In an increasingly competitive environment, today's SMEs need to evolve with agility and flexibility in the face of the biggest players on the market. Taking into account the various factors (market, customers, competition, the company itself), a successful SME must be able to adapt to change. This is not always obvious when you don't have the same financial and physical resources as a large company.
This is why an SME must focus its efforts on a good marketing strategy in order to perform in its environment. Hmm, easy to say at first glance but how to avoid costly mistakes ?
Well in marketing, the best way to divert them is to focus on the very important phase of your strategic marketing plan the marketing positioning strategy. We will review together the definition, the mistakes not to make and how to define its positioning.
- 1 What is marketing positioning?
- 2 The 7 essential criteria for good marketing positioning
- 3 Elements necessary to define its marketing positioning
- 4 Mapping one's positioning: the perceptual map or positioning map
- 5 An example of successful marketing positioning
- 6 How can a well formulated positioning be useful for your company?
What is marketing positioning?
Marketing positioning is the way your product and/or service is perceived by your prospects, customers or prescribers on the market. In other words, this is the image you want to project in the minds of consumers. What do they think of you compared to your competitors? Why would they prefer your company over another?
We often imagine that it is about being the best in your field. However, that is not the point. The concept of "best" will be different depending on each consumer's perception and needs. For example, an SME will have to focus instead on how to differentiate oneself from one's peers by dint of a unique position and a different offer beneficial compared to the competition.
Let's take the example of Lait 2 Vaches, the brand of the organic subsidiary of the Groupe Danone. Both cows are dairy products like there are others on the market. Recently they launched a new product: the Skyr bio. A unique and perfectly identifiable product that meets specific characteristics expected in the market.
« It's better to choose a feature that allows you to be totally different and matters to people. [...] For this to work, it is absolutely necessary that your positioning be recognized as useful and interesting for 80 % of your target. "Frédéric Canevet, conference at SME 2019 Exhibition.
Here's a diagram that represents this notion well: the golden triangle of positioning.
The positioning is placed at the heart of a triangle whose three points represent the Proposal (product or service), the Target and the Competition.
- Proposal What are the advantages of the product? What are the expected benefits?
- Target what distinctive advantage is put forward? Does it meet the target's expectations?
- Competition What are its exclusive advantages? Does it stand out from the others?
In short, the objective of the marketing positioning is to become the reference in the consumer's mind thanks to a simple, relevant and different positioning.
The 7 essential criteria for good marketing positioning
The aim is to get a clear picture in the consumer's mind. It must be summed up in one sentence. For example:
- The Good Corner, « One man's happiness is another man's happiness "plays on the fact that anyone can resell a used item, there will always be someone looking for it. (Second-hand market, low-income families)
- Clairefontaine, « The future is yours to write about. "and that's the brand that's going to allow us to do that..." (Stationery store, families, children)
Formulate positioning does not mean formulating a slogan. Here, the exercise is to see if you manage to perceive the message that the company wants to give. You can do this to assess the clarity of your own message.
- Attractiveness, relevance
In addition to being clear, the message must meet consumer expectations. They must immediately understand the message conveyed through the product and therefore know where to find him. For example, the House Valentino in the luxury sector, embodies an image of beauty, modernity and the extraordinary. It is a very attractive brand for the generation of millenials internationallyis the reason that the L'Oréal Group wished to acquire it in its perfume portfolio.
No room for doubt: the customer must be convinced and it's better because the scoring system is very common and influences consumer purchases. The positioning must correspond to the product's touted characteristics and/or service. Let's take the example of BreatheThe French natural and ecological hygiene-beauty care. The flagship product is deodorant. No margin of error possible, if it does not work the brand can not last.
Borrows My Doggyis an alternative dog-sitting service since it is free of charge. A good example of differentiation in the pet sitting since it operates on the exchange of good processes. The brand has been able to distinguish itself from its competitors.
Is it true that your product will be able to develop and sustain your business ? Let's take the electric scooter market as an example. Despite its boom in 2019, it has proven to be a very profitable market. the Boston Consulting Group studythat the business model is not profitable. Yet the electric scooter continues to multiply at every street corner. On the other hand, according to the companies themselves, their lifespan is three months, yet it takes four months to amortize the acquisition cost of just one of its self-service machines.
