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“Do we really need a positioning statement?” December 8, 2009

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Messaging, Positioning.
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One of my personal “aha!” moments about the importance of having a clear product positioning statement came about during my tenure as a PR manager with HP’s Test & Measurement group (prior to the Agilent spinoff).   One of the divisions had just developed a next-generation signal generator and was eager to introduce it.  The engineering team quickly drafted a press release with the following headline:

HP Introduces High-performance Signal Generator with New Low Price

Upon first glance, this seemed like a perfectly reasonable headline.  Yet, my “spider-sense” always tingled (and still does) when I see primary benefits linked to pricing.  I wanted to be doubly sure that I understood exactly what this meant.  So, I pulled the engineering team together to talk about their draft.

Their first reaction was something like, “oh great, you’re one of those guys” — meaning that I was an outsider with a sole purpose of upsetting their applecart by asking a lot of nonsense questions.   With great diplomacy, I admitted that it was my job to work with them in order to confirm and communicate the product’s truest value related to the claims they wanted to make.  

I asked if they had produced a positioning statement for the product. 

The Positioning Statement Template

They handed me a 5 page datasheet.  Not to be put off, I suggested we take 30 minutes to  build a positioning statement for the product. 

 I explained that this would help us confirm the primary benefit and focus our messaging.

In the course of our 30 minute discussion, we filled out the positioning statement template, and we learned a few key things, especially when we dug into the primary benefit and the differentiator:

  1. This new signal generator was actually more expensive than competitive alternatives!  However . . .
  2. This one box could perform multiple tests without the need of additional pieces of expensive equipment.
  3. The upshot: this was really a total cost of ownership (TCO) story, not a component box story. 

We quickly wrote a new headline based on this positioning statement:

HP’s New High-performance Signal Generator Reduces Test Costs

So what?

Did this exercise really matter?  You bet!  Had we proceeded with the original headline, editors (not to mention customers) would have quickly cried “foul!”  HP’s reputation would have been hurt by this misleading claim.

Instead, this clarified positioning wove its way through the press release, print advertising, collatoral, and other customer pieces.  The resulting press echoed the positioing statement and this product found huge success with new and current customers alike.

And all it took was 30 minutes!

For more information on the positioning statement, read The “Aha!” Factor: Positioning So Your Audience “gets it”

New fast & easy online course: Mastering Product Positioning March 14, 2014

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Positioning.
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Product positioning is not what you do to a product. Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect. So, how do we influence that, exactly?

It starts with developing a positioning statement that unites and aligns your marketing, sales, product development, and engineering teams. This statement clarifies the value you offer to a specific target market. And to successfully execute this statement, you need 3 things, and this online course delivers what you need to know:

  1. How to become a positioning master
  2. How to become  savvy in organizational politics
  3. How to boost your teamwork skills.

How to build, critique, and apply positioning statements

The positioning statement is not just a template. It embodies an entire approach that puts the customer in the center of your universe.

I’ve written a lot on this subject in the past, and now I’m pleased to introduce you to a new online course entitled, Mastering Product Positioning.

This new online course teaches you everything you need to know about positioning statements. Specifically, you’ll learn how to work cross-functionally to build them, critique and tune them, and apply them to your products and business.

Mastering positioning statements is a skill that every marketer needs to have complete confidence in. Whether you are a novice to marketing or a veteran, this course will help you hone your skill set. And these skills will help you become a better marketer and a more valuable executive.

Check it out. Preview some of the lectures. Let me know what you think.

Personas, positioning, & messaging – a highly effective 1/2 day workshop May 8, 2013

Posted by Mike Gospe in Marketing Persona, Messaging, Positioning, workshops.
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Want to rally your marketing team? Marketing is a team sport, not a solo activity. This half-day workshop, which you can run yourself, will help align the team and unleash untapped sources of creativity and positive energy. Here’s how it works. (more…)

The “Aha!” Factor – positioning so your audience gets it May 31, 2011

Posted by Mike Gospe in Positioning, The Marketing High Ground.
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A true story: A luminary and well-respected leader was invited to attend a critical board meeting of a Silicon Valley start-up.  The executive team had feverishly worked to reinvent and reposition the company, and this meeting was their one chance to gain a critical endorsement.  With introductions completed, the CEO and VP of Marketing began to relay the genesis of the start-up with eagerness and passion.  Fifteen minutes later, the luminary politely raised his hand and asked them to stop.   He said, “I still don’t get what you do.” The silence was palpable. (more…)

Hints that your product positioning may need an overhaul July 15, 2010

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Positioning.
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Here’s a checklist you may find helpful.  If your company struggles with any one of these items, it could be a sign that the product positioning is not tuned correctly.  Use this as an opportunity to review and re-evaluate.

