Positioning Matrix: Lifestyle, Pain, Brand, Product, or Features

What do you want to be, in your customers perspective? Consider your options, choose a position and a direction.

Amplify’d from www.web-strategist.com
Positioning Level Description When to use Drawbacks
Lifestyle An effort positioned at the the desires and experiences in the buyers life –not connected to products Works well in regulated industries (Wells Fargo, Amex, have deployed in this way), or companies who sell component products. Great for deploying at a new market when you’re trying to introduce a new concept or offering. Also strong at clinching competitive marketing space. While an ‘associative’ effort it may not be closely tied to the products and not drive prospects down the marketing funnel.
Pain Point Focusing on the trials, tribulations, and pain in a buyers life or work. It’s key to pointing out to customers the challenges that may exist in their life, then quickly move into product positioning.  Use this to connect to a prospect in the wider mouth of the marketing funnel, this is often a first hook. If a company only positions against pain they may not move customers down the funnel, quickly follow up with value statement and product introduction.
Brand Positioning directly on a company’s brand, much how Coke does it. A company that has an existing, established, brand promise can lean on this reputation as a standing point.  Standing on a brand promise –and the associated tagline –works well in reputation driven industries. Positioning against brand works for Coke and Pepsi, but it’s required millions over decades to have this level of recognition –most cannot hinge entire effort on this level
Product Focusing on the product itself, such as discussing a new car –but not it’s features. Use when your brand is established and releasing a new product set, use this level to sub segment into a new product category. Many tech vendors that brief me start at this level but forget to focus on ‘why’ this product exists as they’ve built a company around a technology –instead of around a customer need
Features Focusing on features such as speeds and feeds, this positioning competes at sub product level. Used to compare in a crowded market when there are established players and little deviation at brand or product level.  Often used in consideration and buy stage of a product. This is granular and may not be effective in new markets, or markets where consumers only care about the outcome of buying the product.

Use this Framework

  • Use value statements in your positioning –at each level. Positioning at each level still requires a value statement that answers “What’s in it for me?” for example, lifestyle is the opportunity to connect, gauge, or interface with peers.
  • Use all levels in a coordinated effort.  This framework isn’t about using only one level at a time, but the sophisticated marketer will deploy all levels and know how to amp up one of the other at the right moment.
  • Funnel your prospects through the phases. The savvy will know how to shift prospects to the various levels at the right moment, and customers will arrive into the marketing funnel at different levels –know how to advance them to the right level at the right time.

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