Strategic Planning: Your Positioning Statement

To get customers and potential customers to pay attention, you must clearly and strategically position yourself in your customers’ mind. To do so, you need a positioning statement that guides all your marketing efforts directed at the target customer group.

You’ve determined who you want to market to, what their needs and wants are, and that they, as a group, are attractive enough to get your interest. Now you just have to get their attention! Here’s a great analogy from Seth Godin, author of Purple Cow (Portfolio Hardcover), about how to get your customers’ attention:

Cows, after you’ve seen them for a while, are boring. They may be perfect cows, attractive cows, cows with a great personality, cows lit by a beautiful light, but they’re still boring. A purple cow, though: Now, that would really stand out. The essence of the purple cow is that it would be remarkable. Something remarkable is worth talking about, worth paying attention to.

The world is full of boring stuff (like brown cows) and also thousands of competitors, which is why so few people pay attention to what you’re trying to communicate and sell. If in doubt, measure the level of market noise in your industry by typing in your business description into Google to see how many companies are doing the same thing you are. (Strategic planning returns 70 million results!)

Godin’s analogy is simply a visual representation of an age-old marketing concept called positioning. Positioning is the space your product or service occupies in the mind of your customers. No matter what, companies consciously or subconsciously influence their position in the customer’s mind.

You may or may not be positioned the way you want to be. You may also just be a brown cow — invisible and boring. Extremely well-positioned products or services become nouns or verbs, such as Kleenex and Google.

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