Clues that your positioning statement should be revisited
• It takes the average sales rep more than 30 seconds to describe the product or service.
• Each sales rep has a different “elevator pitch.”
• Your company has changed markets, investors, price points, sales model, or partnering/channel strategies.
• It’s been a year since the executive team has reviewed the company’s positioning.
• It takes the marketing/PR team more than 3 drafts to finalize press release messages.
• The VP of Marketing and VP of Sales have conflicting perspectives on the positioning and sales tactics.

Personas, Positioning, & the Message Box November 30, 2009

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Just for Campaign Managers, Marketing Persona, Messaging, Positioning.
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As 2009 winds to a close, now is a perfect time to take a few minutes to hold a team working-lunch to critique your past lead gen programs.   Most of the programs that fail do so because of at least one of the following miss-steps:

  • Target audience was defined too broadly 
  • Improper positioning failed to differentiate
  • Irrelevant messaging was off topic for the targeted audience

Even minor improvements along any of these three dimensions can improve results dramatically.

Conduct a team working-lunch session

Here’s how you can critique your programs and encourage your team to rally for 2010.  Grab a conference room, order some pizza, and conduct a small team working lunch centered around these three  key exercises designed to help you better understand the buyer.  Use the templates illustrated in this article.

  1. Critique a persona
  2. Tune the positioning statement and
  3. Craft the story (elevator pitch)

Together, they’ll help you deliver more relevant messaging that will successfully cut through all the clutter.

Get a free hour with Mike Gospe February 7, 2018

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing.
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We’re celebrating the 10 year anniversary of Marketing Campaign Development! Thank you for being part of the MCD family of more than 100K views from marketing teams around the world.

Final book.large

Interested in getting some feedback on your latest plans?

mike 1

During 2018, I’m offering a free 1 hour marketing consultation to the first 10 people who sign up. Contact me to schedule a video conference where we can chat about anything you like: launch plans, campaign strategies, blueprint creation, campaign manager coaching, navigating internal politics, whatever. It’s a free hour for you, and it’s an opportunity for me to say thank you!

Contact me to schedule your free consultation.

In the meantime, please enjoy my 3 most popular blog posts of all time

  1. Do we really need a positioning statement?
  2. Communications Objectives and the Buying and Sales Processes
  3. Building an “Awareness/Thought Leadership” Blueprint

Contact me to schedule your free consultation.

 

 

Campaign Manager Coaching February 22, 2014

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The best campaign managers are not only experts in marketing, they are skilled in organizational politics and team performance. This service is for marketing campaign management teams and individuals. Working in both team settings and in one-on-ones, we’ll help you build and reinforce new skills that will take your marketing organization to the next level of success. The service is customized for any marketing organization ranging from 1 “jack of all trades” marketing leader to a team of 50 or more marketing mavericks. You pick the components most important and relevant to your business. We will help you tune your marketing engine to achieve even higher levels of performance.

  • Conducting an assessment of your marketing organization, including all aspects of people, processes, and your current plans
  • One-on-one coaching
  • Team workshops to learn how to apply a variety of marketing best practices (including personas, positioning statements, The Message Box, “marketing blueprints”, and campaign maps)
  • Review and analysis of your current plans
  • Organizational planning & design
  • Review roles & responsibilities
  • Problem-solving work sessions
  • Recommendations for improving internal communications
  • Facilitation of “sales & marketing” summits
  • And more

Contact Mike Gospe or KickStart Alliance to learn more.

KickStart Alliance offers new coaching service for Campaign Managers February 20, 2014

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing.
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How well are your campaign managers performing?

The best campaign managers are not only experts in marketing, they are skilled in organizational politics and team performance. We’ve have just introduced a new service for marketing campaign manager teams and individuals. Working in both team settings and in one-on-ones, we’ll help you build and reinforce new skills that will take your marketing organization to the next level of success. The service is customized for any marketing organization ranging from 1 “jack of all trades” marketing leader to a team of 50 or more marketing mavericks.  Components include:

  • Conducting an assessment of your marketing organization, including all aspects of people, processes, and your current plans
  • One-on-one coaching
  • Team workshops to learn how to apply a variety of marketing best practices (including personas, positioning statements, The Message Box, “marketing blueprints”, and campaign maps)
  • Review and analysis of your current plans
  • Organizational planning & design
  • Review roles & responsibilities
  • Problem-solving work sessions
  • Recommendations for improving internal communications
  • Facilitation of “sales & marketing” summits
  • And more.

You pick the components must important and relevant to your business. We will help you tune your marketing engine to achieve even higher levels of performance.

To learn more, please contact Mike Gospe or KickStart Alliance.

Features vs benefits: 5 tests for defining the best benefit March 9, 2013

Posted by Mike Gospe in Positioning.
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A common mistake is confusing features and benefits. When developing a positioning statement, one of the key ingredients is in identifying the most compelling benefit relevant to the target audience or persona. Here’s 5 criteria to help guide you to selecting the best benefit. (more…)