May your positioning strategy live long and prosper

Strategy PictureMany B2B technology and software companies make a big mistake by changing their positioning strategy too often. Just when their strategy is starting to take hold, they change it. That’s a sure way to fail in an effort to claim a position.

A solid positioning strategy will last a lot longer than you might think. You can look forward to a long, multi-year relationship if you are confident that your positioning strategy is unique, believable and delivers a benefit that solves your target buyers’ most pressing problem.

That may seem like an eternity for many B2B technology marketers. But patience is a virtue when it comes to positioning – that mental space in the target audience’s mind that you can claim with an idea that has compelling meaning to the recipient.

Give your positioning strategy lots of time to work

Depending on the frequency of your marketing message’s exposure, give it more than a year to start to sink in and establish a mental space in your target audience’s mind. You’ll get tired of your message long before your audience will. In fact, it takes at least 10 impressions before your prospect even notices your marketing message. The longer you stick with the same message, the more likely it will start to resonate with your target audience.

When you feel it’s time to break the monotony, challenge your ad agency to come up with a new creative execution of the same positioning strategy. Remember, your positioning statement expresses a conceptual benefit, and does not need to be regurgitated verbatim. You can express a benefit in countless variations on a consistent theme, as long as the execution expresses the same benefit that solves your prospect’s most pressing problem.

There are many ways to say the same thing

For example, a company that offered budgeting and financial reporting solutions positioned itself as helping you accelerate decision making throughout your company. A colleague of mine, a clever copywriter, executed the positioning strategy with a theme that packs energy and a call to action into plain language, “See how fast your business can run.”

Another example of a core benefit claim – maximize the profit potential of your business – appeared in public as an advertisement with the theme, “No profit left behind.”

The importance of consistency and repetition

Few B2B marketers realize the importance consistency and repetition play in claiming a position. In fact, a compelling positioning strategy that is not consistently executed and repeated is less effective than a bland one that is consistently executed and repeated over and over.

When you decide to make a change, stick with the conceptual idea expressed in your positioning statement. Challenge your ad agency or in-house creative staff to come up with something that communicates the same idea, and watch the fireworks go off. Just don’t rush to unveil a new positioning strategy. The longer you wait, the more likely you’ll be rewarded with exclusive ownership of an increasingly valuable property – your marketing position.

Learn more about how to position in my eBook “Positioning: How to talk so the market will listen.”