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Market positioning

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Is your Nashville business taking advantage of its unique market position? If not, what are you waiting for?

A common mistake that new business owners make is forgetting that when customers look for a product or service, they’re trying to find the one that will best meet their specific set of needs. It sounds simple, but it’s worth taking some time to think about.

When a prospect is evaluating your company, they consider a number of factors (such as cost and quality) before making their decision. Some of these factors are more important than others, depending on the individual’s buying style. If your business doesn’t meet the prospect’s needs based on the factors they consider essential, you’ll lose out to your competitors that can – this is especially true in a world where a quick Google search can find 50 companies that do just about anything we need.

When you understand the position of your products and services in your market, you can set up your business operations to cater to those who care about the perks that only you offer (or that you offer at a higher-level). A targeted brand marketing strategy can increase conversions while saving you time and money, since you’ll only be advertising to those most likely to be interested in your products.

If you haven’t worked with a market positioning strategy before, there are exercises that can help you get a better understanding of where you stand so you can tweak your brand strategy as needed.

The spectrums of market positioning

As we’ve said time and time again, if your small Nashville business wants more leads, you’re going to have to work for them. That includes understanding your exact position in the market and forming a market positioning strategy accordingly – if you try to guess or just get a vague sense of where you stand, the result will be a watered down brand strategy that’s not as effective as it could be.

To get started, take a look at the spectrums of market positioning detailed below. These are the top factors people use when making buying decisions, so it’s crucial to have a clear, accurate idea of where your brand is on each spectrum, as well as performing a competitor analysis to see where your competitors land. You don’t need to stand out in every single spectrum but you need to stand out in at least one by having tangible reasons why your business dominates within the given landscape.

Taking the time to examine where you are on each spectrum will give you a better idea of what direction you need to take your brand strategy in to reach your target audience and set yourself apart from the competition. Many business owners also find that breaking down the market into these seven spectrums makes the process more manageable, especially if they haven’t worked with a market positioning strategy in the past.

So what are the seven spectrums that influence so many buying decisions?

Price

Price is the easiest factor for people to recognize when they first begin working with the idea of market positioning. As a business owner, you most likely already have a good grasp on your pricing strategy compared to your competitors. You may have even performed a competitor analysis when coming up with pricing for your products or services.

As you probably already guessed, the price spectrum ranges anywhere from budget options to high-end luxury brands.

While price point is one of the most important factors people use when deciding whether to make a purchase, it’s important to keep in mind that being the cheapest isn’t always the best move – after all, if people were only interested in finding the lowest prices, Rolex wouldn’t be able to sell $100k watches or Lamborghini cars for $200-500k.

There are a range of ways that price affects a buyer’s opinions about a brand – also remember that price is only one factor when it comes to buying decisions. Adding other factors explains why some wines cost $10 a bottle and others cost $1,000, depending on what else they offer a customer.

Market Positioning - Price examples

Quality

Quality refers to the level of service or the materials used to make the product you purchased. The quality spectrum ranges from the most basic to ultra high end.

A good example when thinking about quality is restaurants:

  • Some people don’t care much about the environment in which they eat – they just want a tasty, reasonably priced meal.
  • Others want more than a meal – they want an experience, whether it’s an ambient dining environment or premium Wagyu filet steaks. Many patrons are willing to pay much more for a meal if it’s a night to remember (or something they can brag to friends about later).

Neither end of the spectrum is better than the other; it’s just a matter of knowing which end you’re on and marketing to an audience that’s looking for just that. As with the other factors, it’s also important to do a competitor analysis to see where your competition is in relation to your brand.

Market Positioning - Quality examples

Speed

Speed is always going to be relative to your competitors, but it can be an extremely important factor for many buyers. As with the two factors discussed above, being on one end of the speed spectrum or the other is equally fine, just as long as you’re honest with yourself and your audience about it.

For some buyers, speed is king; even the promise of a faster delivery speed for these folks is enough to convince many of them to make a purchase, thereby increasing companies’ sales and profits. Amazon’s a perfect example – think about how they took over the e-commerce space once they started providing two-day shipping for all Amazon Prime members. At the time it seemed like an impossible promise, as 3-5 business days was the standard – now customers don’t even have to pay extra to get items in two days.

Other buyers are less concerned about speed as long as things are handled correctly – these people are perfectly happy to do business with a brand that’s further over to the “meticulous” side of the scale. SaaS tools like CRM systems prove this – these monster systems can take a long time to properly integrate with a business’ process, but being methodical initially will ensure the job is done right the first time and save the business time and stress in the long run.

