Product Positioning in Marketing
Product positioning in marketing is one of the important elements of marketing that seeks to establish a unique and favourable perception of a product in the minds of consumers. The primary objective of product positioning in marketing is to strategically position a product in the market, setting it apart from competitors and appealing to the intended target audience. The impact of effective product positioning on a company’s success in product positioning marketing cannot be overstated, as it directly influences the consumer decision making process and cultivates brand loyalty. Proper understanding and implementation of product positioning in marketing strategies can lead to enhanced market presence, increased consumer involvement, and sustainable business growth.
What is Product Positioning in Marketing? Product Positioning is a platform for any product or brand that enables it to effectively reach its target consumers. Positioning is the act of fixing the locus of the product offered in the minds of the target consumers. While positioning, the company determines the manner and specific parameters for presenting the product offered to the target consumers.
The importance of product positioning becomes clear through the following definitions:
David Ogilvy states that – “The results of your campaign depend less on how we write your advertising than on how your product is positioned”.
According to Kotler, “Positioning is the act of designing the company’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the target market’s mind”.
According to Ries and Trout, “Positioning starts with a product a piece of merchandise, a service, a company, an institution, or even a person. But positioning is not what you do to a product. Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect. That is, you position the product in the mind of the prospect”.
What is Product Positioning in Marketing
Product differentiation and positioning are key parts of a company’s marketing strategy and are necessary to keep ahead of the competition. A positioning and differentiation strategy is one of the most important factors in marketing a business. The easiest way to look at this is to break down the words. If a marketer’s product is different or stands out above others and it finds the correct way, place and time to market it, the marketer has created a positioning and differentiation strategy.
Adopting a strong position is not a passive act; rather it is a deliberate attempt to influence events, requires ignoring certain business targets in favour of others, and if successful, will yield growth in sales and profits and a consumer franchise who believes that this brand has no adequate substitute even if it costs more.
The positioning strategy aims to create a distinct brand identity that sets itself apart within the value framework of the target market. The actual pursued positioning may draw from various strategies/approaches, as explained in the following:
- Use or Application Positioning
- Price/Quality Positioning
- Product User Positioning
- Product Class Positioning
- Usage and Use Time Positioning
- Attribute Positioning
- Price Quality Positioning
- Benefit Positioning
- Competitive Positioning
- Brand Endorsement Positioning
- Category Positioning
- Corporate Identity Positioning
1) Use or Application Positioning
This technique focuses on positioning the product by highlighting its functional use or application. The Samsung E715 Camera Phone is an example of this type of positioning. The cell phone has this type of positioning. The cell phone has a built-in camera, alongwith a flash.
2) Price/Quality Positioning
Indicating the product’s place on the price/ quality continuum can position it firmly in the minds of customers. This has been successfully executed at both ends of the continuum (e.g., at the high end with Corum watches and Nieman Marcus mores, and at the end with Timex and WalMart).
3) Product User Positioning
This type of approach associates the product with a particular type of consumer. Some athletic and outdoor wear is positioned for the amateur and professionals only.
4) Product Class Positioning
Positioning concerning product class involves association with a specific group of products, usually different from what might be the conventional association. Examples would be positioning Caress as a bath oil product and Neutrogena as a beauty bar instead of as soap. Olay, typically known for its skincare offerings, now offers a novel range of vitamins positioned as beauty-enhancing supplements.
5) Usage and Use Time Positioning
A brand may choose to pre-empt a particular usage or usage time for positioning purposes. After the Bath cream positions itself as a post-bath skincare ritual for soft and supple skin. Livon hair lotion positions itself as an essential solution for post-shampoo use, aiding in the detangling of hair.
6) Attribute Positioning
Using one or more product attributes, features, or benefits the brand can deliver better than its competitors. An airline touting the fact that it has the best on-time arrival record exemplifies this approach. Medimix ayurvedic soap positions itself as a product crafted from 24 distinct herbal ingredients.
7) Price Quality Positioning
A brand can choose to occupy a distinct position on the price-quality spectrum. At the bottom end, it means an economy position (like Breeze and Nirma, both low quality, low price positions) and at the top end, it means a premium position ( Ariel and Surf Excel, high quality and high price). In the readymade garments market, Madura Garments has the Peter England brand at the lower end and Louis Philippe at the top end.
