From the Desk of Joe Prospect
The Battle for Your Prospect’s Mind
A couple of brilliant advertising guys named Al Ries and Jack Trout wrote a book in 1981 called Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind. They explained that all products and services end up occupying a position in our minds. We put a label on everything. Smart companies position themselves exactly how they want to be thought of by their prospects.
Whatever your business is, if you do not create a unique position in my mind, I will think of you as an accountant, or insurance broker, or printer or whatever profession you are part of. I will see you as being the same as everyone else in your group. Whatever associations I have already formed about your group, I will attach automatically to you. If you are an accountant and I think of accountants as expensive, confusing or interchangeable, that is who you will be to me. Unless you create a unique position for your company in my mind. If you are a janitorial company and I think that all janitorial companies do a great job in the beginning then start to get sloppy, that is what I will think of you. Unless you do something in your marketing to establish yourself as being different from your competitors.
You have to create the position you want for your company or your prospects will do it for you and you may not like where they choose to slot you. You don’t want to be stuck with the impressions formed on your prospects by the rest of your herd I have fixed ideas about everything. If you were to ask me about any type of business, I will tell you what I think of them. You must be aware of the impressions, good and bad, already made on me by your competitors –the other members of your herd. And then you have to rise above them and set your company apart from your crowd.
Choosing your position is tricky because you have to decide which segment of your prospects you are creating the position for and how you are going to establish your position in your marketing.
Your position must be short and simple. If it is confusing or complicated I will not work to get it, I will just forget it.
Another critical thing about a position is that you have to stick to the same position or you will lose all the marketing points you have scored with your original position. If you vary your positioning in your marketing messages, you will leave me thinking “Who are these guys anyway?” Stray from your position and perish.
In order to gain the position you want in the minds of your prospects, you will need to plant that message firmly in all of your marketing communication. Then repeat it, over and over and over again. Never move away from your core position. You can vary the content of your marketing messages but your main positioning must remain absolutely consistent.
Think very carefully about what you want your position to be and how you are going to express it in your marketing.
Don’t let me just lump you in with the rest of your herd!
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