‘…repositioning is not what you do to a product. Repositioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect.’
When marketing thinkers Trout and Ries coined that definition in 1972, they turned marketing on its head. Advertising would never be the same again.
The extraordinary pace of the Internet’s development has broadened, deepened, and accelerated marketers’ ability to identify, reach, and influence their targets.
In the process, it has consolidated positioning’s validity as the head, shaft and flight of the marketing arrow.
Reality is in the mind of your customer or prospect
And as our two esteemed marketers now say, the only reality that matters is in the mind of your customer or prospect. Once you embrace this reality—and anything less than a whole-hearted embrace is doomed to frustration and failure—your window on the world will unfog.
Another inspired marketer, the man who wrested marketing away from the Mad Men and dropped it in the laps of solopreneurs, insisted on two positions for businesses of any size.
Jay Conrad Levinson, the Che Guevara and Ho Chi Minh of marketing, said ‘marketing is every bit of contact your company has with anyone in the outside world.’
He demanded that to be successful, you must have a plan, and that you must commit to it.
Plans work in reverse
Like all good planners, you know that plans work in reverse—they start at the desired destination and then work back to the departure point of today. Sadly, most businesses, often out of commendable enthusiasm, jump into today with little or no thinking or knowledge of tomorrow.
The pendulum of power—over choice of product and service design, manufacture, distribution and price—has now swung firmly, even permanently to consumers. And not blocks of consumers as was once the case in the now dead days of mass marketing.
Trillions of daily transactional searches
Individuals now vote with a mouse or mobile device in trillions of daily transactional searches. How they find you, and more importantly, what they think of you when they do, will make the difference between a sale, a relationship, a fan.
Get it wrong, and you’ll disappear into a distant nebula of nothingness. That black hole is reserved for businesses that think about themselves instead of their customers and prospects.
7 vital positioning questions
Instead, businesses that understand why they must reposition ask these questions:
- What business am I really in?
- What are my true goals?
- What clear benefits (not features) do I bring to customers and prospects?
- Who are the people I most want to reach with my message?
- What do they know and think of me right now?
- What do I want them to know and think of me, by when and at what cost?
- What do we want them to do?
If you’ve been in business any length of time, you’ll know markets are dynamic, unpredictable, and even bloody-minded. That’s why a regular repositioning review is so valuable. Reading the market’s moods and trends informs how you should present yourself.
And presenting yourself with the right products, services, benefits, words, deals, people and a myriad other points of contact, is how you reposition.
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