According to the basic principles of marketing, products and services are created to solve customer “problems” (i.e., to satisfy needs and wants) and provide benefits. Thus, for effective positioning, products must promise the benefit the customer will receive, create the expectation, and it offer a solution to the customer’s problem. If at all possible, the solution should be different from and better than the competition’s solution set, especially if the competitors are already offering a similar solution.
Positioning should be a single-minded concept, an umbrella from which everything in the organization flows. Properly targeted, single-minded positioning affects everything a destination does or stands for, not only advertising, but also all of its promotions. EffectivePositioning also affects policies and procedures, employee attitudes, customer relations, complaint handling, and the myriad of other details that combine to make the tourism experience. Tourism services compete on more than just image, differentiation, and benefits offered. There must be a consistency among the various offerings and it is the positioning statement that guides this consistency.There are two tests of effective positioning. First, the position must be believable in the tourist’s mind. Second, the destination must deliver that promise on a consistent basis.
Challenges to effective positioning.
Even when the principles of positioning are understood, there are a variety of impediments to their successful implementation. At times, effective positioning is undermined by the poor selection of benefits to feature in advertising. In other instances, advertising is compromised by the failure to sustain a brand’s position.
Choosing Benefits and Goals.
When entering a category where are established brands, the challenge is to find a viable basis for differentiation. A frequent occurrence is that the superiority claim selected is not one that is important to consumers. Most consumers have fast relief and not long lasting relief as a priority. Indeed, long lasting may imply slow acting-just the opposite of what is desired.
One approach to addressing the concern that any single benefit may be unimportant to some segment of consumers is to claim multiple benefits. In so doing, the hope is that brand will offer something for everyone. One benefit claim might undermine another; for example, consumers are skeptical of products that claim high quality and low price. Further, claiming a variety of benefits can confound consumers’ efforts to define what the product is.
Sustaining a Position in a Dynamic Marketplace
Once a position is developed, most of the activity is directed toward sustaining it in a contemporary way. For example, Coca-Cola has been positioned as the soft drink that provides superior taste for many years. While this position has not changed, advertising has continually sought to instantiate superior taste in a modern way.
Sustaining a benefit over time often serves as a barrier to competitive entry. We document this premise by examining the competition between Eveready and Duracell in the alkaline battery category.
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