You think you’ve got your product on lock, right? A fancy logo, a catchy tagline, a pretty website — the works. And yet, your profit margins are thinner than the plot of a trashy romance novel. Let me spell it out for you, hotshot: Your positioning sucks.
I fell into this trap in my early days of entering the Consumer Package Goods and Retail world. We were getting the sell-in and won product placement in over 130,000 US stores and were expanding out into Canada and Latin America when sell-through flattened and then shrunk. It was because the positioning was all wrong. We pivoted rapidly with a reworked Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and message map, and lo and behold, the sell-through accelerated.
Yes, I said it. You might have a product worthy of the gods, but if you’ve positioned it like a knockoff at a dollar store, don’t be surprised when your profits whimper instead of roar.
Let’s get down and dirty. Positioning isn’t about slapping on attractive packaging and praying for the best. It’s about where your brand sits in the overcrowded minds of your consumers. It’s why someone would fork out hundreds for a branded tee when they could get a plain one for a tenth of the price. It’s perception, baby.
Bad positioning means you’re letting others define your value. Maybe you’re trying too hard to be everything to everyone (spoiler alert: that’s a fast track to being nothing to no one). Perhaps you’re underselling, coming off as the cheap alternative when you should be the crème de la crème. Or maybe you’re lost in the crowd, another forgettable face in a sea of mediocrity.
Good positioning? It’s when you’ve carved out a juicy spot in the consumer’s brain where you’re the king or queen, and everyone else is a mere pretender to the throne. It’s where the magic happens: customers want you and are willing to pay top dollar because they believe you’re worth it.
So, take a hard look at where you stand. If you’re wondering why the coins aren’t rolling in, it’s time to reposition, stake your claim, and shout your worth from the mountaintops.
Here’s a nugget for you to chew on from the great Al Ries: “Positioning is not what you do to a product; it’s what you do to the mind of the prospect.” Remember, if you need to be positioned right in their minds, you’re positioned right in your profitability.