April 30, 2024

Understand Your Market Position and Establish Differentiation

Marketing & Innovation

All businesses have competition. To understand where you stand against your competitors, you may rely on sales reports, data analysis, and other metrics. But what if your company is the market leader? Do you know why? More importantly, do you know if you can maintain your competitive edge in the long run? Keep reading to learn how to stay ahead of the game.

In today's fiercely competitive business environment, it's crucial to differentiate yourself from the competition. One way to do this is by knowing rival brands inside and out. Conducting a thorough analysis of your competitors' strengths and weaknesses can help you identify gaps in the market and refine your own strategy. Keeping a pulse on industry trends and market shifts can also give you a leg up over the competition. Staying ahead of the game requires constant vigilance and adaptation.


What is the Meaning of Market Positioning?

Market positioning is a strategy used by businesses and organizations to create and maintain a brand image. It is a common marketing strategy for companies to establish their unique position within the market. This can be accomplished by following the four P's: promotion, prices, places, and products. The more detailed you define your Ps, the more effective the result.

Creating or refining a positioning statement for your business can help shape your brand identity, as it influences your message, language, and brand strategy.


Use Data Wisely for Your Brand Positioning Strategy

Data is abundant nowadays. It can either help and hurt you, depending on how it's used. Like fire, it can help cook your food, but it can also set fire to your home. So, while data can help you make strategic business decisions, it can also overwhelm you to the point of analysis paralysis or make you so focused that you're missing other important elements.

Companies are often guilty of looking at data for a specific purpose, but not looking at it holistically and seeing other points that are interwoven within the data. It can also create fire drills. Many a marketer has heard the call for, “Why are sales down here? Figure out why!” and off they run to focus on something else. Though important, excessive data analysis in isolation can be problematic. Achieving a happy medium between analysis and action is vital. It is crucial to not only scrutinize data in an office, but also speak with customers outside of it to balance findings with real-world insights.

Achieving and Maintaining a Strong Market Position: A Simple 3-Step Process

To truly understand where you stack up versus competition, and most importantly, how you can maintain a sustainable competitive advantage, there are three key things to keep in mind:

1. Focus on the Consumer Wants and Needs

Ask yourself: How can we deeply connect with and understand them?

In-depth insights into your customers or consumers are crucial to your brand's success, and engaging with them takes more than data analysis. Stepping out of your office and having conversations with your customers is key to understanding their brand perceptions and how they interact with your competitors. Solid data obtained through empathetic conversations carries just as much weight as quantitative metrics. When you listen to your customers and connect with them, you'll build stronger bonds, develop valuable feedback, and gain sharp insights that can optimize your marketing and sales strategies.


2. Determine Where You Can Bring Unique Value

Ask yourself: How can our product or service bring more value than the competition?

Once you truly understand your consumer and gain deep insights about their needs, you can use that information to strengthen your market positioning. Ask yourself, ‘How can we uniquely provide value to the consumer better than anyone else?' This takes time and is not easily understood. It is also important to not do this alone.

Creating a team of diverse thinkers who share and synthesize information from a multitude of sources, including their own personal observations with your target audience, is critical in honing your point of difference. One effective test is to swap your brand name with a competitor's name, while retaining your brand positioning. If your original statement still rings true with the competitor's name, then it may need further development. This ensures your brand positioning is unique, ownable, and sets you apart from competitors.


3. Zeroing in on the Competition

Ask yourself: Where is our competition playing in our market? Where are we vulnerable to the competition?

If your company has been strictly internally focused and forgotten about the competition, one way to mitigate this process is through Competitive Scenario Planning. Through this intensive process, you'll get your employees together, creating focus groups, and ‘become' the competitor. Who are they? What's driving their strategy? Advertising? Sales materials? Digital? How are they presenting themselves?

Effective preparation is imperative; ensure you have the right people involved. Analyze sales data and share insights on consumer preference and satisfaction. Formal marketing research data is ideal but if unavailable, social media, online ratings and reviews can be valuable resources. Evaluating competition's marketing materials and positioning strategy is recommended.

One smart way to gain insight into your major competitors is to gather all relevant information and share it with your team. During the analysis process, it's important to consider diverse perspectives and leverage tools like SWOT or PESTLE analyses. This approach not only helps identify competitor advantages and disadvantages, but also external factors with the potential to influence the market. By putting all the pieces together, you can make more informed strategic decisions.


Ready to Take Action

To excel in your industry, it is vital to balance your internal perspective with your awareness of your competitors. Understanding your customers' needs and meeting them in a unique and distinctive way is also crucial. So, remember to keep these factors in mind as you aim to grow and differentiate yourself from competitors.


How Aspirant Can Help

Aspirant's marketing experts help clients analyze their competitive market and deploy a plan for generating growth. Use the form below to schedule a casual discussion about how we can do the same for you.


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Michele is Aspirant's Director of Marketing & Innovation, and is a senior marketer and facilitator with 25 years of extensive experience in brand management, strategy development, Design Thinking, and innovation. She works with various corporations and non-profit businesses as a consultant to help them grow their business through strong strategy, marketing plans, and skills development. She has worked with companies in the Fortune 100 and Global 1000 as well as mid-sized companies in a range of industries, with a focus on healthcare.

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