The choice of positioning is a long-term commitment. Consumers perceive change in a company as instability. In the age of time, ethical brands are choosing the niche sustainable and eco-responsible fashion. Panafrica for example, launched its latest pair of recycled and infinitely recyclable sneakers, they recover and reuse the fabrics from old pairs to make new ones.
- Authentic and sincere
Consistency and authenticity. The approach you take must be transparent, without pretension or overestimation. We can cite the brand InnocentIt is authentic because of the quality of its products and its funny, spontaneous and committed communication.
Elements necessary to define its marketing positioning
Remember that in your marketing plan, the definition of your positioning takes place after the study and segmentation of your market then marketing targeting. Thus, a certain number of elements must be determined beforehand to answer the following question:
What is the best position I can give my company in relation to my market, my competitors and my target?
Now let's list the key elements:
- Market analysis :
Identify the sector(s) concerned what your company is acting on, it is THE starting point for any business. It is essential to know the market in which you want to operate and to know all the essential information. Here is a non-exhaustive list of 10 questions you need to ask yourself before you go for it.
- Determining the urgency: is the consumer's need imminent?
- Look at the size of the market: is it important enough? Is there enough demand for the offer you have to offer?
- Estimate the price: What is the average market price for your product? Is it profitable? How much are consumers willing to pay?
- Evaluating the cost of acquiring a client : How much time, money, energy will you have to invest to acquire a new customer?
- Determining the cost to deliver the value: Is the manufacturing cost high?
- Evaluate the originality of the offer : Is the offer you are proposing unique? Is it easy for a competitor to copy you?
- Estimate the initial (capital) investment required : What budget will you need to commit to launch your product or service?
- Estimating the potential for persistence : Can you easily renew and duplicate your product?
- Assessing the ability toup-selling : Have you come up with any related offers to present to consumers?
- The speed of creation: How fast are you able to create?
- Competitive Analysis :
What are other actors capable of influencing consumers of your deal? More than obvious, this phase also allows you to to analyse the distinctive points of potential competitors in relation to your business. Here are a few questions that will need to be answered to evaluate the competitor:
- What is its purpose?
- What are its strengths and weaknesses?
- Is it a direct or indirect competitor?
- What does their product/service look like?
- Target analysis :
To bring your offer and your client together, we need to find the point of contact. To do it, it is essential to study your target precisely.to know it, to understand it and to know what to propose to it, where and how. Who is your target? How old is she? What are her expectations? What are her ambitions? What are her brakes? etc.
You will find the answers by working together with your after-sales service, sales and marketing teams... It is their permanent contact that will enable you to to build your buyer personas marketing.
- Business Analysis
Finally, now that you have gathered information about your market, your target and the competition, you can focus on the value of your offer and your positioning strategy.
Mapping one's positioning: the perceptual map or positioning map
It is the most commonly used tool to visually illustrate your positioning. The perceptual map, or mapping is a graphical representation of your positioning in relation to your competitorss, based on two evaluation criteria.
To do this, you must realize a benchmark of your competitorsThe aim is to identify their strengths and weaknesses according to the main expectations of the market. Identify two evaluation criteria that will be your two axes of the graph.
The perceptual map aims to enlighten you on the way your company is perceived in the market placeThe adjustments to be made to your brand image and niche markets.
Note bene : Competitive advantage is never gained. The market evolves as a result of new businesses and changes in consumer habits. It is necessary to remain vigilant on the evolution of market players' positions and on your brand image.
An example of successful marketing positioning
The positioning: Breathe is a French brand of natural deodorant that takes care of the human body. « Make Your Body a Priority »
The company uses the leverage of highly efficient products, combined with practicality and natural 100%. Justine Huteau the founder, embodies the brand and positions it clearly and precise for consumers by offering a high price justified by well-being and health. The brand presents itself in the specific world of hygiene-beauty related to ecology (natural products). Breathe uses the local argument of "made in France" by highlighting its laboratories in Brittany.
How can a well formulated positioning be useful for your company?
Your strategic choice of marketing positioning is determining the course of your actions. At the heart of your marketing strategy, it guides and enables the development of your marketing plan notably through the marketing mix or the 4Ps of marketing: product, price, promotion, place. We invite you to read our dedicated article on : how to develop a marketing plan in a few key steps.