What is Market Positioning and Why Does It Matter?

“Positioning”, simply put, defines your company’s relationship to the needs and problems of the market. It’s not a mission statement, which is a projection of your company’s objectives. It’s not a niche, in which you focus your efforts on a particular market or market characteristic. It’s not a brand, which is an implied promise of delivery of a specific kind of service.

A position asks, “What one thing, more than any other, is of the greatest concern to our market?”  The position is predicated on the answer to the question, “What fact or value can we communicate to the market that would address that concern?”  Essentially, it defines client expectations. It stems from the best possible understanding of the needs, aspirations, and expectations of the clients and prospective clients. It must be based on reality, and be consistent with your own company’s business strategy.

Its emphasis is on how your market will perceive you, not on how you perceive yourself. This is why, in formulating a position, you can't guess, nor can you cast in terms of how you want to be perceived. In the most successful positions, there is always a measure of research, without which you are likely to miss the market's needs, and thereby waste a good opportunity to reach out to that market.

A strategy based on positioning not only focuses your marketing program, but, if it’s well thought out and crafted, it focuses the thrust of your strategy. Perhaps best of all, it defines your business better than any claims you may make.


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