The Leadership Position

market relations

A leadership position is achieved by delivering the differentiated benefits that are most important to customers at the lowest total cost of ownership.

Done correctly it will establish credibility and make your product more valuable than alternative offerings. This also means your range of marketing claims and messages is limited by what people already believe. And perceptions are very slow to change.

Customers ‘position’ a product and company in relative terms of importance and value in their minds based on what the company does, not what it says. To position a product effectively, we must know how well customers understand your product offering and how they currently perceive its value.

Make your product easier to understand and buy

Positioning is the process of describing your technology, product, market and company using words that are likely to exist in the customer’s head. When you communicate with customers using information they have already accepted, it makes your product easier to buy.

The easiest products to buy are the ones that occupy an uncontested space in your customer’s brain. And there are four stages in the process of building this uncontested space, each stage corresponds to the four primary stages of the Technology Adoption Lifecycle.

For Innovators
Initial positioning must be based on a name and its category. Because innovators have a technology orientation, positioning messages must include a technically-correct description of the product that also differentiates it from other products in the same category.

For Early Adopters
Positioning for Early Adopters must include a description of the end user, and the problem the product is designed to solve. And because early adopters are most interested in achieving some form of competitive advantage, positioning messages at this stage must include a statement about potential impact.

For The Early Majority
Positioning for the Early Majority must compare your product to alternatives in the same category. Because the early majority is most interested in following the herd in their industry, this addition to the messages from the preceding stages will allow the customer to set expectations and also create points of reference.

For The Late Majority
Positioning for the Late Majority must dramatically lower risk and allow the customer to feel totally secure. This type of secure feeling can only come from a company that has a dominant position in a product category.

Since it’s not possible to know the exact stage of adoption of the people who might be listening, you must deliver all four types of positioning messages — company, market, product and technology — every time you communicate with an audience.

With a complete understanding of adopter characteristics and psychology, we can position a product using the right content at the right time, allowing the message to connect perfectly with customers.

Claiming the Leadership Position

The most effective positioning strategies are those that demand the least amount of change. Therefore your goal is to make the product easier to buy by positioning it as the best solution or alternative for a specific problem.

Product positioning has the single largest influence on the purchase decision. But positioning ultimately exists in people’s minds. Positioning is a strategic process that includes the following steps:

  • Select a market alternative: The market alternative is the de-facto standard product in the market segment. Your product must compete for an existing budget by overcoming that product’s limitation.
  • Develop a claim or statement: A two-line statement of indisputable market leadership in a particular segment. Your statement must be defined based on a specific target segment and value proposition.
  • Provide evidence: Make your claim incontestable. The most compelling evidence for mainstream customers is market share. In its absence, they look for the quality and number of partners and their commitment to your product.
  • Communicate via market relations: Identify your market infrastructure or ecosystem and provide the right messages to the right audience at the right time.
  • Receive feedback and adjust: When competitors poke holes in your initial effort, update your positioning platform