Market Positioning - Speed examples

Convenience

Convenience is exactly what it sounds like – how easy it is for a customer to work with your business. Convenience can be applied to many operational practices, but a couple of the places you’ll most commonly see it is in regards to proximity and payment.

Starbucks, for instance, has a reputation of there being “one on every street corner,” so wherever you are, it’s easy to get to a Starbucks, whether you’re in Nashville or Nantucket. (Dollar General has a similar model).

Venmo, meanwhile, has taken over as one of the top self-payment providers in the United States because it makes it incredibly easy to attach your bank account and begin to split payments with friends. Once you get started, it’s extremely simple and convenient to use.

Many video games have also moved to this model with micro-transactions. Once you’ve entered your credit card information, it’s very easy to buy new character outfits and upgrades in the moment.

In some cases, convenience isn’t at the top of a buyer’s mind, such as going out of their way to try something a little different. For example, a seaside bed and breakfast off the beaten path might take some effort to get to and might not have the most up-to-date point-of-sale system, but the sense of relaxation it provides might be worth it to certain travelers.

Market Positioning - Convenience examples

Specialization

Specialization refers to the scope of customers you work with; for example, the industry, demographics, or interests of the people with which you do business.

If you did a competitor analysis on large grocery chains like Walmart, Target, and Kroger, it would be clear that they do not land in the “hyper-specialized”  range. These businesses want to have the widest possible appeal because they operate with a low profit margin, so they need a lot of customers in order to make significant profits. That’s why they sell everything from groceries and clothing, to power tools and children’s toys.

Other businesses, especially most small or independently owned businesses, have better luck winning business by turning towards specialization. One way they do this is by narrowing their focus to a specific industry.

For instance, Needles is a widely used case management software that operates much like a CRM system but is set up specifically to work in a law firm environment. Accordingly, it provides the features that lawyers care about most, like time-tracking systems. Tracking time is extremely important for attorneys, so they want to make sure that the software company they buy from knows what they’re doing rather than trusting it to a Jack-of-all-trades.

Market Positioning - Specialization examples

Disruption

For some consumers, the most important factor in making a purchase is whether a solution is the most innovative or unique on the market. Some companies that disrupt the market’s status quo can be a flash in the pan, but other times they can be a catalyst to change an inequality within a current market.

Take AirBnB – hotel pricing was starting to become outrageous for the everyday American citizen. Hotel rooms in most major cities would be a minimum of $150 a night for a simple room with a bathroom, bed, and TV. Americans wanted more, so AirBnB sought to change the game by offering a way for people to rent their properties as travel accommodation. It was a bit of a tough sell initially, but their detailed review system gave users a sense of comfort. Now thanks to them, people have been able to get affordable travel accommodation while also getting a unique staying experience.

As is the case for all the other spectrums, being one thing or the other isn’t necessarily better. While some consumers aren’t happy unless they’re first in line for the newest thing, others are turned off by the unfamiliar. Many consumers avoid change at all costs, and they prefer a middle-of-the-road solution that feels like something they’ve had before.

Market Positioning - Disruption examples

Reach

Reach is how widely recognized your business is. Reach can play a bigger or smaller factor depending on the specific buying decision.

People associate brands that have a wide reach with safety and predictability. The greater your reach, or brand awareness your business has, the more consumers feel like you’re the safer buying option. That’s why 71% of people prefer buying from brands they recognize.

A prime example of this is McDonalds, which brags about having over 10 billion customers served. Many people who find themselves in a foreign airport will gravitate towards buying a Big Mac over any local cuisine because they know what to expect from it.

Of course, other buyers aren’t interested in mainstream appeal – they care more about finding the diamond in the rough.

Think about your local dive bars and coffee shops. When you find “your spot” it can be a great feeling. Oftentimes a narrower reach can correlate with deeper customer care because they need to fight harder to keep every customer happy to stay in business.

Market Positioning - Reach examples

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Market positioning FAQs

Take the Stairs in Nashville partners with clients to help them with everything from undertaking a competitor analysis, developing buyer personas for their target market, and implementing persona-based advertising strategies to giving in-depth workshops on subjects like “why” statements and market positioning.

