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In Part 4 of this positioning series, I want to discuss the process of selecting which position to take in a market segment.

There is, in my approach, a Golden Rule:

A strong position is one that already exists in the mind of the segment.

I have sat through numerous positioning exercises, where people delineate the inherent qualities of their products, and then try to determine which positions they can adopt based on those qualities.

Which is like drilling a round hole and then searching for a peg that fits it.

A position doesn't begin with you. You don't define the position you're going to take. You assess what positions exist in the segment's mind and then determine which of those you have the best chance—based on your own strengths—of occupying and defending.

More directly said: The marketplace defines the positions, and you try to win one of them.

Your Ears Are the Best Research Tool

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Michael Fischler is founder and principal coach and consultant of Markitek (markitek.com), which for over a decade has provided marketing consulting and coaching services to companies around the world, from startups and SMEs to giants like Kodak and Pirelli. You can contact him by clicking here.