It comes as no surprise to me that B2B software and technology marketers don’t spend enough time on the positioning process. I’ve got three positioning projects going on right now, and two of them have been on hold at one point or another due to more pressing priorities. I’m concerned that these delays will force my clients to rush through the positioning process they are learning and not devote enough time to it.
This concern is shared by a majority of those who have responded to my survey about how companies do positioning. You can still fill out the survey. Here is the link: https://survey.zohopublic.com/zs/Dxy3aI.
More than 65% of respondents said they either don’t spend as much time on research as they’d like or they do some research but not a lot. This is problematic because just as positioning is the foundation for all of your marketing communications, research is the foundation for your positioning strategy.
What research should you do?
You need a thorough knowledge of your Customer, Channel (how you sell) and Competition or you can’t position effectively. I call it the 3Cs of Successful Positioning because the information you gather during the research phase of the positioning process helps you converge on the right position for your product, service or company.
Here is some of the critical information you should gather while doing your 3Cs research:
- Ideal customer profile
- Target market and audience
- The No. 1 problem of your target audience
- How is your target solving the problem today?
- Why is yours a better solution to the problem?
- How your competitors are positioned relative to you
- Your strengths and weaknesses
- Your competitors’ strengths and weakness
- Why you win and lose
Your 3Cs research can take between two and four weeks to complete. You can speed up the process – if pressed for time – by starting with your channel. This approach is explained in my blog about the 3Cs of Successful Positioning and provides a more detailed look at the research you need to do to position effectively.
Converging on the right positioning statement is a challenge and it takes time
Once you have done enough 3Cs research, the hard part of positioning begins – converging on the right position – that mental space in the target audience’s mind that you can own with an idea that has compelling meaning to the recipient.
The business process for positioning that I teach fosters consensus and buy-in to the proposed message. You achieve consensus and buy-in by involving your channel throughout the positioning process, and eventually getting management approval for your proposed positioning strategy.
Read my blogs about the importance of involving your channel in your positioning process, and the benefits of getting management approval of your positioning strategy.
Obviously doing positioning the way I advocate takes time; lots of it! Unfortunately, those who have responded to my survey can’t spend the time they need to find the ideal position. Only 41% of respondents said they spend enough time brainstorming positioning ideas and converging on the right one. This may explain why there is so much “me too” positioning and messaging in B2B software and technology marketing. It takes too much time, and a lot of hard work to come up with a position that is unique.