One underutilized idea in the world of performance marketing is positioning. Positioning is not just the product or service you market, but it is the way in which you present your product or service to your customers. Some good examples of positioning include a national soda brand which uses bikini clad models to sell their products, or an international technology company which presents their product as being refined and exclusive. These examples of positioning give an important clue as to how to best market a product: Using the old adage of selling the steak and the sizzle we can see that not only should you sell the product –the steak, and the presentation – the sizzle, but also the idea that eating the steak confers tangible benefits to the buyer’s health or social status. That is positioning.
There are many aspects to properly positioning your product or service. Some of the most important include:
- Imagery – People usually think in pictures. When a person thinks about the good life they see mental images which they associate with positive progress. Perhaps they see money, or see themselves in a new car or home. For years advertisers have made use of the fact that young men like to imagine themselves surrounded by beautiful women. One of the best positioning strategies is to get in touch with your potential client’s idea of the good life, or life without a certain problem the currently have, and then present that image to them in your ads.
- Scarcity – Positioning your product or service as being scarce is almost always a good idea. For example, a current internet trend is not only to offer a traditional email sign-up for an auto responder series, but to inform the prospect that the “program” is currently closed and that they will be placed on a waiting list. So, instead of automatically getting the information they were looking for, the prospect will be sent an email saying that they will be notified when the program is reopened. This artificial scarcity is thought to increase a prospect’s desire for the product, service, or information.
- Exclusivity – People love it when a product or service gives them a sense of superiority. This is why exclusivity is such a powerful selling position. Products and services which are positioned as being exclusive work well when simultaneously positioned as being scarce. This increases the sense of superiority or exclusivity for those who are ultimately able to obtain it. Offerings which convey a feeling of exclusivity to the customer can often be sold at a premium, and can command intense customer loyalty when properly positioned.
The goal of positioning your product is to cause your potential customer to intensely desire it. As convincing a person to make a purchase, or take any other action, is largely based on your ability to connect your product to the prospect on an emotional level, the more intensely your prospect visualizes him or herself with your product, the better. This is why so many performance marketers fail. They fail to make the connection between their product or service and their prospect’s core emotional needs. But by using these three positioning techniques, the performance marketer can significantly increase the odds that their prospect will connect emotionally with their offering.