A Simple Primer on Product Positioning

Question: "What exactly is product positioning and what it is used for, according to the Blackblot PMTK Methodology™ and the value models in PMTK?"

Answer: Product positioning is a known and established tool in product marketing. Some view product positioning as "a form of marketing", "place that a brand occupies", "means to communicate product attributes", and the list goes on. Clearly there are many different perspectives and some resulting confusion.

Firstly, product positioning is a psychological mental map in the customer's mind, pertaining to the relative qualities a product may have compared to its competitors. In other words, product positioning is the customer's imaginary perception, on a mental map, of a specific product or service as compared to its competition.

A person's determined view of actual competing products is influenced by a Product Positioning Statement which was somehow communicated to that person. Product positioning statements are used as the basis for developing clear and focused marketing messages that communicate the product's unique psychological placement and value proposition to multiple audiences.

As usual, we will find on the internet many variations and different formats being advocated on preparing a Product Positioning Statement.

Regardless of the format, the product positioning statement is grounded in six components: benefit, need, customer category, features, product class, and differentiation versus a competitor.

Any product positioning statement should ideally embody all six components.

The Blackblot PMTK Methodology™ and the PMTK toolkit employ a somewhat modified two-sentence positioning statement that is synchronized with the PMTK value and messaging models that are used in PMTK's product marketing activities.

The product positioning statement structure used in PMTK is: "For the <target customer> who <statement of need or opportunity>, the <product name or category> provides <statement of key benefit>. Unlike <primary competitive alternative>, the <product> <statement of primary differentiation>."

It is possible to identify several key or core positioning statements relative to the product itself and its target audiences.

The practical application of a product positioning statement can be outlined with the following example.

Tesla Motors describes itself as the designer and manufacturer of "Premium Electric Vehicles". It is hard to locate on the Tesla Motors website any real reference to the company's true vision and mission statements, and their product positioning statements.

Based on Tesla's tagline, the core of Tesla car's product positioning statement would center on two factors: premium (luxury, comfort) and electric (sustainability, renewal energy).

On their website, Tesla also strongly mentions vehicle safety as a primary factor. Based on the aforementioned information and using the Blackblot PMTK model, a possible product positioning statement for a Tesla car would be:

"For the discriminating individual who is environmentally conscious and quality minded, the Tesla range of premium electric vehicles provides enjoyable sustainable transport. Unlike gasoline combustion vehicles, the Tesla electric battery powered car is safer in an accident than any other vehicle whatsoever."

Crafting a proper product positioning statement is not trivial but with a proper understanding it is possible to deliver effective results.