How does competitive positioning relate to general positioning? What frameworks do you use to help the company understand the difference?
Competitive posititioning is a core element of product positioning. The primary architecture of brand and product-level positioning comes down to this:
- Audience: Who are you primarily building for and marketing to?
- Pain/Enemy: What is their biggest pain point or problem?
- Solution: How do you address this problem?
- Differentiation: What makes your approach to solving this problem different and better?
- Urgency: Why is now an important right time to address this issue?
Competitive positioning lives under that differentiation bullet and it's the why behind your whole brand. The sharper and more defensible that is the better. You should not tackle specific competitors in the positioning doc, but you can broadly categorize them. For example, "Unlike clunky enterprise platforms, our platform is built for the way people work today."
Competitive positioning is basically a zoomed in version of your overall positioning. If you think of a competitive matrix, your overall positioning puts you on the map. How you're positioned versus a specific competitor zooms into the matrix and describes your exact position relative to this one other specific data point. Also, all positioning is competitive in a world where you have competitors.
Not everyone in your company will understand the difference and that's ok. When I think about enabling positioning for the company, I just want them to understand the concept and why it's so important. They don't need to get too deep into the PMM terminology.
When your company only has one product, the product positioning is the company positioning. The next growth phase would be a portfolio of products. Say we are are the professional services cloud with one product for accountants another for consultants another for lawyers and finally one for bankers. Here the value offered by the product can differ to the value of the company or brand in other words. the idea should be 1+1+1+1=5. Finally, when you have multiple portfolios the issue becomes more one of what impact are you having on your community irrespective of your portfolio or product
Positioning reflects what your company uniquely provides a specific audience in a particular market. It shouldn’t require multiple facets like general and competitive positioning.
That said if you are finding that your audience is comparing you against one competitor in particular you can find ways to do comparisons on value, features, pricing, ROI, time to value, and other metrics in a direct comparison chart, through case studies or calculators, or with enablement to your sales team. But you could be doing more harm than good in pursuing this as you’re giving competitors air time.
These aren't different things. Competitive is part of overall positioning.
Product positioning should include evidence, details and decisions based on:
- Competitive intelligence
- Pricing decisions
- Market need
- Market potential
- Your product and, based on the above, its differentiators
- The value proposition and mission that your teams establish, based on the above