Product positioning matters! It’s the way your product is perceived by your target audience and your competitors. Strong competition, especially due to the rise of e-commerce and the ease of online shopping, means that it’s critical that marketers position their products effectively to appeal to buyers that have a wealth of choice.
Product positioning is the development of marketing activities and the promotional messaging used in marketing campaigns. If marketers don’t do this well, even the strongest product can fail. Positioning success comes from being unique and by capturing your target audience’s attention by presenting your products in the most honest way possible.
Keep in mind that your competitors are also working on their own product positioning, so it’s worth the effort to properly focus on how to positively promote your product. The first step in product positioning is to know your target audience.
Identifying Your Ideal Customer Demographic
Most business owners may think they have a general idea of their target audience, or their main ideal customer profile… but why don’t we ever get really specific about exactly who our ideal customer is? In other words, we simply have no idea what our ideal customer avatar looks like, what their problems are, where to find them or how to help them.
Simple… people freak out when we talk about drilling down into who their customer really is, either because they don’t want to leave anyone behind, or because they might not actually know who their customers are at a deeper level.
I’m sure this is something you can relate to if you’re very genuine about your business and you truly want to help as many people as you can.
What you may not realise is that from a business and marketing point of view… you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you don’t know your customer inside and out, and how to position your product to successfully attract these customers.
Why Precise Targeting Matters More Than Ever
In a world where we have unlimited choices that are now so easily accessible, if you come across something that isn’t directly talking to or for you, you shut the door on it and move on.
For example, let’s say you’re a young 25-year-old female looking for an evening dress on an online clothing store. You find a dress you like, click on the image and you see a young female, who looks similar to you, modelling the dress and you think ‘ok I really like the dress’. But then you click to the next photo and you see a young 13 year old modelling the exact same dress in her sneakers and then you click the next photo and you see an elderly women at least 50 years older than you showing off the same dress around the retirement village.
What do you do? You close the window and move on because it’s not for you.
What the clothing store is trying to do is appeal to everyone but consequently they turn everyone off because of mixed messaging.
The point of this is, you have to be able to say, ‘who are you targeting’ and equally as important ‘who are you not targeting’.
Whilst it may seem like you’re shutting the door on people, it’s important to understand that you’re not trying to appeal to everyone…you’re trying to appeal to the right people who are going to come on board with you. Even though many companies try, there is no such thing as marketing that appeals to everyone.
When you position your product to appeal to the right people, when you can get deeply into their minds and understand what it is that they’re looking for, this allows you to tailor your products, services, brand and marketing specifically for them.
So, put yourself in the mind of your client. What are their hopes, desires, wants, dreams?
Know Your Target Market
Once you know them then you can position yourself and speak directly to them.
What can you say on your website that makes people say ‘that’s me!’
One of the best ways you can do this is to be ultra specific and show real life proof of how you can solve your customers’ specific problem.
For example, if you run a gym with lots of different training and nutrition based programs that help you lose weight, how can you market your product to become ultra specific and make your ideal client go…that’s me!
Perhaps you show the skinny guy transforming into the ultra-buff guy who now looks like the rock. Or the new mum who got back to her pre-baby figure. Or the overweight guy who transforms into the super lean and toned guy.
You see every possible specification within your niche that makes people go that’s me and this can help me!
Your customer decides to find out more and they go ‘that’s me’ and, they buy.
You described my problem, you described my solution and best of all you showed me how you can help me by showing me examples of people who had the exact same problem, went through your process and came out the other end.
If you can position your product to be indispensable to your customer and reach directly into what they want, you’ll likely find that not only will your customers become happier, your business will dramatically grow because you are no longer being compared on subjective things like price but purely on your ability to service their SPECIFIC wants. You’re actually solving their problems by getting specific.
So now that we understand why it’s important to get specific, exactly how do we get specific about who our customer is?
Know the Psychology of Your Customer
In other words, identify your ‘ideal’ customer avatar.
If you can’t identify who it is that you’re targeting and who it is that you’re not targeting, then it’s nearly impossible to get specific and your marketing becomes generic and ineffective. After all, how do you know who it is that you’re talking to and how to position your product?
If you’re in this boat, you lack a deep understanding of ‘target audience’ and everything you do will be based on a guessing game approach. You may make sales, but it will become so difficult for you to reach your ultimate potential and you’ll be at the whim of the market you’re competing in.
Most target market talk is often way too generic like “small business owners” or “stay-at-home mums”. Generic avatars like this fail to drill down to the specific person who is going to buy your product or service as it rarely identifies important factors like fears, desires and the overall psychology of your customer which affects their buying behaviour.
If you’re trying to attract everybody, then your business will end up attracting no one!
This is an opportunity to position your product to be unique. Set yourself apart from your competition! If you have a product or service you truly believe in – one that really helps others – then it’s your responsibility to do everything you can to market and sell it in the most effective and helpful way possible.
Remember, you’re not trying to appeal to everyone, you’re trying to appeal to your ‘right’ customer.
In doing so, you can:
- Direct your focus on things that are going to drive results.
