What Is a Positioning Message?

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Crouch in the northwest corner of the room, facing the wall, with your eyes closed and your arms covering your head.

Well, that’s ONE kind of positioning message…but not the kind this post is about. Today’s post focuses on the marketing term “positioning”: what it is, and how you can craft one to make your company stand out and sell more!

Jargon, jargon everywhere.

Marketing is full of all kinds of jargon: value proposition, marketing strategy, company vision, differentiators – the list goes on and on. Without knowledge of basic terminology, you can wind up feeling a little intimidated when tackling marketing initiatives.

But don’t let a little lingo overwhelm you. Instead of crouching in a corner, be bold and arm yourself with knowledge! Let’s break down exactly what a positioning message is and how you can craft one for your business:

A positioning message is a concise statement about your business, primarily for internal use, that defines how your products, services and/or brand satisfy customers’ needs in a way your competitors just can’t. It distinguishes your offerings from other companies’ in a way that matters to customers, by clearly explaining why they should buy from you.


A typical positioning statement is comprised of four elements:

1) Your target audience.

Who are your customers? Begin by defining to whom you sell, based on factors like geography, demographics, wants, needs, “pain points” (i.e., real or perceived problems they face) and more. If yours is a B2B company, you also need to consider the types of organizations you sell to, including industry, company size, business goals/challenges, and any other unifying characteristics. The more accurately you define your target audience, the more focused your positioning statement – and the more compelling your marketing can become.

2) Your category.

Also called “frame of reference,” your category provides context that gives your products/services relevance for customers. Think of your category as the label customers use to define what you are – allowing them to compare apples to apples, so to speak. Unlike the other elements of a positioning message, your category isn’t what makes you unique; it’s where your products/services stand in relation to customers’ other options.

3) Your unique differentiator(s).

Pinpoint what makes your offerings unique – and better than the competition. (To accomplish this, you must know what your competitors are up to). When identifying your primary differentiator(s), make sure you consider your offerings from the customer’s point of view (not your own). Consider:

a. Why do customers buy from you? (i.e., What sets you apart from the competition?)

b. What problems do you solve? (i.e., How are your products or services relevant?)

c. How do you make people’s lives better? (i.e., What are the quantifiable benefits your products or services deliver?)

4) The reason to believe.

This is exactly what it sounds like: evidence and reasons why your target customers can have confidence in the differentiation claims you make. This component of your positioning message “connects the dots” for customers, explaining how your differentiators will help them achieve whatever it is they want to achieve.

Putting it all together.

A standard positioning statement can be constructed in the following way:

For (target audience), (brand name) is the (category) that delivers (unique differentiators) because only (brand name) is (reason to believe).

Sounds simple, right?

Well it is…and it isn’t. Honestly, creating a strong, focused positioning statement is a weighty task, and it helps to have a marketing experts’ insight to ensure yours is compelling and accurate.

Are you working on your company’s messaging?

If you need assistance with any aspect of your company’s marketing, contact the Smart Marketing experts at Barqar today.

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