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Positioning (marketing)

In marketing, positioning is the technique in which marketers try to create an image or identity for a product, brand, or company. It is the 'place' a product occupies in a given market as perceived by the target market. Positioning is something that is done in the minds of the target market. A product's position is how potential buyers see the product. Positioning is expressed relative to the position of competitors.

Re-positioning involves changing the identity of a product, relative to the identity of competing products, in the collective minds of the target market.

The ability to spot a positioning opportunity is a sure test of a persons' marketing ability. Successful positioning strategies are usually rooted in a product's sustainable competitive advantage. The most common basis' for constructing a product positioning strategy are:

  • positioning on specific product features
  • positioning on specific benefits, needs, or solutions
  • positioning on specific use categories
  • positioning on specific usage occations
  • positioning against another product
  • positioning through product class dissociation
More generally, there are three types of positioning concepts:
  • 1 functional positions
    • solve problems
    • provide benefits to customers
  • 2 symbolic positions
    • self-image enhancement
    • ego identification
    • belongingness and social meaningfullness
    • affective fulfillment
  • 3 experiential positions
    • provide sensory stimulation
    • provide cognitive stimulation
Positioning is facilitated by a graphical technique called perceptual mapping[?], various survey techniques[?], and statistical techniques like multi dimensional scaling[?], factor analysis, conjoint analysis, and logit analysis[?].
Generally, the product positioning process involves:
  • 1 identifying competing products
  • 2 identifying the attributes (also called dimensions) that define the product 'space'
  • 3 collecting information from a sample of customers about their perceptions of each product on the relevent attributes
  • 4 determine each products' share of mind
  • 5 determine each products' current location in the product space
  • 6 determine the target market's preferred combination of attributes (referred to as an ideal vector)
  • 7 examine the fit between:
    • the positions of competing products
    • the position of your product
    • the position of the ideal vector
  • 8 select optimum position

The term was coined in 1981 by Al Ries and Jack Trout in their classic marketing monograph Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

see also marketing, marketing management, target market, product management, market segment, product differentiation, marketing plan, sustainable competitive advantage

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