Building Your Position:
Laying the Groundwork of Your
Future Marketing Efforts
Last month, we discussed the basic underpinnings of positioning, that cornerstone of personal marketing that creates an indelible image of you in your prospect’s mind. However, we understand that to many people (including some advertising professionals), positioning is still a hazy concept. So we’re going to show you, step-by-step, how to create an exploit your powerful, unique marketing position to help you in building your position.
The First Three Steps
You need to begin by following the three steps listed in last month’s blog posts:
- – Get the scoop on your competitors and their positioning.
- – List the interests, areas of personal history and areas of knowledge that are most notable and unique about you.
- – Take note of your target audience—their careers, their interests, the services that are likely to appeal to them.
Determine Buying Factors
Once you’ve completed the previous steps, you should move onto the following list. Start by examining the factors that the people in your target audience use to make buying decisions. Are they more concerned about cost? Quality? Reputation? Convenience? Experience? You need to discover what things motivate your prospects to contact a financial advisor, and to choose someone to help them invest and plan. With some observation, you can deduce these factors effectively.
Talk With Your Clients
Meet with some current clients over breakfast or lunch, your treat. Tell them you’re performing some market research and ask them if they’ll answer some questions for you. Questions like “What factors made you choose me as your advisor?” and “What would you say are my greatest strengths and weaknesses as a professional?” can really surprise you, and shed some light on how your clients perceive you. Be prepared to encourage candor and receive it.
Now you have a wealth of raw information. It’s time to put it to work. Combine your attributes, the characteristics of your target audience, their buying factors and the input of your current clients to create a list of important points to be included in your positioning statement. Make a simple matrix that looks like this:
Attributes Target Audience Buying Factors Input
Harvard Educucation Entrepreneurial Knowledgeable Attention
Write a sample positioning statement of 20-30 words. Set it aside for a day, then look at it again. Rewrite it if necessary. Does it sum you up effectively? Don’t solicit the opinions of your current clients, since the position may be written with a different target audience in mind. Once you get a positioning statement that works, make it the basis for all your marketing. Remember, your positioning statement won’t be seen by your clients, but it’s your internal roadmap that should direct all your marketing. Some sample positioning statements:
“The corporate retirement specialist who appreciates travel and the finer things in life, and works to help employees and executives enjoy them.”
“The Harvard-educated stockbroker who’s worked as a corporate executive and turnaround specialist, and is well-equipped to help you choose the right companies for your equity investments.”
“A divorced woman who specializes in helping divorcing couples find mutually acceptable financial solutions, and helps each get back on the road to independent financial growth.”
“The child of the ’60s who’s a regular volunteer, understands the principles of social responsibility, and helps clients make investments which are socially and environmentally responsible.”
Test Your Position
If you’ve done proper research, you should have a strong, valid position. But there’s only one way to test it, and that’s to use it. Start by using your position as the basis for your marketing materials. Build your personal slogan around it. Use it to inspire graphics and copy for your brochure. Use it as a basis for direct mail messages—for example, if you’ve taken a position as an Internet stock expert, send out mailers with headlines like “Finally, stock tips that will really make you say Yahoo!” Put your position into the marketplace consistently and effectively and see how people react to it.
Protecting Your Position
Once you’ve established your position, you’re a target. A strong position is like a strategic hill on a battlefield; everyone wants it. Here are some tips for holding your position in the face of competitors:
Be first. There’s no substitute for getting there before the other guy.
Advertise consistently and aggressively.
When someone appears mimicking your position, look for weaknesses in his marketing and exploit them.
Build a strong referral base. Once people know you, like you and are comfortable doing business with you, they’re unlikely to switch to someone else.
For more Small Business Hints and Tips, check these articles:
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Mark Montoya has been working in personal branding for more than a decade for hundreds of online and offline companies, small businesses and individual service professionals. His focus has been toward improving the way jobseekers find employment on the Internet. He has synthesized his expertise by helping job seekers obtain their ideal choice of employment over the Internet on his sites MyOnlineCareerSpace.com and MyOnlineCareerCoach.com, and through his books 101 Tips Every Job Seeker Should Know and The Ultimate Online Job Search eBook.
“It is the responsibility of the individual to reject the prospect of mediocrity and to strive for the betterment of society as a whole” ~ Mark Montoya