Boone and Kurtz have defined product positioning ‘consumers’ perception of a product’s attributed, uses, quality, and advantages and disadvantages relative to competing brands’ . Positioning is part of effective marketing and involves the presentation of products in a manner that is most appealing to target audiences. It can be linked to marketing segmentation, which is the early identification of consumer groups that marketing initiatives will be targeting. After market segmentation is completed, product positioning aims to generate symbols and messages, through manipulation, that would create the highest likelihood of attaining target consumer interest.
While the concept may sound sophisticated and meant for only large organizations, product positioning is applicable to large, medium and small businesses alike. For any business to be successful, it is crucial to know which consumer base is most likely to be interested in the product or service being example. For example, while video games can be bought and used by people of nearly every age, they have been most popular with teens and young adults. As such, the product position of this products and related services will be customized as per the preferences of this demographic group. Similarly, every business and product would rely on effective market segmentation and product positioning to clinch a healthy customer base.
Introducing a product to the market can have very high cost implications as it involves packaging, advertising and promotional initiatives, as well as providing perks for the supply chain. Until and unless positioning is well planned, there is a great risk of funds being ill-employed and wasted. While market segmentation allows an organization to focus its resources towards the most effective target audience, positioning ensures that funds are spent on the right methods, messages, designing, distribution, communicating and marketing channels. In both cases, there enhanced focus on targeted sales and cost optimization which, inadvertently, increases profit margins.
While product positioning ideally focuses on a single target consumer group, this does not imply that other segments are ignored. Often, organizations can identify multiple consumer groups with varying levels of interest in the product or service being offered. The group that is most interested, naturally, becomes the top priority in positioning efforts. Other groups are also prioritized based on interest levels. Organizations may choose to channel a part of product positioning funds towards these groups as well. In such cases, while the product and its packaging remain the same, other aspects such as advertizing and promotions can be altered in a manner that would appeal to secondary groups. These are then displayed and conveyed through media that the secondary groups are more likely to view.
Taking the example of video games, while their target audience is the youth, the Sony Playstation also targeted families, promoting their consoles as a form of family entertainment . This approach allows organizations to widen their consumer bases and include multiple demographics. This, in turn, lends stability to the organizations sales figures and revenue generation, which can be highly beneficial in markets where competition is tough and there is limited product differentiation. In such cases, effective and innovative product position can enable organizations to not only retain existing clientele but also acquire new customers. As such, it can be said that product position is a crucial part of any organization’s marketing plans and can prove to be a great benefit if planned and implemented effectively.
Boone, Louis E. and David L. Kurts. Contemporary Marketing. Houston: Thomson South-Western, 2006.
Purchese, Robert. Sony aiming PS3 at young gamers and families in 2012. 5 December 2011. 26 March 2013