8) Benefit Positioning
Consumers purchase products to gain their inherent benefits. This strategy involves choosing a unique, untapped advantage to effectively position the brand. For example, car-buying motives include economy, speed, luxury, esteem, and safety. A new star of the Maggi brand known as the new multi-grain vegetarian. Maggi has positioned itself as offering the benefit of nutrition provided by fresh vegetables while enjoying the taste of noodles.
9) Competitive Positioning
This approach involves referencing competitors directly and presenting a convincing case in support of the brand. For example, Parle Agro strategically positions its energy drink ‘LMN’ to compete directly with the established Lemon energy drink “Nimbooz.”
10) Brand Endorsement Positioning
Unlike the previous approach of utilizing a corporate name, in this scenario, a proven brand serves as an endorser for a new introduction. For example, Dabur uses its successful brand Vatika to promote products like shampoos.
11) Category Positioning
This involves making a product jump over the category it originally belonged to and positioning it in a different category. Professionals usually advise this strategy when the current product category is brimming with alternatives, leading to difficulties in brand differentiation. For example, instead of positioning itself in the cycle’s category, a cycle brand can cross over to the health category.
12) Corporate Identity Positioning
In this case, the brand establishes a direct connection with the corporate identity and aims to leverage its credentials. Sometimes, firms use the corporate brand name to label their entries in various product categories, as do LG, Samsung, and Sony. The product labels of HUL all disclose the corporate link by the statement: ‘A quality product of HUL’.
Process of Product Positioning in Marketing
Positioning involves managing a range of tasks to ensure effective brand placement. An integrated approach to handling these tasks is necessary for the marketer to formulate a successful positioning strategy for the product offer.
The process of positioning takes the form of the following stages:
- Competitor’s Identification
- Determining the perception and evaluation of competitors
- Determining the Competitor’s Position
- Analysing Customer’s Preferences
- Making the Positioning Decision
- Monitoring the Position
1) Competitor’s Identification
This step requires broad thinking. Competitors a not only limited to those, whose products or brands fall within our product category or directly compete with us. The marketers must take into account all potential competitors, as well as the various effects of use and situations on the consumers.
2) Determining the Perception and Evaluation of Competitors
After identifying the competitors, the next task is to establish how consumers perceive them. Which attributes are important to consumers in evaluating a product or brand? For many products, it’s a standard practice to assess a range of attributes and product benefits, where their relative significance varies. The marketing firm dedicates a substantial amount of its research efforts to making such determinations. Organizations encourage consumers to join focus groups or to take part in surveys. Through these surveys, it becomes evident which attributes consumers consider significant in their buying choices.
3) Determining the Competitor’s Position
Having determined the relevant attributes and their relative importance to consumers, we must determine how each competitor (including our entry) is positioned concerning each attribute. This will also show the relative positioning of the competitors to one another. Consumer research is required to make this assessment.
4) Analysing Customer’s Preferences
Segmentation distinguishes among groups of consumers, including lifestyles, purchase motivations, demographic differences, and so on. Each of these segments may possess different purchase motivations and different attribute importance ratings. One way to determine these differences is to consider the brand or product. This refers to the object that a consumer would prefer over all others, including objects that can be imagined but do not exist. Identifying the ideal product can help the marketer identify different ideals among segments or identify segments with similar or the same ideal points.
5) Making the Positioning Decision
After going through the first four steps, the final positioning decision is to be made. Such a decision is not always clear and well-defined. However, conducting research may provide only limited input. In such a case, the marketing manager is required to exercise subjective judgment.
These judgments raise several questions:
- Is the segmentation strategy appropriate?
- Are there sufficient resources available to communicate?
- How strong is the competition?
- Is the current positioning strategy working?
6) Monitoring the Position
Once a position has been established, it is necessary to monitor how well this position is being maintained in the marketplace. Tracking studies are conducted to assess and monitor the perception of a product or brand over some time. Consumer perception changes can be identified by promptly detecting any deviations and responding accordingly. At the same time, it is possible to evaluate the effect of competitors.