The word "positioning" took on a new meaning for business in 1972. The concept was first popularized by Al Ries and Jack Trout in their bestseller book Positioning - a battle for your mind. According to them, positioning is a game people play in todays me-too market place. The key to positioning, Trout says, is owning one word in your customer's mind.

Product positioning principles

According to Daniel Levis there are four different methods of product positioning

  • Unique Selling Proposition
  • Risk Reversal
  • Inordinate Value
  • Clear, Complete, & Concise Customer Education

Product positioning process

Generally, the product positioning process involves:

1)       Defining the market in which the product or brand will compete

2)       Identifying the attributes that define the product 'space'

3)       Collecting information from a sample of customers about their perceptions of each product on the relevant attributes

4)       Determine each product's share of mind

5)       Determine each product's current location in the product space

6)       Determine the target market's preferred combination of attributes

7)       Examine the fit between:

a.       The position of your product

b.       The position of the ideal vector

8)       Position

Positioning concepts

More generally, there are three types of positioning concepts:

1)       Functional positions

a)       Solve problems

b)       Provide benefits to customers

c)       Get favorable perception by investors and lenders

2)       Symbolic positions

a)       Self-image enhancement

b)       Ego identification

c)       Belongingness and social meaningfulness

d)       Affective fulfillment

3)       Experiential positions

a)       Provide sensory stimulation

b)       Provide cognitive stimulation

Measuring the positioning

Perceptual mapping is a graphics technique used by marketers that attempts to visually display the perceptions of customers or potential customers. Typically the position of a product, product line, brand, or company is displayed relative to their competition. Besides perceptual mapping there are various survey techniques, and statistical techniques like multi dimensional scaling, factor analysis, conjoint analysis, and log-it analysis.


Positioning Strategies 

There are seven positioning strategies that can be pursued: 

Product Attributes: What are the specific products attributes? 

Benefits: What are the benefits to the customers? 

Usage Occasions: When / how can the product be used? 

Users: Identify a class of users. 

Against a Competitor: Positioned directly against a competitor. 

Away from a Competitor: Positioned away from competitor. 

Product Classes: Compared to different classes of products. 

Positioning Differences 

The differences that are promoted for a product must be: 

Important: The difference delivers a highly valued benefit to the target buyers 

Distinctive: Competitors do not offer the difference, or the company can offer it in a more distinctive way 

Superior: The difference is superior to other ways that the customer might obtain the same benefit 

Communicable: The difference can be explained and communicated to the target buyers 

Preemptive: Competitors cannot easily copy the difference 

Affordable: Buyers can afford to pay the difference 

Profitable: Company can introduce the difference profitably 


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