After the organisation has selected its target market, the next stage is to decide how it wants to position itself within that chosen segment. Positioning refers to ‘how organisations want their consumers to see their product’. Market positioning is about effectively conveying messages about your product or services to your target market.
Market Positioning Examples
Car manufacturer Daewoo in the UK, has successfully positioned themselves as the family value model. Before Volkswagen purchased Skoda it had a negative image and known as a cheap car make in the UK. However Volkswagen have successfully repositioned the brand so it is now known as a "good" make which regularly wins car of the year awards. Positive comments from the car industry combined with successful design changes has changed the perception of consumers about the Skoda brand.
Developing a Positioning Strategy
The first step in developing your positioning strategy is market research. You will need to find out what features buyers in your chosen market segment feel that your product type should have. This stage is researching product features in general not features offered by specific brands e.g. smart phone features, television features, washing up powder features. Once you have identified preferred product features and how consumers rank them against each other, make a list of products on the market which offer those features. Finally draw out a positioning (perceptual) map showing preferred product features and which competitor products offer those features. For comparison purposes, it may also be useful to place your own product on the positioning map as well. For advice on how to draw out a positioning map click here. Now that you can see how competitor products are positioned in your chosen market segment and where your product is currently placed, you need to make some decisions about where you would like to position your product.
Finalising Your Positioning Strategy
Developing a positioning strategy depends much on how firms position themselves. Do organisations want to develop ‘a me too’ strategy and position themselves close to their competitors so consumers can make a direct comparison when they purchase? Or does the organisation want to develop a strategy which positions them away from their competitors? For example by offering a feature not offered by competitors. This may be a feature that your market research revealed buyers in your market segment rank as important.
Ultimately positioning is about how you want consumers to perceive your products (and services) and the strategies you adopt to reach this perceptual goal. For more information please read Peceptual Mapping.