Posts Tagged ‘product positioning’

Don’t Eff-up Your Content Strategy: #2 Know Your Product

Friday, October 10th, 2014

FIRST AND FOREMOST:

While your company position trumps your product position it’s not by much.

THAT SAID:

You have to know your product.

There are certainly aspirational aspects to product positioning. But not fantasy. Product positioning is not what you wish you did or made. It may not even be what you actually do or make.

It’s about HOW it fulfills your customers’ needs.

Does it save time? Help them make money? Fill a technical requirement? Make them feel warm and fuzzy? Or slick and classy?

Does it update old products, services or systems? How does it compare to competitive products or services?

AND ONLY YOUR CUSTOMERS CAN TELL YOU THAT:

I’ve been in countless meetings with insiders making broad assertions about the nature of their product. OH:

“The engineers say it’s …”

“We are trying to make it …”

“It’s supposed to …”

“We’d like it to …”

WHAT’S MISSING FROM THAT CONVERSATION:

Reality.

And that’s not always easy. You don’t always choose your customers, or how you’re perceived in the market. But if you have customers, it’s best to support their perceptions—or at least understand them—rather than ignore them.

Unless of course they perceive that your product sucks. But that’s another conversation.

All that requires research. You have to seek out your customers find out what they think and how they feel. How do they use it? What do their friends think?

You have to ask.

MORE IMPORTANTLY YOU HAVE TO LISTEN:

We—well I, really—got kicked off an account for presenting research-based market and customer data to a VP who was convinced she knew better and didn’t want to hear anything to the contrary.

“That’s not who we are,” she cried in response. “We’re …”

Life lesson: When a VP asserts even gross misunderstanding it’s kind of a bad move to point it out in front of all her lieutenants.

OF COURSE, FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE:

If it ain’t the best, maybe it’s the least expensive. If not the most long-lasting, maybe it’s the most satisfying. If not the most advanced, maybe it’s easiest to use.

That’s what your customers are already buying. By recognizing and leveraging that knowledge, you can attract new customers.

And if you learn there are negative perceptions you can address them by focusing on the positive.

FOR EXAMPLE:

TiVo generated a lot of awareness, based on positioning their product to two important audiences.

Consumers: This series of post cards focused on content, based on research that shouted, “customers just want to see their favorite sports and shows!” Both prospects and existing customers responded so well to this, which spiked purchase and use.

Networks: This DM package to network executives was based on our discovery (not a huge leap) that the networks are terrified of losing viewers. We suggested the best way to engage audiences is through TiVo. It featured a bunch of fun little stickers that allowed recipients to mix-n-match facial features. That was the “last chance to control their audience.” Pretty cool.

Both packages were art directed and designed by the ever-brilliant Russell Miyaki.

AND HERE’S THE THING:

If you don’t choose and manage how your products are positioned, the market—worse, your competition—will do it for you.

NEXT WEEK:

#3: Know what you’re trying to accomplish.