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"Positioning: The Ultimate Marketing Technique"
If you’ve ever taken one of those “Marketing 101” classes, you may already know the “5 P’s” of marketing:
- Placement (distribution)
- Positioning (how you’re special or unique)
In this newsletter, we’ll look at what is arguably the most critical “P” – Positioning.
Positioning is the process of differentiating your company from the others in your general category. Why bother with this exercise? It’s simple: Unless you do so, your potential clients won’t have a clue why they should buy from YOU instead of others.
Most businesses eventually understand how to develop a great product (or service), how to set proper pricing structures, and even learn the best ways to promote and place (or distribute) what they offer. But some get confused into thinking that in order to generate more sales, they have to keep changing that product – big mistake!
For example, I have several clients who initially told me that their service or product wasn’t good enough, or they believed they had to get more and more education or certifications to properly promote their companies. Women, especially, are often inclined to believe they need more education – instead of learning how to efficiently communicate their value.
What I have found is that mostly these well-intentioned (but ultimately misguided) souls simply need clarification to define their positioning effectively. In other words, their service and/or education are absolutely up to par. What they lack is sufficient market research to establish their value, their positioning. The side affect: it also gives you huge self-confidence knowing what your clients really need and value from your company.
The worst symptom: lack of positioning prevents these business owners from increasing their earnings. (Coincidentally, this challenge is precisely what our “Knowledge Is Bliss” positioning package addresses. Your clients will tell us what they won’t tell you!) I can’t say it strongly enough: The companies that know how to position themselves thrive, while the others just survive.
So, How Do You Put This Into Effect?
Here’s an example: One of my former design firm clients had a goal to increase business in order to grow their staff. While the agency offered outstanding catalog, logo, and packaging design services, they hadn’t taken the time to position themselves – a huge blunder in the glutted field of Bay Area design. As a result, busy clients had no reason to hire this firm (unless they offered the lowest-price services). Sound like a winning strategy? Hardly!
At the agency’s request, we did some primary market research using our Knowledge Is Bliss package: We interviewed their clients to find out why people hired them, and what was unique or valuable about the company.
Surprisingly, we found that it really wasn’t their brilliant design-work that their customers loved. Instead, the firm’s clients cherished the “non-diva-like” behavior of the designers. The creative team didn’t argue with clients, they never insisted on getting their own way, and they didn’t have a lackadaisical attitude on deadlines (like so many of the top design firms in the area).
Armed with that knowledge, we created both positioning and a tagline: “Design Without Attitude.” In no time, customers who were tired of other designers’ misbehavior came flocking to this agency’s front door. Thanks to well-crafted positioning, it was immediately apparent why the firm was so special. As a result, they flourished and added staff to meet their goals much faster than expected.
Why Is Positioning So Hard to Do for Ourselves?
To know how to promote yourself, you first have to know what your clients really value (especially about you and your company). But typically, your clients won’t tell you what they will tell a third party.
We’ve found a number of reasons. Your clients may be afraid that if they rave about you, you’ll raise your prices. Or, if they offer suggestions for improvements, they fear you’ll overestimate on their next job – or, even be offended by their comments. Worst of all, people are often afraid that if they give you constructive criticism to improve your business, you won’t like them. As a result, they’ll usually only tell you what you want to hear instead of what is really useful in understanding your value, so you can properly position your business. All of these are valid concerns, and need to be handled professionally.
Here’s what one of our clients had to say after we helped her with her positioning:
“I hired Allison to interview my executive coaching and consulting clients in order to clarify the value they received from my services, and to consider ways my work could be enhanced. I didn’t want to ask certain questions that might be perceived as self-serving, yet I wanted those questions asked. I believed that my clients might not be as candid with me about my services as they would be with a third person. Additionally, I didn’t want to burden my busy clients by asking for a written testimonial.
It wasn’t easy to find someone I trusted enough for this delicate task. But Allison’s experience and comfortable manner put me at ease. She is a skilled interviewer, and it was extremely valuable to have a written transcript of the interviews. It was also great to have a closing session with Allison to review the interviews. She made several very important suggestions that included clear strategies for implementation. This was a totally unexpected benefit from our work. I’m sure her marketing and business development suggestions will nurture the growth of my business and support better service to my clients. ”
– Barbara Bouchet, Contact-Zone, Executive & Leadership Coaching
WHAT IS OUR OWN POSITIONING?
The truth is that it took us years to feel we had enough diversity of clientele to develop the right positioning for Allison Bliss Consulting. We offer our own as an example of what a company can learn. We found that our clients believe the biggest value setting us apart from other marketing and communications companies (or ad agencies) is four-fold:
- WE OFFER FULL-SERVICE MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS WITH AWARD-WINNING DESIGN, WRITING, RESEARCH, AND WEBSITE TEAMS, WHICH MOST COMPANIES LACK THE TIME TO SUPERVISE.
- WE’RE AFFORDABLE, EFFICIENT, AND EFFECTIVE, SO CLIENTS GET THEIR MONEY’S WORTH.
- WE DELIVER REAL VALUE, CLARITY, & RESULTS
- WE HAVE THE EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE: KNOWLEDGE IS BLISS! WE GET UP TO SPEED QUICKLY, SO WE CAN DELIVER RESULTS – FAST.
How Do We Know This?
Because we get these kinds of comments regularly:
“I’ve noticed that I’m several thousand dollars ahead of my earnings last year, when I first started working with you. It is clear to me that client testimonials carry much more weight than a description of services and personal attributes one has written for oneself. Anyone can say they are wonderful, professional, the best, but when a client says it, this becomes a valued statement and carries much more credibility.”
– Kathleen Kline & Associates
“Hiring Allison Bliss Consulting will be the best investment you’ve ever done for your business, and the best gift you’ve ever given yourself. The company is worth its weight in gold. Their ability to laser in on what action plans are going to bring me the most business in the shortest amount of time is nothing less than brilliant. All the ideas are not only attainable, but they’re fun to do and feed into the heart and soul of who I am and how I like to work. ”
– Linda Salazar, Awaken the Genie Within (Life Coaching)
Bottom Line: Increase Your Earnings with Positioning
Think how many thousands of dollars, and scores of potentially productive hours you are losing by not having positioning that works for your business. When you’re ready to make your promotion easy, and define your positioning, take a look at our “Business Evaluation: Knowledge is Bliss” package.
If you play up the ways in which you are unique, special, or different from your competition, you make it easier for your customers/clients to buy from you. When it’s easier to buy, you make more sales, and more money. Not exactly rocket science, right?
So take a moment to make the call that will quickly bring the difference. Call Allison Bliss Consulting (510-864-8500) today!
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We hope these free marketing tips and strategies are useful to you.