Positioning is a key element of any marketing plan. It permeates the entire marketing mix and should be at the forefront of a business' mind as it tries to gain market share. Positioning is as much an art as a science and helps you win the hearts and minds of consumers.
The marketing mix is otherwise known as the "four P's" of marketing: product, price, promotion and placement. Positioning can be defined as the place a product holds in the minds of consumers. In other words, how they view your product is largely determined by your positioning strategy. Using the four P's, you can develop a comprehensive positioning strategy that builds a strong brand.
The product is what you are selling. It can be something tangible like a car or a shoe, or something intangible like security or happiness. Understanding your product will help you build differentiation, which is how your product is superior to the competition's. Apple is famous for its differentiation strategy and has capitalized on this with the iPhone.
Pricing strategy is one of the most psychological of the four P's. A price leadership strategy will position your brand at the leading edge of the market, forcing competitors to follow. Many companies, such as Wal-Mart, position their products as inexpensive options by offering low prices. Others, like Rolls Royce, position theirs as quality, luxury items by offering higher prices.
Promotion is how your sell your product to the public. This can be through advertising, word of mouth, public relations and social-media websites. A promotion strategy will imprint your brand's image in the minds of consumers. Companies who rely on more grassroots efforts, such as promoting on college campuses, may position themselves as being community-oriented.
Sometimes called "distribution," placement refers to where your product can be purchased. Placement is important in places like a supermarket, where many similar, competing products are offered on the store shelves. Where a product is placed on a shelf will affect visibility and sales. Cereal companies constantly fight over the best placement to position themselves as the first choice of consumers.