Developing An Advertising Position
Strategy For Your Small Business

by Tom Egelhoff

Author Tom Egelhoff In order to properly position your product, business or service you must look at the following steps:

Who's The Real Market?

If we were going to market a candy bar, who is our market?

A candy bar is a snack, source of energy, a reward to kids, in some cases a substitute for a meal.

Some chocolates are advertised as fat free. Candy could be a health food.

As a result it can be positioned in many different ways in many different markets. This first step is to find all the possible needs your business, product, or service fills.

Who Are Your Real Competitors?

Who are the real competitors of McDonald's? Burger King and Wendy's of course, but what about Pizza Hut, Arby's, Dairy Queen, and Subway?

Other hamburger places are direct competitors and other types of foods could be considered secondary competitors.

McDonald's tried, unsuccessfully, to introduce us to adult foods with their Arch Deluxe sandwich line. Trying to move away from what and who you are is never a good idea.

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How Do Consumers Evaluate Their Options?

Once you know this, positioning is a simple process. Customers who have problems are looking for products and services that will fill their needs.

How they evaluate you and your competition is the real key to positioning.

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How Are Your Competitors Perceived In The Marketplace?

Kraft Foods is a good example here. They're primarily know for cheese but try to enter other markets.

For example: Jams and Jellies. Number one brand, Smuckers -- Not Kraft.

Mayonnaise. Number one brand, Hellman's - Not Kraft.

Their best brand, 80% of the market, Philadelphia Cream Cheese. They've done an excellent job of positioning their cream cheese. They're perceived as the best in this category.

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Where Are The Gaps?

The Sharper Image catalog came along in the late 70's - early 80's featuring upscale, trendy, expensive gift ideas primarily for men in executive positions.

This was truly a gap that was not being filled by other merchants.

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Plan Your Work And Work Your Plan.

Once the position is decided upon, every piece of literature, every TV ad, newspaper, whatever must reinforce that position in the mind of the consumer.

Tell them where it is, how much it is, why its worth the price, and how to get it.

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Watch What Happens.

Evaluate the positioning plan and get feedback as often as possible from as many sources as possible. Monitor and adjust as needed as the market changes.

Would you buy any of the following: Ivory Shampoo, Life Savers Gum, Bic Pantyhose, Chanel For Men, Coors Water, Adidas Cologne, Pierre Cardin Wine, or Levi's Shoes.

All were on the market at one time or another. Don't make the same mistake in your business.

Create a position you can stand on and take a stand.

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