The Importance of Positioning

I just finished reading Positioning – The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout. This book is a must-have for marketers out there. I have gone through years of marketing education and none of my professors has ever recommended this book to me! The book was written a long time ago (original edition was published in the late 70’s/early 80’s I believe), however, the principles apply even today and I am extremely surprised by the insight and foresight presented in this book by the authors some 30 years ago.

Positioning should be taught in school as one of the P’s (Product, Price, Placement, Promotion and Positioning). Without proper positioning as it relates to the mind of your customers, you have no leg to stand on in our over communicated society and no hope to get your message heard. Now that I have read the book, I look at ads and brands in a different light.

I encourage you to read the book rather than just review online comments by me and others. It is an easy read and a short book. Some lessons out of the book for me are:

-We have to put our ego aside. It is primordial to brand and communicate from the outside in and not from the inside out (from the prospects point of view and not from your own point of view)

-We may have the best features but the prospect has very little time to listen to our message. In order for our message to get across, it must relate to what is already in the prospect’s mind for associations to be made or a position (a rung on the ladder in their mind) to be created in the mind.

I never realized until reading the book how important a name is. I will now be more careful when suggesting a name for a new product. Also, as a product manager, positioning should be defined early on; a point that was made by Roger L. Caulvin at a recent Ryma PMV Webinar on Product Management Domain Expertise. 

If anyone has read the book and would like to make a counterargument to anything suggested by Ries & Trout in their book, I would love to hear it. Any exchange on this topic would be interesting.

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