MAIN CONCERNS IN POSITIONING
A Product cannot be everything to everyone; hence, the Importance of Positioning.
The need for positioning arises out of the fact that a product cannot be â€˜everything to ever oneâ€™ and has to be something to some segment. Normally, some unique features of the product, some special needs of the market or some noticeable gap in competing offers is picked up and the product is positioned around that feature / or a combination of features for a particular target audience.
Identifying such features and using them imaginatively as the plank on which to project the product is the essence of positioning. A product can be positioned for an exclusive, well-to-do segment of the market; it can be positioned for men, for children; for the fun-loving youth, for the health-conscious people; it can be positioned on a claim of luxury, a claim of distinctiveness, convenience, economy, uniqueness, novelty, or usage. It can also be positioned against a competing brand.
Positioning means putting the product in a predetermined Orbit
Positioning is the specific task of taking product to a chosen orbit in the minds of the target consumers. If the positioning decision is faulty, the product suffers heavy losses. It may take a long time and enormous effort to retrieve a wrongly positioned. While repositioning a successfully positioned product at a later stage in the light of the changes in its life cycle may be easy, it will not be all easy to reposition a wrongly positioned product.
In fact, the variance that occurs between the position intended by the marketing man and the positioning assigned by the consumers is a problem inherent in positioning. This has to be tackled at the very outset and in case it could not be anticipated and handled in advance, it must be handled as a course correction as soon as possible after the launch. Marketing savvy companies quickly find out the consumerâ€™s perception of the position. If it is at variance from what is intended by them, they rectify the gap.
Positioning connects product offering with Target Market
While target market selection clarifies for whom the products is intended, and marketing mix shows the way in which the 4Ps are to be aligned in the offer to the target market, positioning acts as the bridge linking the product offer with the target market.
Consumerâ€™s Mind a Geometric Perceptual Space; the Product / brands Seeks a locus in the Space through Positioning
In positioning, the consumerâ€™s mind is viewed as a geometric perceptual space, with different product categories and brands occupying certain positions therein. These positions held by products/ brands change as the available space is taken by new products/brands. How to secure a position in this perceptual space within the consumerâ€™s mind and how to retain it is the basic in positioning. By making what kind of propositions, say, in a bathing soap, can a firm secure a position? Where is the gap? What are the attributes which the consumer seeks and which will help fill that space? Does the firmâ€™s product possess those attributes? Or, is it possible to replace an existing brandâ€™s position in the consumerâ€™s mind by offering a better value proposition?
We can seek a position in the consumers mind through several routes / propositions. We may seek a position placing our brand against another ongoing brand, or we may place it against certain expectations the consumer nurtures. In other words, we will be placing our brand against some frame of reference as seen by the consumer. In our endeavor at meeting the desired we might already endorsed our product / brand with certain differentiation value. Now, we want this product to be perceived by the consumer in a particular way. This â€˜perception in a particular wayâ€™ is what positioning is all about. Through positioning, we are launching the products to a particular trajectory in the consumerâ€™s mind. The consumer has a frame of reference as far as the given product category is concerned; and he will evaluate any new offer against this reference.