At the heart of every effective marketing strategy is a well-structured positioning statement. But what is positioning in marketing?
A positioning statement is a description of your product or service and the target audience you hope to reach, as well as an explanation of the market gap that you plan on filling.
Don’t know how to get started? We’ve broken the process of positioning a brand down into five easy steps.
- Start with a template
- Identify your target market
- Clarify the unique value you are providing to your customers
- Tell your audience why they should trust you
- Proofread and edit your positioning statement
A positioning statement is a great way to help a mentor understand your business and goals.
If you get stuck at any point in the process, reach out to a mentor with what you know about your business and share what challenges you are facing.
1. Start with a template
It’s easy to get started writing your brand’s positioning statement using this simple formula:
[Your business’s name] provides [A] with [B]. We do this by [C1, C2, C3].
The next three steps will help you fill in the blanks of this template and create the first draft of your positioning statement.
2. Identify your target market
Knowing your target market is essential to positioning your business. You probably already have some idea of who your ideal customers are, but how do you define your target market?
Ask yourself some simple questions:
- What types of customers and clients does my brand want to reach?
- What or who influences them?
- How do they make decisions?
- What are their interests?
Use your answers to these questions to define your target market and fill in slot A in the formula above.
The more specific you can get in defining your business’s target market, the stronger your positioning statement will be.
For example, the target market for a handmade soap business might be middle-class women ages 35–50.
As another example, the target market for an IT company might be owners of small, B2B businesses within 30 miles of Boston.
3. Clarify the unique value you are providing to your customers
In creating your brand positioning statement, think about the reasons you believe in your business.
What sets your business apart from your competition? What makes your brand unique? What are you offering to your customers that nobody else is?
As an example, you might be offering high-quality work at a competitive price.
Or maybe you offer a pricing model that specifically meets the needs of small business owners.
Use your answer to this question to fill in slot B in the formula.
4. Tell your audience why they should trust you
How do you back up your value proposition? Start with three top reasons why your audience should trust your claims.
This could include data, or you could highlight your process.
For example, if you run a sustainable coffee business you might say that you:
- Work with small-scale, certified organic and free trade coffee farmers to grow quality beans
- Give a portion of profits to local environmental advocacy organizations in the region where your coffee is grown
- Compost leftover materials from the roasting and brewing process and use recycled paper cups in your cafes.
Use these three reasons to fill in slots C1, C2, and C3.
5. Proofread and edit your positioning statement
Now that you have put together all the parts of your positioning statement, it’s time to proofread what you have and make sure it is accurately communicating what you do and how you plan on doing it.
While your positioning statement is an internal resource rather than an elevator pitch, you might want to play with the language and make some edits to make sure it is clear, concise, and effective.
You should also pause here to ask yourself a few questions:
- Are we really living up to these claims? Is someone else doing these things better? What can we do to better position ourselves?
- Does this leave room for growth?
- Does this positioning statement align with our brand messaging or vision for the brand?
Take your answers to these questions as you finalize your positioning statement.
This is also a great opportunity to connect with a mentor who can review and provide feedback on your positioning statement.
Share what you have written with a potential mentor to give them an idea of what your business is all about.