STP Approach – Market Positioning – Process, Strategies

Market Positioning refers to the activities taken by a marketer to create a distinct image of a product, brand, offer or company in the minds of prospective customers or target segment.

According to Philip Kotler “Market Positioning is the act of designing the company’s offerings and image to occupy a distinctive place in the target market’s mind.”

According to William Stanton – “Positioning means developing the image that a product projects in relation to competitive products and to firm`s other products.”

Market positioning helps to simplify the buying decision of a customer by creating a complex set of perceptions, impressions and feelings about a product compared with competing products. The main questions that a marketer has to answer in order to formulate an effective market positioning strategy are –

  1. Who am I? — Individual, Business, Organization

  2. For whom am I? — Target Market

  3. What am I? — Product, Service, Event, Experience etc.

  4. Why me? — Product and Brand Attributes that influence customers

The main objective of Market Positioning is to create a favourable perception of a product or brand in the minds of the target segment. It involves positioning a brand or product in such a way that –

  1. It appears attractive to the customer

  2. It differentiates itself from what competitors are offering

  3. It has a positive image in the minds of the consumer

  4. It links the product offer with the target market

  5. It provides competitive edge

Process of Market Positioning

Identify a set of competitive advantages to differentiate the product from competitor`s product – A product can be differentiated on the basis of its design, performance, consistency, durability, reliability, superior quality, affordable price, easy availability, superior after sale service, innovative technology etc.

Select the most appropriate set of competitive advantages to formulate a positioning strategy – It involves selection of the number and type of advantages that must be promoted to create a unique selling proposition. It may be best quality, best price, best service etc. Efforts are made to differentiate the product from its competitors.

Effectively communicating the desired position to the target market – It involves adjustment in the marketing mix of the company to communicate the desired position to a target segment and implementation of the positioning strategy through various advertising and promotional measures.

Monitoring and reviewing the Market Position – This step involves monitoring of the market position from time to time and matching it with consumer demands and competitors strategies. Efforts are made to maintain or enhance the desired position through consistent performance and active communication.

Market Positioning Strategies

Market Positioning involves selection of an appropriate marketing mix for each target market segment. The following variables are studied to form a market positioning strategy –

  1. What image the company wants to project to its customer?

  2. The pricing strategy of the company

  3. The type of product and utility of product

  4. Product life cycle

  5. How competitors project themselves?

  6. Brand attributes

  7. Consumer expectations from the product/service/brand/business

  8. Consumer perception – the perceived quality and value of brand

Positioning strategies involve differentiating a product from its competitors in terms of:

  1. Product Attributes

  2. Price or Quality

  3. Application/Use

  4. Users

  5. Product class

Re-positioning – It refers to the process of changing brand identity and product identity in the minds of the target market. It involves creation of fresh positioning strategies for an existing brand or product:

  1. To position the brand or product differently

  2. To change consumer`s perception about the brand or product

  3. To introduce new innovation adopted by the company which differentiates them from their competitors

Branding – It refers to the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumer’s mind through symbolic means and visual elements. It aims to –

  1. Establish significant and differentiated presence, and

  2. Create an emotional association with the product

It is essentially the process of building, maintaining and enhancing the image of a product or company through an attractive name, logo, images, fonts, colours, people etc. (symbolic and visual elements)

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