Determining Positioning Strategy.
All of us know that it is a complex and difficult task to identify and select a positioning strategy. Lets us discuss the steps involved in positioning strategy, there are basically six-step that are adopted.
In each of the steps, marketing research techniques can be employed to get the necessary information. These steps are discussed as follows:
(1) Identifying the Competitors - A first step is to identify the competition. This step is not as simple as it seems to be. For example, ‘Pepsi ‘ might define its competitors as follows:
(1) Other cola drinks
(2) Non-diet soft drinks
(3) All soft drinks
(4) Non-alcoholic beverages,
(5) All beverages except water
One thing, which should be clear to you, is that there is basically two types of competitors
-Primary competitors i.e., competitors belonging to the same product class
-Secondary competitors, those belonging to other product category.
In the above example other cola drinks are primary competitors and other drinks and beverages are secondary competitors.
(2) Determining how the Competitors are Perceived and Evaluated - The second step is related to determining the product positioning which is basically done so as to see, when the competitors products are purchased by the customers. It is to see comparative view. An appropriate set of product attributes should be chosen. The term ‘attributes’ includes not only product characteristics and consumer benefits but also product associations such as product use or product users. In any product category, there are usually a host of attribute possibilities.
(3) Determining the competitor’s positions – Our next focus should be to determine how different brands (including our own brand) are positioned with respect to the relevant attributes selected under the previous step. At this point we should be clear about what is the image that the customer has about the various product brands? You have to see how are they positioned in respect to each other? Which competitors are perceived as similar and which as different? This judgment can be made subjectively. However a research can be taken up for getting the answer of these questions.
(4) Analysing the Customer – Now you need to analysis the customers habits and behaviour in a particular market segment. The following questions need attention while understanding the customer and the market – (i) how is market segmented? (ii) What role does the product class pay in the customers life style? What really motivates the customers? And what habits and behavior patterns are relevant?
The segmentation question is, of course, critical. There are various approaches to segmentation but out of all benefit segmentation is relevant here, which focuses upon the benefits or attributes that a segment believes to be important. In order to specify that benefit segments, it is useful to highlight the role of ‘ideal object’ as a tool.
(5) Making the positioning Decision - The above four steps provide you a useful backgrounds and are necessary to be conducted before taking any decision about positioning. The managers can carry these steps or exercises. After these four exercises, the following guidelines can be offered to reach a positioning decision: -
(i) An economic analysis should guide the decision.
(ii) Positioning usually implies a segmentation commitment.
(iii) If the advertising is working, the advertiser should stick to it. (iv) Do not try to be something, your are not. (v) In making a decision on position strategy, symbols or set of symbols must be considered.
(6) Monitoring the position - An image objective, like an advertising objective should be measurable. It is necessary to monitor the position overtime, for that you have variety of techniques that can be employed it can be on the basis of some test and interviews which will help to monitor any kind of change in the image.
Thus, the first four steps in the process provide a useful background. The fifth one only is taken to make the position decision. The final step is to evaluate and measure and follow up.
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