What is positioning in marketing?
You’ve probably heard that question before and didn’t think much of it. Why would you? What could possibly go wrong if you have a great product or idea and a dream?
The answer is: “Everything!”
Whatever your industry is, there’s no doubt you’ll be facing stern competition every step of the way.
The global nature of today’s competitive online market means that most businesses compete with each other on a global scale.
So, in order to succeed, you need to differentiate yourself from other companies in your niche. And that’s where positioning in marketing comes into play.
In this article, we’ll talk about what is positioning in marketing in general terms, and how it applies to email marketing.
Read on to learn how to use positioning to establish a marketing strategy and make your brand stand out from the crowd.
What is Positioning in Marketing?
Market positioning refers to the process of defining and associating a business’s brand with particular values.
It aims not only to increase sales but also to give the public a clear understanding of what your brand represents.
Positioning in marketing is not just about creating “positive associations” with your brand. It’s also about creating very specific and unique associations.
It is important to make consumers think about what makes your company unique whenever they see your logo.
Think about how most people react when they see a Bugatti logo, for example. They immediately associate it with status, quality and luxury.
In addition, they may imagine themselves behind the wheel of a Bugatti. They may also imagine what they would do and how they would feel if they had one.
There’s more to it than positive connections. We are talking about unique associations.
Contrast that with people’s reactions when they see the McDonald’s logo. They may think about convenience, flavor, and budget-friendly relaxation. They may even reminisce about the good old times visiting McDonald’s with their friends and family.
As you can see, the McDonald’s logo conjures up very different connotations from the Bugatti.
Nonetheless, both create positive connections between their respective brands and consumers. Market positioning aims to do just that.
What Are the Key Pieces of Marketing Positioning?
A successful market positioning strategy in any niche will incorporate these three P’s:
- Price, and
Promotion encompasses all the marketing techniques a business utilizes to establish a connection with consumers.
This includes everything from social media marketing to email marketing to billboards.
Mind you, promotion is not just about letting consumers know about new product offerings. You should also use it to position your brand.
Remember, it’s your overall promotional style that helps to establish a clear brand voice.
This includes the language and the visuals that you choose, as well as the medium that you use for advertising.
Pricing is a critical aspect of brand positioning. When it comes to pricing, you want to position your brand within a certain price range that customers will come to know and expect.
In other words, you want to maintain fairly stable prices across the board, with little fluctuations.
For example, If you are trying to position your brand as an affordable one, be sure to maintain that image at all times.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to position your brand on the lower end or offer cheap products.
The Bugatti example illustrates that many people value luxury and status and would pay top dollar for it.
Obviously, this includes all of your company’s products. As a rule of thumb, each company has a flagship product that people associate with their brand. From there, companies continuously develop additional products.
McDonald’s, for instance, has long been known for its burgers and French fries. Over time, they also became known for their coffee and salads.
While your product offering should be recognizable and reliable, don’t let it get stale. Market demands change over time, so you need to be flexible and adjust to such changes without losing your brand positioning.
What Is Positioning in Email Marketing?
Positioning is a key element of any email marketing strategy as it can influence the way customers perceive you.
But how does one go about incorporating positioning in their emails?
To begin with, it is important that you understand your own brand’s positioning.
This is more difficult than you might think. Many email marketers seem to equate positioning with mission statements or even brand philosophy.
That is, of course, wrong. Positioning can be defined as a manifestation of your brand philosophy, as opposed to philosophy.
Some experts define it as “the place a brand occupies in a customer’s mind”.
Therefore, while a brand philosophy and mission statement typically list your core beliefs and brand values, a positioning statement incorporates:
- Key differentiating features, and
- Specific details about your target market.
How to Clarify Your Position with Email Marketing?
Many online marketers use email as a secret weapon to achieve perfect positioning. Why you might ask? Because email as a medium of communication allows you to “speak” directly to each customer.
In other words, a well-crafted email is more like a conversation than an ad. And a genuine conversation can go a long way when you’re trying to position yourself.
Email marketing makes it much easier for businesses to get in touch with a more focused, targeted audience than, say, social media.
For one, email marketers use email automation tools that do much of the legwork for them.
For instance, an email automation tool like Mailvio allows you to segment your audience into smaller groups. Thus, you will be able to create emails specific to each group’s preferences.
But how can an email convey your positioning? It is, after all, nothing more than a combination of copy and design.
In some cases, email marketers even use “bare-bones” design and opt for plain text emails. In those instances, the email copy is the only thing that’s left to demonstrate a brand’s positioning.
As such, it should be tailored to your target market and the needs of your target market.
It should also reflect how you plan to address your audience’s pain points as well as:
- Your main differentiating features (unique selling points, etc.), and
- Reasons why your target market should have faith in you.
Consider studying creative project proposals for inspiration when drafting positioning statements for your email campaign.
These proposals are in essence concentrated brand briefs containing details about the target market, project viability, and differentiation. Do you see the similarity? All these elements are essential to positioning.
Only after you fully grasp your positioning should you proceed to the next step.
Set Up Your Own Reference Points
Let’s say you are selling purses. You are looking to establish your brand as an expensive and luxurious proposition. However, you must do so without using any words, price, or celebrities. So, how would you do it?
By using reference points.
We all associate certain values and qualities with particular objects, individuals, and situations. For example, most people would associate a purse lying on top of a shiny new Mercedes with some classy and expensive brand. Wouldn’t you?
When it comes to communicating your brand’s essence to customers, reference points are key. A reference point can be anything so long as your audience understands it “intuitively”.
Every part of your email should ooze something that goes in line with your brand positioning and identity.
Remember, even your email design language should speak to people and tell them what your business is all about. So, for example, if you are targeting parents, your email design language should have a distinctly childish “voice”.
Bonus Tip: Use Email List Segmentation
Email marketers rely on segmentation as one of their strongest tools. Why? Because segmentation is one of the most important email list management skills that can supercharge any email marketing campaign.
With segmentation, you can craft tailored emails for different types of audiences.
For instance, you can send a different sales pitch to someone who bought a similar product in the past vs. someone who hasn’t.
This makes your emails more effective as they are much less likely to be seen as spam by the first group.
Also, it allows you to personalize your messages.
What is the point of sending the same email to 10 different people if you can’t segment and customize the email for each group? This is where Mailvio really shines.
It allows you to create individualized segments based on different criteria (such as demographics, interests, behavior, etc.).
For example, you can create groups based on whether or not your prospects have purchased from you in the past.
Doing this will allow you to craft customized messages that are much more likely to make an impact. You’ll also be able to test which segments convert best using Mailvio’s A/B split testing capability.
Then, you could adjust your copy, headlines, and subject lines accordingly. This will help you know which parts of your pitch were most effective. Take advantage of segmentation to create well-positioned emails for your segments.
Positioning is arguably one of the most underused tools in the field of email marketing. Sure, a well-written copy and nice imagery certainly help and will deliver the goods.
However, proper positioning will allow you to hit the sweet spot and supercharge your email marketing campaigns.
If you haven’t started using positioning, be sure to put it at the top of your “to do” list. This approach, combined with Mailvio’s powerful segmentation feature, will make a huge difference in your results.
Remember, the key to using positioning in your emails is to always be in line with your brand.
Vladimir is a passionate content writer and digital marketing enthusiast. With over 3 years of experience in the field, he loves sharing his insights on topics ranging from content marketing and SEO to social media strategy. When he’s not writing, you can find Vladimir exploring the great outdoors or experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen. Connect with him on LinkedIn to stay updated on his latest articles and adventures.