Defining Your Competitive Set
At the core of every positioning statement is the reason a product/service/brand is different and better than its competitors. Because of this, how you choose to define your competitive set is a critical piece of developing a compelling positioning statement.
Here’s a quick 3-minute video of how to strategically approach defining your own competitive set. It was filmed during a workshop Argentum gave at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship. Examples included two of our favorites, KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese and Chicago’s venerable Goodman Theatre. Watch the segment.
Easy Customer Research
Last week I met with a potential B2B client who has been fortunate to have her product accepted by a major distributor in her category. Phone calls and new orders have begun to come in, which is very exciting!
However when I asked her how most people were finding her, she did not know the answer. So I suggested the most basic, most inexpensive research she could do: Keep a list. The few data points a week she’ll be able to gather won’t be immediately useful. But over time the information will help her begin to see patterns and learn things about her business and the effectiveness of different business development efforts.
I recommended that she keep it simple and make a spreadsheet with columns for things like:
- Date contact received
- Person’s name
- What they were interested in
- How they found out about her product
- How the lead came in (phone? email?)
I’ve done lead tracking for Argentum using this methodology since 2006. Naturally, it took 11 months before I could calculate a rolling 12-month average of leads in, but after almost 8 years, I have a really robust data set! And along the way this simple spreadsheet has enabled me to get a strong sense for where my leads come from, and that helps me better focus my business development activities.
Are there any basic metrics you track for your business?
All Aboard! Sharing Positioning With Non-Marketers
Whenever I teach a positioning class or kick off a positioning workshop, one of the first things I say is that positioning statements are generally internal-use-only documents. This is not because they contain secrets – any marketing communication you create will reflect your positioning. Rather, it’s because positioning statements are written for the strategic purpose of getting the marketing team on the same page using clear, basic language. Plus, the standard positioning format makes for a pretty grammatically awkward sentence. You can see the template by clicking here.
But what happens when you want to share your positioning with the non-marketers in your company? One of my clients, Savant Capital Management, recently created an elegant internal communication tool that will eventually be distributed to all 100 of its employees to help them better understand 1) their target client’s profile and 2) the marketing message foundation.
The rollout will start with one-on-one meetings between the marketing team and each of Savant’s investment advisors to make sure they understand the strategy and how to use it to clearly and consistently communicate with both potential and existing clients. The document will also be used as part of every new employee’s orientation process.
Savant has given me permission to share this document so take a look here!