Positioning for profit

Whether your business is system integration, system building, or retailing, your perceived company’s positioning and how well each employee aligns to it will dictate your success in your marketspace. With relentless technological change, tight margins and increasing demands from savvy clients, it’s

no wonder resellers are always looking for innovative ways of not only staying in business, but staying profitable. To prosper, resellers need happy clients. So how do you grow a network of satisfied clients? Unlike the industry that changes constantly, the key to satisfied customers has always remained the same — position yourself competitively in your marketspace and maximize every customer interaction for mutual benefit.

You’ve heard the mantra over and over, don’t sell boxes, but rather wrap value-add around the box to buffer your margins and keep customers coming back. But if your competitors are all doing this too, how can you differentiate your company? Distinguish your company by developing a unique positioning statement that explicitly communicates your product and/or service benefits in a way that resonates with your target audience.

For instance, Questrade is a direct access online brokerage. Its positioning statement is “Questrade is one of the fastest growing Canadian online brokerages and offers active traders high-speed, low-cost, direct access trading.” This simple umbrella message is effective since it neatly states what the company does as well as the benefits that clients will receive. Choosing compelling traits that are poorly represented by competitors will position your company competitively in your chosen market and help differentiate it in the minds of customers.

Once the positioning has been developed, implement it throughout the organization. The key is to be consistent in the messaging and ensure that all employees are actively aligned to it. The most effective way to achieve this is by formulating a messaging framework that everyone in your company follows. The messaging framework outlines in a nutshell your company’s positioning statement as well as supporting key messages that should be defined by quantifiable unique benefits that your customers experience when they buy your products or services.

All employees, from frontline staff to backend warehouse employees, must live and breath the company’s positioning. This means that everyone in your organization must always use the same words in the same order when describing what your company does. In the Questrade example, the company’s messaging would be compromised if the president, support staff and receptionist each used different words to describe the company’s offerings. If you asked anyone at the Company what they do, the answer should always reflect the company’s unique positioning statement.

By developing consistent messaging and deploying it throughout the organization, the company brings clarity to every customer interaction. At every touch point, customers will receive the value proposition of what it means to do business with your company. When all facets of a company are aligned, customer satisfaction improves because customers get what they expect and sometimes more. When messaging does not align with the actual experience of doing business with your company, you lose customers.

If one of your business’ key messages is “going the extra mile,” then it is essential that every facet of your company, and not just customer facing employees, are squarely aligned with your “going the extra mile” customer care philosophy. If you express the benefits of offering great service, your clients will expect every contact with your company to be just as rewarding.

So start the New Year off right and get back to basics with an effective positioning statement and strong messaging framework. Use the power of effective messaging to reinforce the tangible benefits you offer customers, every time they think of you.

Cyrus Mavalwala has more than a decade of B2B and B2C communications experience. Advantis Communications Inc. drives results with public relations programs that communicate the right messages to employees, customers and the media. Contact Cyrus at cyrus@advantiscomm.com or visit www.advantiscomm.com.

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