Thursday, December 04, 2008

Clarifying Your Positioning Statement

A friend of mine sent me some notes today outlining a new positioning statement he's seeking for his company. I thought he did a pretty good job, but I wanted him to take it further. Here are the comments I sent back to him, in case they can help you express your own competitive message.

1. With positioning statements, it often helps to do a comparison early on. eg, Pepsi is like Coke, except it tastes better. or, is the Wal-Mart of online retailing.

So what comparison can we use to better communicate how your company helps its clients? e.g., maybe YourFirm does for independent contractors what Alfred the Butler does for Batman: it looks after all their administration and systems needs so they have more time to do what they do best. And it pays for itself in 12 months!

2. Use numbers where possible. How much money does your product or service save me (or, as above, how long does is the payback?)? How long does your process take to learn (for my staff or for our customers)?

3. Sometimes clients hit the nail on the head for you when they give you feedback. The wording they use can be very powerful, since their perspective (as users) is so different from yours - but may match the words used by your prospects. Do you have any comments, testimonials or fan letters that you could include in this exercise as a way of helping you find the most effective ways to express customers' needs and benefits?

4. I like to boil down the positioning statement to its essentials. Here it is:

We do __________ for _____________ so that they can __________.

In your case, that might become: "We provide easy-to-use web tools that enable independent contractors and other sole proprietors to eliminate time-wasting administration and focus more on servicing their customers and achieving their goals."

Please let me know if you find any of this helpful.

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