer market? All such questions and ideas are brainstormed while finalizing the product positioning.
Let us have look at 5 ways for product positioning in a more detailed manner –
1. Adopt a Customer-Centric Approach to Positioning
Understanding the problems encountered by the target audience with respect to your product is a crucial activity in product positioning. Asking the right questions while conducting your market research is the first step. Is your product going to solve the issue/issue that your customers are facing? Or is it going to be multiple problems that will be tackled if they opt for your services? For e.g. A product solving three issues for the customer can be marketed as a 3-1 solution and so on.
2. Opt the Best Pricing Policy
One way to go about creating a good marketing campaign is by driving the consumer’s focus to the price of the product. This method is suitable for companies with a product of a lower amount. e.g. one dollar products that provide above-average service quality. As seen in a lot of food products campaigns, food images paired with big bold texts showcasing the price sell the product very instantly as it catches the customer’s eyes quickly.
3. Brand Commitment
This approach is ideal for organizations with an established customer base and a market presence. Including brand logos, slogans, typefaces, and similar signature symbols tend to convince the customers without second thoughts as the ability and potential of the brand are already known to the world. It also separates the product from the rest of the similar products in the market as brands ideally have their identity solidified. For e.g. A burger with McDonald’s signage will attract more customers than a local burger vendor.
4. Concentrate On Your Buyer Segment
A detailed study about the set of customers you will be aiming to serve is extremely important. Various characteristics like the age group, gender, type of job profiles, geographical location, income groups help you understand the requirements better and give you an insight into where these groups of people reach out to access similar products. You can manage and monitor your marketing channels accordingly.
5. Competitive Benchmarking
Market study to identify the existing manufacturer and suppliers for similar products gives your insightful data for making better decisions for your product positioning. Also understanding the other products in competition gives you more information to better your product and make it unique to stand out from the market.
Basic Approaches to Your Product Positioning Strategy
One can adopt the following strategies to divide one’s brand positioning strategy:
Focusing on Product Characteristics or Customer Benefits
This type of segmentation is done keeping in mind the product characteristics and customer benefits. Often, a new product is positioned with reference to the product characteristics that the competitors might have ignored. Products might also attempt to position themselves along with two or more product characteristics simultaneously.
Examples include a) Positioning of BenQ as a provider of morphing-enabled mobile pictures, a feature that was absolutely new in the market.
b) Positioning of Mahindra & Mahindra Scorpio as both reliable and trendy MUV.
2. Emphasizing Physical Characteristics
These are the most objective criteria that can be measured on some physical scale such as temperature, color intensity, distance, the strength of fragrance, etc.
The physical characteristics can further be divided into pseudo-physical characteristics that include the characteristics that can’t be easily measured such as creaminess, spiciness, etc.
These benefits ensure the well-being of the customers and the examples include thirst, quenching, hunger satisfaction, u-v protection, etc.
3. The Price-Quality Approach
This category takes into consideration the various price-quality categories of the products. Manufacturers might deliberately attempt to offer more in terms of service, features, or performance in the case of certain products. Such products are known as Premium products and in return they charge a higher price, partly to cover higher costs and partly to help communicate the fact they are of higher quality. On the other hand, there are some products known as mass products, where the main matter of concern is price keeping a minimum quality standard commitment.
For example, if you consider a company like Maruti Suzuki in the Indian automobile market, you will see that they have Maruti 800 and Maruti Omni in A segment (2 – 2.2 lakhs), Maruti Zen and Wagon R in the lower B segment (2.2 – 3.5 lakhs). We have Maruti Alto Vxi in the upper B segment (3.5-5 lakhs), Maruti Suzuki Baleno in the C segment (5-7 lakhs), Maruti Grand Vitara XL-7 in the high-end SUV segment, and Maruti Baleno Altura in the estate segment.
4. Use or Application-Centric Approach
Yet another way to the position is to consider the use or application of the products in question. A fine example of such positioning is Itch Guard skin ointment (cream base) from Paras Pharmaceuticals, which has been positioned as an Over.
5. The Product-User Approach
This includes positioning a product such that a specific user or class of user resonates with the product line. Cosmetics brands like Revlon, L’Oreal, and Lakme position themselves targeting fashion-centric women.
6. The Product Class Approach
Some products need to make critical positioning decisions that involve product-class associations. For example, NESCAFE Bru positioned itself as instant coffee.
7. The Cultural Symbol Approach
Many companies use deeply entrenched cultural symbols to differentiate their brands from those of their competitors. The use of a character named ‘Gattu’ by Asian Paints, for example, helps marketers position their brand as one that is always ready to help, quick in decision-making, and very much young and contemporary.
8. The Competitor Approach
This positioning can be made with an explicit or implicit frame of reference of one or more competitors. There are two prime reasons behind this:
- The competitors may have a firm, a well-defined image developed over many years and this image can be used to help communicate another image referenced to it. When marketers give their address, they mention some well-known landmarks like banks, offices, schools, etc.
- Sometimes it is not only important what the customers think about you, but it’s also equally important that they believe that they are better than a given competitor.
A common example is observed in the esteemed dailies who compare their monthly readerships with each other and also their daily circulation.
Product positioning offers innumerable benefits to growth-driven organizations. It helps marketers make their organization: market-oriented. Once the product is positioned successfully, it means that the task of the task manager is over. With the new developments in the marketplace, marketers are able to identify their competitive advantages and adjust according to the changing market conditions. This makes managers active, alert, and more dynamic.
The market advantages generally can be communicated on the basis of the expectations of the target audience groups.
Systematic product positioning reinforces the company’s name, its product & brand. It popularizes the brand and allows the company to create goodwill that can win customer loyalty. Product positioning allows marketers to design more meaningful promotional programs based on what advantages need to be communicated and what appropriate means need to be selected for product promotion.
When an existing product is upgraded in features or qualities, such improvements can be positioned against products offered by competitors. Therefore, product positioning helps companies outlast their competitors. It also helps customers in choosing the right product.