Three More Positionings to Define Business

How is your small business positioned, or defined relative to your competition?  We have looked at the Top Picks for Positioning:  A) Price, B) Quality and C) Variety. In addition, here are three more to consider:  D) Value, E) Convenience and F) Emotional Connection.

D. Value

Value implies that buyers will be satisfied that they have paid a fair price for whatever you offer. Their purchase will not fall apart or quickly fail -- and is probably priced in the middle of the range for similar products or services. In essence, it is a combination of “price” and “quality.”

Key considerations for a Value positioning:

  • Less pricing pressure to be the low-cost provider versus a Price positioning.
  • A wider range of price points can be included.
  • Depending on the economy, Value may appeal to a broad target market.
  • On the negative side, you will be undercut by low-cost providers.

Value Example: Target.  

Their ads are fun and colorful, and fashion is a significant story in addition to the well-known price story. They establish designer names in order to gain credibility and imply that the relationship between price and quality are “right on target.”

E: Convenience (a.k.a. Accessibility)

A business with a convenience positioning is easy to locate and the purchase is easy to make. Purchases leave the buyer with a good feeling of time or effort saved.

Is your business or product name easy to spell or remember for internet research? Do you always include your street address? Do you have plenty of parking? Does the Customer Service you offer enhance your image? If not, you are losing sales.

Key considerations for a Convenience positioning:

  • Make sure your address is on the internet for easy access.
  • Physical accessibility is critical for any retail establishment. Certifications, such as ADA compliance, could be turned into a strong positioning for entities where that is a rarity.
  • The meaning of Convenience continues to evolve as technology develops. Years ago, a grocery store offering workers to take items to the buyer’s car has been superseded by stores offering online ordering prior to pick-up in a dedicated parking area.
  • Convenience may serve most often as a secondary positioning, rather than a primary one.

Convenience Example:  Starbucks

For years, Starbucks coffee houses grew like dandelions. They also tout other issues (e.g. social responsibility, variety, quality), but they are iconic because they are on every street corner in big cities – and easy to find in smaller ones.

F: Emotional

If you can connect with people on an emotional level, or meet an intangible need, you are fortunate indeed.  

Key considerations for Emotional Connections:

  • Emotional connections get people to open their wallets even when they receive nothing tangible in return. Most successful non-profits make an emotional connection.
  • Businesses related to self-image (e.g., fashion, fitness, interior design) can be strongly tied to emotion.
  • Strong and loyal target audiences can be built. Faith-based, Green or sustainable products often fall into this category.  
  • Emotional positionings often require some degree of evolution over time, especially when they connected to a national movement. Businesses that make a powerful connection today, may be considered yesterday’s news with rapid speed.
  • Heart-stirring issues can be hard to portray clearly, concisely, and without offense to the target audience.

Emotional Example:  Vietnam reference book series.

In the mid-1980’s, I was considering concepts for a new book series. In our consumer research, participants were not overly excited about any one idea. There was one exception. In every focus group of 10 to 12 people, one or two loved our concept of a series on the war in Vietnam. Everyone else hated the idea – the pain of the war was too fresh. So, we did not do it. Two years later our primary competitor came out with – you guessed it – a blockbuster series on Vietnam. In this case, emotion won. A very excited core group, if there are enough of them, is sufficient for success.

Now you have six possible positionings to consider. Which ones will best fit with your product and target market? When you know the answer, you will have finalized an important piece of your Marketing Strategy within your Business Plan.

Until we meet again,

The Entrepreneur’s Friend

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