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The Pragmatist’s Guide to Small Business Marketing

Ep. 2: Positioning


When I talk about Positioning, I’m not referring to your market position, how much of it you own and want to capture, or your Mission or Vision Statements. That stuff is all good to have in a marketing and business plan. What I’m getting at with Positioning, is the essence of what makes your business unique… what difference do you make for clients, what’s your ‘secret sauce’ and it serves as the cornerstone of your marketing message.

When I work with clients to develop their Positioning Statement, they often liken it to being on a shrink’s couch. It’s about telling your story in a way that resonates. That’s not an easy exercise if you’re attempting it by yourself.

I often encounter clients who confuse Positioning with Vision and Mission. Those two things are targets, goals. Positioning is the essence of your story.

Here’s what Positioning helps you communicate:

  • Who you are and why it matters
  • What your business is (not what you do, but the outcome you deliver)
  • What you’re not
  • Who you serve
  • What your ‘secret sauce’ is
  • What feelings you want to leave clients with

As mentioned, getting to a working Positioning statement is a deep process and not really something that can be done by yourself. Work with someone objective on it. Someone who will play devil’s advocate and will push you past ‘who cares’ type information like price, quality and service. If you can get the right person to help you with it, you’ll have a story that’s compelling and that differentiates you from the competition, making your business an ‘a-ha’ business.