Product Positioning Clarifications

Question: "I find there's confusion among technical people about the Positioning Statement, but I'm confused as to why they are confused. Can you please clarify?"

Answer: For the technology-driven mindset, a technologically superior product is "better positioned" (meaning it has a better chance) to achieve marketplace success. This is a generic and absolute notion that is independent of the competition and for the technology-driven mindset it makes perfect sense.

Question: "I simply see product positioning as a strategic tool to help Product Management focus on market requirements, and for Product Marketing to base their messaging. Is this correct?"

Answer: Indeed product positioning statements are used by the product marketer (a role in Product Marketing) to create product positioning messages that foster product differentiation. Product positioning statements are used as a basis for developing clear and focused product positioning messages that communicate the product's unique psychological placement and value proposition to multiple audiences.

Product positioning statements are irrelevant to the product planner (a role in Product Planning) and to the MRD (Market Requirements Document) as product positioning is created only after the PRD (Product Requirements Document) is created by the Product Architect (a role in Development).

Question: "I think a Positioning Statement without mentioning a competitor's product isn't realy Positioning. Is this correct?"

Answer: This is correct. From a marketing perspective, the concept of Positioning is defined as "the psychological location in the customer's mind, pertaining to the relative qualities a company, product, or service may have with respect to its competitors."

Question: "There should be a Positioning Statement for each of the unique competitors since they can have comparatively different strengths and weaknesses. Is this correct?"

Answer: This is correct. It is possible to identify several core product positioning statements for different target audiences, relative to the product itself and its unique competitors.

Question: "Some people feel that the Positioning Statement should not actually mention the competitor becuase mentioning the compertitor provides free promotion to the competition. Is this correct?"

Answer: This manner of thought would be incorrect. From a marketing perspective, the positioning concept is also about comparison . It is highly likely that these people conform to the technology-driven mindset.

Question: "This is where I get lost - the very idea of not mentioning the competition prevents it from being "positioning. Is this correct?"

Answer: This is correct. The positioning concept always contains a comparative element that is relative to the competition.

Question: "It seems some people think positioning can somehow be created in a market space (actually, in the mind of the customer) but without identifying alternative products. Is this correct?"

Answer: This manner of thought would be incorrect. Positioning also pertains to the customer's perception of a product or service as compared to its competition.

Question: "I think the confusion there is in thinking the Positioning Statement is the actual statement made by MarCom. It's as if people think the Positioning Statement is going to appear in an advertisement. Please comment".

Answer: Product positioning statements are created by the product marketer who belongs to the Product Marketing department. The MarCom Manager does not create product positioning statements. Product positioning messages, derived from the product positioning statement, are conveyed to the target market through different media (including via advertisements). Among other duties, the MarCom Manager is responsible for manifesting the product positioning messages in MarCom activities.

Question: "Again, I just see it as another PM tool similar to the Sales Axioms. Is this correct?"

Answer: Sales Axioms are a tool used to understand, capture and document a product's value. The relationship between Sales Axioms and Product Positioning is that when dealing with several products that are in the same general price range, the Sales Axioms alone become the axis scales for product positioning. In this particular case, price is no longer an axis scale.

Question: "I doubt we'll find a clear cut real-world example of a Positioning Statement if we searched for it on a vendor's web site or read through their marketing materials. In fact, that's proving my point - they are not copy/paste statements but a tool to build marketing messages. Is this correct?"

Answer: This is absolutely correct. Positioning statements are an internal tool to create product positioning messages. It is very unlikely to find raw positioning statements made public.

Question: "Does positioning mean that for a product that is sold to both consumers and to businesses (IT departments being the buyers) that separate positioning statements are a reasonable thing to do?"

Answer: It all depends on the given situation. It is possible that separate product positioning statements will be needed or perhaps only one product positioning statement will suffice.

For example, is it required to formulate two separate product positioning statements for a consumer product – one product positioning statement for men and a different product positioning statement for women?

The answer is that two separate product positioning statements will be needed only if men and woman constitute distinctly different target markets, i.e., they have different needs and appreciate different benefits in the product. However, if men and women constitute the same target market, i.e., have the same needs and appreciate the same set of benefits in the product, then only one product positioning statement is required (a single product positioning statement that views both men and women as the target market audience).