AlanPositioningProduct MarketingWin/Loss Analysis

Positioning beyond the product: Think relationship

When I say “positioning”, what do you think of?

Although tech companies have moved beyond marketing features and functions, many of them still talk mostly about the product. I spend my days interviewing buyers and analyzing how they make purchasing decisions, and I can tell you this: the product is only a part of the overall consideration. You will be more successful if you take your positioning beyond the product.

When your buyers are looking at products, they think very little about product features. They think mostly about their goals and problems, and how you can help them. They think about the risk of failure and the probability of success. When they check your references, they are not just asking about whether your product works as advertised. They want to talk with people who have been in their shoes and been successful because of a relationship with your company.

Buying a significant product is a little like signing up for a long-term relationship. When you are dating, you might at first be excited about a person’s looks, earning potential, or other aspects of their person. But as you get to know them and consider a deeper relationship (when you “buy the product”), you start to think about what your life will be like with that person. Then it’s less about their features and more about your life with them as a part.

Significant product purchases are similar. Your buyers think about what their lives will be like with you as a big part. Will you respect them? Do you have the expertise to help them when needed? Are you attentive? Can they be happier with you in their lives than with your competitor in their lives?

As you talk with your potential buyers and existing customers, listen for cues about the relationship. Dig below product features. When a feature is mentioned, ask what impact that feature has on their jobs, on whether they achieve their objectives, and even on their general happiness.

Your buyers are more emotional than you think. If you don’t think so, interview them as though you were asking them about a relationship with you. With your product. With your company.

– Alan

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  1. Ninon Laforce

    Yes, sometimes we get caught up in our product’s features and functionality and forget about the customer. Segmenting the market, positioning and tailoring our product/service offering to address specific problems or add-value or make things easier for customers today and in the future remind us of the long-term relationship we need to establish. Customers don’t just buy a product but a combination of tangibles and intagibles that surrounds the product (customer service, ease of purchase, add-on cost over the life of the product, etc. etc.).

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