In The Marketing Plan Handbook, author Robert W. Bly explains how you can develop big-picture marketing plans for pennies on the dollar with his 12-step marketing plan. In this edited excerpt, Bly offer an easy formula for crafting a positioning statement that will help you reach your prospects with the right marketing messages.
Once you have a clear, powerful vision of where you intend to take your business and analyzed your client base and prospects to understand why and how they buy your products and services and how this benefits them, it’s time for you to position your business to gain a “window into the minds” of prospects.
Your first step is to create a positioning statement. This statement tells your clients and prospects how you want to be perceived in the marketplace. It tells them the benefits of doing business with you and why the value you’ll provide them is unique.
Before you begin crafting your statement, you must identify the following four key elements of your business:
1. Core value proposition. A core value proposition is the highest-level selling point -- the ultimate advantage -- that a product or company offers. In business, it usually includes an implied or explicit reference to a return on investment (ROI).
2. Unique selling proposition (USP). A USP is a specific, strongly communicated benefit to the customer that the competition ether cannot, or does not, offer. A USP is a unique advantage that strongly differentiates you from your competition.
3. Positioning. Positioning determines what kind of customer your product will appeal to vs. what segment of market your competitors are targeting. It also compares your product to the competition in terms of quality, features, design, price, and service.
4. Benefits. A benefit is what the product does for the customer (for instance, if it saves time or money, if it helps them lose weight or makes money or improve their health, etc.)
You’ll use your positioning statement as the basis for all the messages you send your prospects about your business. It will be reflected in your website content, in every press release, in the speeches you give, in the articles and blog posts you write, and even in your PowerPoint presentations. It’s how you’ll “brand” your business. It’s what you’ll be known for. However, just creating a positioning statement means little if you don’t integrate the unique value it identifies into every aspect of your business.
Here’s how to easily develop your positioning statement:
- Remind yourself of what’s important to your prospects. What value or criteria do they use most to choose their vendor?
- Understand the differences between your business and your top competitors.
- Choose the one thing that makes you distinctive from your competitors that your prospects will value most.
For instance, FedEx’s positioning statement was, for many years, “FedEx: When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” As a business owner whose ability to win contracts has from time to time depended on my bid absolutely, positively getting there overnight, I liked this positioning statement.
A general format for writing a positioning statement includes the following:
[Your service type] for [Your ideal client type] that need/want to [the problem you solve and why your solution is different]
Remember, your positioning statement should focus on what you do, whom you do it for, and the unique benefit for your clients. Focus on just one promise.
Now go write your positioning statement.