Positioning is More Important Than Perfection

We all want to have the perfect product or service. But more often than not, we don’t have the resources or capital to deliver the perfect product or service. But what if I told you that even if you did, no one would notice the specifics. It’s not the features that stand out – it’s the positioning in the mind of the customer.

“Positioning can set you apart.” 

Creating a Positioning Statement

A positioning statement is one of several guiding frameworks I believe should exist in any company. The following is the common outline:

  • That… (The value provided by your product to the target segment. Resist the temptation to talk about what the product does or how it works; state why the targeted segment needs it and the value it provides to them. This should capture what your early customers LOVE about using your product or service.)
  • For… (Who are you targeting? Think about other actors around them too, but really concentrate on the main persona who will benefit from your offering. It’s hard to be too narrow as a small company, though many entrepreneurs resist this approach because it feels too limiting. If you try to speak to everyone, you end up appealing to no one. Try to think about how your market is segmented and pick one)
  • Who are dissatisfied with… (The state that the current alternative has created… the source of pain that they will be willing to address.)
  • Our product/solution… (What the product does in language your target segment might use.)
  • Unlike… (The current alternative. This will be a direct competitor or some other alternative for addressing their pains.)
  • We… (How your approach is different. There may be dozens of reasons why you’re different, but boil it down to the most essential… these should be based on what I call “Defensible Differentiators” – the things particular to your architecture, people or systems that will be difficult to replicate quickly.)

The right message needs to repeatedly reach the right customer in the right market to validate the startup’s existence.

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