Here’s the bottom line: In today’s market, to guarantee the utmost visibility in any industry, effective B2B positioning requires some sort of strategy. Rising above competitors is getting tougher as more and more contenders seem to enter the market. And while marketing efforts can be optimized or revamped, there is one element that underlies as a foundation for all: positioning.
Let’s take a look at what “positioning” is and why it may be the most important (but one of the most difficult) building blocks for your company’s growth.
What Exactly Does “Positioning” Mean?
Here is what is positioning is NOT:
- Positioning is NOT branding. While both involve actively shaping your brand, positioning is how your brand sits in consumers’ minds.
- Positioning is NOT “marketing’s job.” Ultimately, it’s the CEO or founder’s job to lead the way on what the positioning will be. Marketing can, of course, take on a role in the process, but their job is more heavily involved later on in implementing the strategy through the messaging.
- Positioning is NOT just a statement. As you develop strategic B2B positioning, that brand story should weave itself into every element of your company.
Here is what positioning IS:
Positioning IS perception. The story that consumers and clients have created in their minds about your company and your brand. As positioning is composed of many different elements, from marketing and branding to service and social responsibility, it is crucial to create a clear and captivating customer perception with a strategy so clients choose your product and/or services to fill their needs every time.
Developing Your Positioning Strategy
The Buyer Persona
What are the ideal needs of your clientele? While every client may have different problems or difficulties, remember your job as a company is to solve those key pain points by providing a solution. Creating that buyer persona helps consolidate what needs your company should focus on filling and therefore, positioning your story around. Generally, the best persona to pursue would be the one who has the highest distress, simply because they are more likely to shift towards your solution if their needs aren’t currently being met.
Additionally, ask your current clientele for their input. This will help focus your areas of what customers’ perceptions are of not just your products, but your strategic B2B positioning as well. Ask questions like:
- What do they like about your product?
- What is the predominant benefit they receive?
- Why did they switch to your product?
- What do they wish was better?
The Competition and the Market
Where do you see your company fitting into the market? In consumers’ minds, you are already competing against other contenders, so make sure you know what you’re up against. One of the best ways is to simply gather competitive intelligence, whether that be from their website, blogs, social media and notably, reviews. Reviews are key to revealing what approvals — or disapprovals — current consumers are experiencing with your competitors’ products. How can your company fill these needs that your competitors aren’t delivering their promises on?
Do research not just on your competitors, but the industry as well. Where is the market demand now but more importantly, where is it going? Use your positioning to fill the empty void in your market to reach a new consideration of clients and maybe even contemplate the opportunity of creating your own category.
Differentiation and Consistency
That distinguishing factor that makes your company stand out from your competitors? USE it. This is what positioning is all about. See that a compelling story is crafted so your company will stand out from the competition and brand advocates will continuously share with anyone who listens.
Once you’ve established a brand position, keep to it. The second you change your brand’s story, you confuse your clients. Remember consistency happens across your whole positioning strategy — not just one individual element. This should include the messaging you are using for your marketing, ensuring that the delivery is centered around your story.
While there are several guiding principles to elevating your strategic B2B positioning, due to the differences and challenges each individual industry is facing, unfortunately, there is no one standard solution. As a specialist in your industry, you will know the in and outs of the market to implement the best possible positioning for your company — these are simply just tools to help you get started.
Still feeling overwhelmed by strategic B2B positioning? Leave it to the experts! Drop us a line and we’d be happy to help.