- Increase your return on advertising spend.
- Help you hone and scale your marketing budget.
- Know exactly which marketing channels to use because you’ll know where your customer hangs out.
- Produce the right type of content that helps your customers.
- Describe your product or service so it appeals to their desires or problems.
- Deliver a more personal experience for your customers.
- Infiltrate this through your entire business so that every touch point is tailored to your customer.
- Position your product as the best option in the market.
Define Your Customers With These Questions
I’ve put together a few questions below to help you describe and get into the head of your ideal target customer: the people that you want most and who will likely buy from you again and again.
To make this exercise most effective for you and your business, be as specific as you possibly can and answer each question as if it were a real person that you’ve known for years.
- What’s your ideal customer’s name?
- Relationship status?
- Lives where?
- School attended?
- Job and title?
- Years in their job?
- Self-employed or working for another business?
- If self-employed, what do they do?
- How many employees work for them?
- Where is their business?
- How long have they been self-employed?
- Household income?
- Physical features (hair colour, eyes, weight etc.)
- How many years in current position?
- Are they on a salary? If so, how much?
- How many jobs have they held?
- Do they have political views?
- Religious views?
- What are their core values?
- Personal interests?
- Think about a typical day in the life of your ideal customer prospect.
- Favourite brands?
- Favourite places to shop?
- Do they shop online or prefer to shop in-store?
- Favourite websites?
- Where do they search for news, latest trends, things to do etc?
- Do they use social media, and how many hours per day?
- Twitter?(yes/no) ______ Facebook? ______ LinkedIn? ______ Other? _____________
- Do they have personal goals?
- Business goals?
- Family goals?
- Do they like to travel? If so, where?
- List at least 3 problems your ideal customer is having that makes them an ideal customer for your business.
- What is the worst thing that could possibly happen to your ideal customer if their problem isn’t eventually solved?
- How would this make your customer feel?
- What could happen to their career or personal lifestyle?
- Could there be any consequences? (financial, personal, professional)?
- What is your customer fearful of?
- What is the best thing that could possibly happen to your customer if their problem is solved?
- What would their “perfect solution” look like?
- What is it that they really want, more than anything else?
- What would they be willing to pay almost anything for?
- How can your product or service match up to your customer’s real needs and desires?
- How can your business help solve your customer’s problems?
- What is it that you are trying to provide your customers?
- What similar products do they use?
- Do they currently use a competitors product?
Now step into his or her shoes, see through their eyes, feel their emotions and write a story about your ideal customer avatar.
Include details about their life and professional background. Explain what impact a problem is having. How is this problem making your customer feel? What types of frustrations does your customer keep having? What does your customer need more than anything? How can your business best provide the product or service that’s needed most? How do their core values match up with the companies core values? Make this story as long as you want it to be – the more detailed and specific you can be the more you’ll understand your customer and the more they’ll feel understood by you, and therefore trust you.
Of course, if you’re struggling to jot down ideas and answers to these types of questions, it helps to carry out this exercise as a consumer first.
- Have you purchased something recently because of how that company spoke to you or a specific thing that resonated with you and you said ‘yes that can help me!’?
- Was there no hesitation to buy their product or service because you felt like you trusted that business and you felt like they truly knew exactly what you wanted or what you needed help with?
- Think about what made you trust that company – was it reviews, branding, personality, or how it aligned with your values/lifestyle/desires.
Remember to keep checking in on your customers – have their desires or needs changed?
Now its Time to Think About Product Positioning
Now that you are clear about who you are marketing to, think about how you are currently positioning your product, business and brand i.e. how are you selling your products or services, and what’s a more targeted strategy that can help you position your business to set yourself apart from the competition?
Successful product positioning should make your target customer feel like they chose your product over your competitors.
- Establish brand credibility by being as honest as possible.
- Show evidence of your brand credibility and expertise using case studies, statistics, awards, reviews- think about your own behaviour, have you ever bought a large purchase without reading reviews / testimonials etc?
- Present value in your product, how does your product improve the life of the customer?
- Present the uniqueness of your product, what makes your brand stand out from your competitors? If the actual product isn’t different, think about how else you can show that you stand out. Do you have ethical standpoints that differ? Different core values as a company? You need to position your brand as the “best” choice.
- Customise and segment your target market if different elements of your brand appeals to different needs.
- Craft customised and personal messages to appeal to each segment. Think of yourself as the customer again- have you made a purchase because of how you connected with the company and the way they spoke to you?
The main thing to remember is that you shouldn’t expect to sell a product that doesn’t doesn’t deliver on claims- well, not for long anyway! Think about the way you’re selling your product and think of your competitor advantage to ensure your product positioning is on point!
Need Help Defining Your Target Audience & Positioning Your Product?
I hope you got some insightful leanings about your business from these exercises! If you’re wanting further assistance with defining your target audience at an in-depth level, creating a specific product positioning strategy and a tailored digital marketing strategy to support your positioning, contact Living Online for a free consultation today and see how we can help you position your product to your ideal customer.