Positioning is the art of differentiating your business from your competitors so potential clients know if you’re the right fit for them. It’s that ‘je ne sais quoi’ that sets us apart from others in our category.
It’s important to figure out your positioning so you’ll stand out from the masses who do what you do (hairdressers, auto mechanics, coaching, marketing, whatever your ‘category’ is).
Standing out helps you make more sales to the right people – that’s the purpose!
Small business clients almost always tell me they have no competition because no one does exactly what they do.
That’s a huge misassumption that is costing you earnings! Your market perceives that all companies in your category are relatively similar. It’s up to each business owner to help their market understand how they are unique, special or have higher value.
Naturally, a company owner’s beliefs enter into the task of marketing. Especially in service businesses, I think it’s critical to listen respectfully to clients at an intuitive level, see how they react, and advise them with truth and honesty. If we just impose our standard works-for-everyone-else products or ideas onto their business, we’re not being truly respectful of their deeper needs.
That’s why customers get so irritated with large corporate entities! Small businesses have a distinct advantage this way.
HOW TO DO IT THE WRONG WAY
Unfortunately, many businesses still sadly promote their positioning as “superior service”, an overused and meaningless term in our current culture and one which they mistakenly think sets them apart. After all, Nordstroms says they give great service, and McDonalds says the same thing. You can’t evaluate service until after you make a purchase, so it’s just not effective positioning.
MY OWN EXPERIENCE WITH “POSITIONING”
I started my own business evolving from musicianto film and TV director/production manager to marketing while managing businesses along the way. Finally I learned what I really wanted to express was both my creative and practical side using the full breadth of my experience studying human behavior, communications, anthropology, how people react (that’s what acting and directing teach), design, and management.
I wanted to help business owners evolve using their own inner creativity, purpose, talents and resources with sound management practices. I needed an entire team of talent that I could direct to support these clients.
I watched so many owners abandon their deeper beliefs or spirit as they grew their companies – losing their founding principles while being distracted with employee problems, financial disasters, lawsuits, sales fluctuations, and other complex management issues. I knew there was a method for bringing one’s entrepreneurial spirit back into one’s company.
From this evolution, I eventually derived the description of our unique agency that brings all marketing (plus time and cost efficiency) under one roof: “Total Marketing Services. Total Bliss.” And our tagline: “Knowledge is Bliss” – which means that I help CEO’s and business owners gain the information they need, so they can make good decisions to bring results.
Is it perfect? Nope. It never is because we’re continually evolving as humans and as business owners. But one has to start somewhere!
HOW DOES POSITIONING EVOLVE? THE INQUIRY
I find that once a person’s beliefs are defined, it’s relatively easy to bring those beliefs into everyday practice at work—whether one is an abstaining nun devoting their body to Christ, a Buddhist monk living in the moment or just your basic entrepreneur trying to get through your day in an ethical and caring manner while earning a living. In business, we manifest our skills and talents in our work.
HOW REVENUES INCREASED
Once this kind of inner positioning really became clear to me with my own business (after an entire decade in business!), I was able to start discussing the spirit of marketing with my clients. I started attracting the perfect kinds of clients for me and my revenues shot up. The same happens for my clients whom I teach to understand their market and themselves on an intuitive or value/spirit level so that they can fulfill their deeper purpose with greater ease and financial gain.
Instead of five figure market research, here’s a method I created to position my clients – which I found was almost impossible to do for oneself. I call it my Knowledge is Bliss business evaluation.
This service makes it so easy for a business CEO or owner to understand one’s own value and positioning amongst the rest of their competitors. When you know that, it’s completely obvious what your company should promote. That is one of the great marketing secrets to generating increased revenues!
ONE CLIENT’S SUCCESS
This company had been providing extremely high level work that had just been devalued because they didn’t know how unique their skills and education were compared to their competitors. Our evaluation revealed that so they could be re-energized and earn what they truly deserved:
“I’m so delightfully surprised by the impact that this
business evaluation has had on my company – it is far
more than I had originally anticipated. I’ve noticed that
I’m several thousand dollars ahead of my earnings
last year resulting from this marketing advice.”
– Kathleen Kline, Kathleen Kline & Associates