You can’t plan marketing in a vacuum. You need to know how your business stacks up, in terms of the values it offers to its chosen target market. Key marketing tactics including pricing, messaging, and distribution, while others are about positioning your business against the background of the other offerings. How do you stack up against the others?
The goal is positioning, setting your business up against the background of other offerings; and making that positioning clear to the target market. How are you going to take advantage of your distinctive differences, in your customers’ eyes? What are you doing better? How do you work towards strengths and away from weaknesses? What do you want the world to think and say about you and how you compare to others?
I included Kotler’s simple strategic positioning map of breakfast in the discussion of Strategic Positioning as part of strategy. You can easily draw your own map with any two factors of competition to see how a market stacks up. Another example is my own rendition of a positioning map related to popular automobiles, which you could fill in as you like.
You’ll also see positioning maps set up with two axes, vertical and horizontal. It’s quite common to see price on one axis and some important qualitative factor on the other, with the assumption that there should be a rough relationship between price and quality. For example:
Looking at the map below, you might say that the hamburger and Restaurants A and B are priced appropriately, while upscale sandwich is a good deal, and Restaurant C is a bad deal. And you might also praise the marketing for Restaurant C, or perhaps predict that Restaurant C is likely to have a declining business. Fooling people, as the chart implies Restaurant C is doing, is rarely good business.