What is a positioning statement?

Crafting a Useful Positioning Statement

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A strong positioning statement is an important ingredient for success. In this post we share some tips for developing a well thought out positioning statement.

What is a Positioning Statement?

A well-crafted positioning statement brings together your overall value proposition with your positioning for a product. This is accomplished in a few concise statements. These are high-level statements. As you write them, don’t get down in the weeds about what you are planning.

You can think of it as kind of an elevator pitch you would be able to use to give a clear idea of your goals in just a snapshot. It’s quick, but it’s also comprehensive.

A Good Positioning Statement Framework

We can thank Geoffrey Moore and his book Crossing the Chasm for this useful template:

     Statement                                                              Description

FOR <target market>                      A concise definition of the market segment

WHO HAVE <this problem>     The problem statement indicating the underserved need or market gap

OUR PRODUCT IS <solution category>          A generic name to help categorize the solution to the market

THAT PROVIDES <key benefits>            Key benefit(s) and the value provided

UNLIKE <reference competition>         Defines the primary alternative market solution(s)

OUR SOLUTION <key advantages>       Identifies how this product differentiates from the competition in a way that creates value                                                                             

Four Essentials for a Useful Positioning Statement

You want your positioning statement to be as useful as possible, so make sure it contains these four elements:

  • Make sure it identifies the overall purpose of the product. What is the added value to be gained and what market gap does it fill? How is it better than current solutions?
  • Be sure it contains enough information that those unfamiliar with the product can “get it” in a brief conversation.
  • Use analogies to other existing solutions to further understanding and create an image for your reader.
  • Keep your focus on benefits and value. Don’t dwell on features and other specifics.

Other Forms for Your Positioning Statement

Two common forms that can help galvanize understanding are the Simile and the User-Story Format.

The Simile approach is probably the easiest way to telegraph your positioning statement. In essence, you compare your solution to another category of solution. For example, the Amazon Kindle does for reading what our <product> does for <category>.

If your team is comfortable with Agile, it will likely respond well to the User-Story format. Your team members can write up a positioning statement like any user story, only this one will focus on the product level. You state the problem the persona needs to solve and how your solution meets that need.

No matter what format your positioning statement takes, make sure it is appealing to customers and helps focus the product development and marketing approach.

Looking Ahead

In my next post we’ll take a look at the launch strategy document and what it should contain in order to deliver the most benefit to your team.

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