“There’s a lemming – let’s follow it.”

distinct positioning

Positioning is one of the main weapons in the marketing armoury; particularly when many companies simply fiddle around the edges when attempting to ‘position’ themselves.

When you next get the chance, glance up at the clear night sky and point at the first thing you notice. You’re more likely to point at the moon rather than the second star in Orion’s belt. That’s because the moon has distinct positioning!

Time for an experiment: Glossy paper collecting

On your next afternoon off, get into your car and visit, say, three travels agents. Collect as many holiday brochures as you can. Next, visit three car dealerships and again pick up as many car brochures as you can. After that ordeal, wander into three high street banks and collect as many leaflets as they’ll let you get away with. Put them all into a sack and take them home. Then buy a bag of sweets and bribe a four-year-old child to organise the mountain of glossy paper, you’ve collected, into three distinct piles. There you have it, one pile will have brochures on holidays, one for cars and one for finance offers. The whole lot of them, too afraid to go for unique and distinct visual positioning, have instead gone for the usual self-obsessed shelter of matrix-driven market positioning. You now have the evidence.

Distinct positioning, particularly in a mature marketplace, is rare. But if you go for it and get it right then you’re home and dry.

The secret to distinct positioning success

The trick is to be distinct from the competition by constantly pushing your target’s hot button. When your competition zig then you zag. It really does work but always remember – hit that hot button! And it doesn’t matter if your competition has the same hot button. The rule is: it’s not the first to have it, it’s the first to say it and then keep saying it! Or to quote an American adage; it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese.

CASE STUDY: Are those sheep old enough to drink?

A few years ago a marketing chap from London suddenly had enough of crowded tube trains and purchased a large public house in the middle of the countryside. The location included a fairly large restaurant and this ex-marketeer worked very hard at making his new career – as a landlord – a great success. After six months, things were not going at all well. No-one was coming into the restaurant, and the bar contained the same two farmers and three sheep every night. Turnover was virtually nonexistent and the bank was beginning to fly in ‘vulture like’ circles above his head. There was definitely a smell of death in the air. Our ex-marketeer went to bed that night but instead of counting sheep in an attempt to sleep, he said to himself ‘I’ve got nearly twenty years experience in marketing – there must be a solution somewhere’.

The country pub is now a huge success. People come from miles around. They pay very high prices but still have to book days in advance – for the best specialist seafood restaurant in the county. That is what market positioning is all about!

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