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Quick product positioning exercise
What if you're in a very crowded market category, how will you make your customers buy your product? This product positioning exercise will help you build exactly that connection.
Hi 👋, Welcome to the 51st newsletter post.
“Why do our customers need this product?”
Have you ever had this discussion with your team to answer this question? The majority of the teams tend to avoid it.
Generally, the perspective of this question is in the founder’s mind and too often there is a massive disconnect between what the company is offering and what customers fail to understand interesting about the product.
And it’s not only about what makes your product unique, your competitive advantage, or how you’re trying to solve the problem but it’s about understanding your customers enough for them to buy your product.
If you’re too focused on building the product only, you’ll forget why there’s a need for a new feature and how to position the product in the market for customers to know why they need it.
If something like this is happening with your product, go through this product positioning exercise & craft your own positioning statement + download this one-pager template (at the end). It can be a complex and comprehensive exercise or lightweight practice. It depends upon the maturity of your product, where you are using it and where are you at the product roadmap.
Though the product positioning statement is merely a fill-in-the-blank, this exercise will effectively help you create the phrases.
Positioning brings out the awesomeness in your product🥳
You want the unique value of your product to be clearly articulated. Product positioning helps you define and capture exactly that.
To define what a product positioning statement is,
“It’s typically used for internal teams. It’s the base for all of your product marketing and the goal is to align the team around how to communicate the value of your product to customers.”
Having a clear and concise positioning statement is important because it gives potential consumers the ability to understand your business at first glance.
Considering the fact that you fall into a crowded category, what makes you different? Or you’re just another product in the market. Strong positioning helps your product stand out in all the best ways.
Here are some product positioning statement examples:
Organic Bath Co. Positioning Statement:
"If you're seeking clean and healthy ingredients in your body care routine, Organic Bath Co. offers a line of organic and natural skincare products that you can feel good about using. Trust in Organic Bath Co. for clean uncomplicated ingredients that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and cared for.”
Amazon Positioning Statement:
"For consumers who want to purchase a wide range of products online with quick delivery, Amazon is a one-stop online shopping site. Amazon sets itself apart from other online retailers with its customer obsession, passion for innovation, and commitment to operational excellence.”
Nike Positioning Statement:
"For athletes in need of high-quality, fashionable athletic wear, Nike offers customers top-performing sports apparel and shoes made of the highest quality materials. Its products are the most advanced in the athletic apparel industry because of Nike's commitment to innovation and investment in the latest technologies.”
The 5 steps🪜
Simplicity is the key to effective positioning but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to achieve.
It’s so natural to quickly talk about a “fully integrated solution for everyone” - target all the features and customers you are targeting to. But it only makes it harder for people to understand the overall product and who it’s for.
The main concept of product positioning is to examine the product’s strengths and centre it around everything.
You have to let go of the default. This means no matter where the idea came from, what you do or what your customers think about your product, you have to keep it aside & then think about positioning. Because sometimes we could be building anything BUT a certain category we started in.
If you try to put yourself into a larger category, you could be putting yourself against a very strong competitor & you won’t be able to highlight the key difference.
Customers would buy based on your uniqueness & why they need it. Your uniqueness is the reason why your product deserves to exist in the first place. And it can be more than one thing, just list all the ways that your offering makes you different.
At the end of the day, it’s about what your product can do for customers, value is what your customers care most about but also how that value is delivered. Think of Canva, they targeted graphic creators who want to immediately create templates for social media without learning complicated things & immediately download the image.
Once you know what value your product delivers, you’ll see not everyone cares about the product in a similar way. Now that you have captured what you have and can uniquely deliver for customers, the next step is to figure out who cares a lot about that value. It shouldn’t be like “We sell to small businesses or CXOs or less than x revenue” because all of them are different and you need to be specific enough.
What market category are you in? As easy as it sounds, it isn’t. When you declare what market you’re in, your customers will immediately start placing you in that category and make assumptions about the pricing, competition, features, etc. The biggest mistake you can make is if you only position it in one market because there are several ways a particular product can be used. So, if you’re an early-stage startup and have immediately decided on your market, look for other possible markets or case scenarios, as some may be more valuable than others. There are different ways to position in the market category - you can either win an already established market or create a new market category by using your unique innovation to change the way people think about the entire market category.
Avoid this when creating a positioning statement
Relying on buzzwords to define the clarity
Copying how big brands position itself
Depending on one positioning statement when there can likely be multiple different ways
Not creatively using the statement within the strategy
Aligning the team🎯
I often find that for early-stage founders it’s too much effort to take some time with the team to discuss, align and document product positioning & customers.
It’s really important to bring alignment and consistency around positioning so that every member has strong messaging around the product.
It also helps when hiring and onboarding new team members if the information is easy to access and document.
When you offer multiple solutions to different customer segments it can be easy to lose sight of positioning and get off track.
That’s why documenting positioning is so valuable. It helps align your team, protects against market confusion, and sets your startup up for success. But if you don’t get your team on the same page, there will be trouble down the line.
One thing that really works well is brainstorming as many analogies and metaphors for the product as possible. Think about how the product fits into customers’ lives - the outcomes, benefits and overarching value.
Next is to actually talk to customers themselves - I have found some best answers in the unexpected talks.
Positioning exercise is a way to start & there is no “end” to it📮
Now as you have a draft, the best way to measure your success is to test it internally and externally - within the team & with customers. It doesn’t have to be limited to founding members only, send the document to the entire company and get feedback.
It also helps you understand how much your team has understood the product and customers.
As it’s never a done-once-and-seal-deal thing.
You need to deliberately and actively change the positioning and evolve beyond the way you started, which sets customers’ understanding of the product apart.
With every strategy you create, revisit the positioning and depending on the shifts that happen in the product, market, competitors or pain points, it’s crucial to make changes in the positioning.
Thanks for reading, until next time
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