We’ve helped countless clients over the years, from experienced business executives looking to modernize their brand strategy, to first-time startup owners who want to make sure they do everything right from the get-go. As you might imagine, serving a wide customer base provides us with lots of opportunities to answer questions and teach clients the ins and outs of marketing, branding, and more.

When it comes to market positioning, we’ve noticed that a few of the same questions pop up each time we help a client develop and implement a market positioning strategy. We know that sometimes you just want a quick answer without having to work with a consultant, so we’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions on market positioning below. If you have a question not answered here or would like help with your market positioning strategy, feel free to reach out any time and we’ll run through what we can do to help.

Market positioning is the place your brand occupies in your market compared to your main competitors based on a number of factors like convenience and pricing. Knowing your position in the market will allow you to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your brand as well as that of your competition. This will help you develop a brand strategy that makes the most of the ways your brand outshines the competitors.

It’s worth noting that there may be a gap between where you see your position in the market and how customers see you; it’s important to take the time to accurately gauge your business’s market positioning so you can better formulate a comprehensive market positioning strategy and communicate it with your audience.

It’s all fine and good to say that market positioning is important and point out the ways it can help a business present itself to customers, but unless you understand how to actually do it, it’s not much help.

First off, it helps to break the market down into the main factors that affect most buying decisions. These factors are then broken into spectrums:

  • Price
  • Quality
  • Speed
  • Convenience
  • Specialization
  • Disruption
  • Reach

Then you need to do a competitor analysis to see where on each spectrum each of your top competitors fall.

Once you’ve done that, it’s time for the part that many business owners find to be the most difficult: figuring out where on each spectrum your own business falls. As simple as it sounds, we’ve seen many people have trouble seeing their brand’s place in the market objectively. That’s where the exercises in our market positioning workshop come in handy, as well as our expert feedback.

After you know where your brand and your competitors stand on each spectrum, it should be easy to tell where your brand stands out from the others. This knowledge is vital when it comes to creating an effective market positioning strategy in the future.

Market positioning is important because it helps you better understand the clients who are most likely to want to work with your business. This allows you to take a targeted approach to marketing, which:

  • Saves time and money since you’re concentrating on reaching a smaller audience
  • Allows you to create more compelling copy that speaks to your audience, rather than generic ads that try to appeal to everyone
  • Increase conversion rates because you’re focusing on the people most likely to be interested in what you have to offer

Knowing the areas your business excels at compared to other businesses lets you send a clear message to potential customers about your brand and what you can offer them that others can’t.

Why Take the Stairs for market positioning?

If you’ve been shopping around for someone who can help with your market positioning strategy, then you’re already well aware that Take the Stairs is far from the only marketing agency in Nashville. But as you probably also already know, not all marketing agencies are the same.

As outlined in our “why,” our Nashville agency strives to work hand-in-hand with business owners and reach long-term solutions to their business problems. We aim to be as transparent as possible in our communication style and make it a point to “teach you how to fish” so that you’re able to take the ball and run with it after working with us.

Take the Stairs offers an in-depth market positioning workshop that will give you a solid foundation to build on, giving you a clear picture of where your business is positioned compared to your competitors, and how to build a market positioning strategy based on what you learn.

So how is the Take the Stairs Market Positioning Workshop different?

It's a spectrum

No other agency uses spectrum visualization in their market position workshops. Our method of determining where your brand sits within the many factors that make up your position in the market is especially helpful for those figuring out market positioning for their first time.

Professional facilitation

Our team doesn’t just tell you what you want to hear so you can go away patting yourself on the back after taking our workshop. We challenge and test the answers you give in exercises so that you leave with a clear, grounded market positioning strategy.

Completed handout

After the completion of the course, you’ll get a handout that outlines exactly where your company stands against its top competitors. You’ll be able to review this handout any time as you begin to plan and modify your brand strategy accordingly.

Mature your sales strategy with our market positioning workshop

Most long-time business owners will tell you that in order to develop an effective sales strategy, it’s essential to take the time to figure out a brand strategy that includes a detailed competitor analysis and understand your brand’s comparative market positioning.

Our market positioning workshop will guide you through every step, and we’ll offer constructive feedback to make sure that you’re absolutely confident about your place on each spectrum within the market positioning sphere. That means you’ll end up with accurate, real-world results, even if you’ve never done any sort of brand analysis before.

If you’re ready to mature your Nashville business’s sales strategy by learning how to implement a robust market positioning strategy, contact us to set up a discovery call.

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