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How do you define what the difference is between positioning and messaging? And when have you used either?

4 Answers
Connie Woo
Connie Woo
OpenTable Director of Product MarketingJanuary 5

Positioning is the strategy behind the marketing of your product. It incapsulates what the product is, who it's for and what value it adds, and is backed by research and insights. Positioning often comes to life in internal materials (e.g., briefs, GTM plans, etc) and sales enablement/training, so everyone is on the same page about strategy. 

Messaging is how you're going to get your target audience to buy into your product. It has a greater element of creative zest to charm the audience you're going after, and shows up in your various channels and collateral. Messaging should always be conveyed in a way that resonates deeply with your target customerbase.

Elements of Positioning and Messaging may overlap though, considering they both address the value your product delivers!

885 Views
Jeff Hardison
Jeff Hardison
Calendly Head of Product MarketingMay 18

One thing I've seen work is positioning "positioning" as business strategy or a business plan versus marketing "words" we want people to think about and use.

Positioning is the company's strategy — based on research and expertise — for who we're going after (e.g., sales teams) with what category of product (scheduling automation) to solve what problems or address what jobs to be done (qualify, route, and schedule meetings via the marketing website) to achieve a business outcomes (shorten the sales cycle, improve the customer experience in the buying process, generate more eager leads, etc.). Unlike the competition (name them), you can self-serve and launch our product for this in 30 minutes — versus weeks with technical help.

The positioning is the company's strategy for winning. It's not just marketing stuff on a page.

Sure, marketing will do things to tell this story, but the whole company will also rally around the strategy. Product will continue to differentiate us from the competition with better UX, new features, and integrations. Sales will prioritize sales-team buyers. CS will help support and track the business outcomes our customers got excited about.

Messaging, on the other hand, are the words we will all use to talk about the offering, benefits, differentiation, etc. when engaging with customers, creating ads, writing emails, drafting sales scripts, and so on.

517 Views
Monty Wolper
Monty Wolper
The New York Times Executive Director, Head of Product MarketingOctober 25

Positioning and messaging are different, but tightly intertwined. There hasn’t been a time where I’ve done one without the other. Positioning statements are an internal framework used to identify what’s unique about a product. As the name suggests, this informs how a product is positioned and therefore perceived. Messaging is the words used to convey that unique value to customers. It's the  mechanism by which the positioning statement comes to life in a compelling way. It’s important to start by crafting a positioning statement because there is no basis for a messaging strategy without it. First, it’s helpful to establish what sets your product apart before you can clearly articulate to customers why it’s uniquely positioned to benefit them. A positioning statement should cover: what you’re selling (the product), who it’s for (the target audience), what problem it’s solving (the need or opportunity), why they should care (key benefits), and how it’s better than alternatives (the competition). Once these positioning statements are established, you can begin translating them into clear and concise messaging that compels customers to take action.

466 Views
Chris Glanzman
Chris Glanzman
ESO Director of Product Marketing & Demand GenerationOctober 14

This is a super common question with a fairly universal answer. The common theme: Positioning is an internal strategy asset, and Messaging shares that perspective in a way your customers will understand and remember.

A few groups that have done a good job of answering this in detail:

392 Views
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