A useful tool for deciding how to ‘position’ your products and services is the Porter Generic Strategy Model (developed by Michael E. Porter (1998), Harvard Business School Professor and author of numerous texts on strategy).
The model suggests that businesses are most successful when they target one area of the market only. Rolls Royce, for example, goes after a niche market with a high degree of differentiation. Asda, on the other hand, goes after a total market using a low price strategy.
Take a look at some of the top well-known companies, where do you think these well-known companies position themselves in the market?
- British Airways
- John Lewis
Now, indicate where your business currently is and where you want it to be. This exercise will ALSO tell you where to focus your marketing efforts, namely in the upper right-hand quarter of each grid (high growth and relatively easy). By focusing your energy on offering the right things to the right groups, your marketing will be more successful.
Deciding which box you fit into (or wish to fit into) will help you write your business plan, focus your marketing and define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
So what constitutes an effective USP?
Before you design your logo or write a clever slogan, you need to identify your USP.
This is what gives you an advantage over your competitors as it differentiates you from them.
A winning USP:
- Makes a proposition to the customer that you will provide a specific benefit to them
- Includes a benefit that your competitors can’t or don’t offer
- Is a strong enough promise that it attracts customers
Examples of successful USPs include Apple’s commitment to the most intuitive, sleekly designed technology, Spar’s focus on speed and convenience (or opening hours) and Ryan Air’s focus on price.
Start by asking yourself and your team members to identify the following:
- The business you are in
- Your current and desired customers
- Your competition
- What makes you different
- The unique benefits that you offer your customers
Remember: “It’s more important to be different than it is to be better.”