Positioning is the fight for the consumers mind. The different marketers want to secure a place in the mind of the target consumer. To do this the marketers use "positioning". What this means is that the marketers want their product to come to mind when the consumer thinks about purchasing that product type.
For example: The marketers of "Liril" soap want the people to think "Liril" when they think soap. The marketers of "Colgate" want the consumers to think "Colgate" when they think toothpaste etc.
In India, "Xerox" is what comes to mind when people think of "photo-copying". "Colgate" comes to the mind of people when they think toothpaste. However, now with intensive competition things are changing.
Positioning a product in the minds of the consumer is becoming harder. However, positioning is going to play a very important role in marketing in an overly competitive environment.
If you have a particular product or service, then you want people to think of you when they think of buying the kind of product or service you sell. In India there are few stores that hold a strong positioning in the mind of the consumers. In other countries, there are special stores where you can go only to go to do your laundry. There are special stores where you can go only to "Xerox". There are special stores that are dedicated only for the buying of candles, perfumes etc. These stores have a strong positioning in the minds of the consumers. When the consumer thinks candles he goes to the candles store. When the consumer thinks "Xerox" he goes to the copying stores.
In India we have a lot of general stores. The "Banya" shop has everything in it. There are few specialized stores. There are specialized "Hardware shops" or in the whole sale market there are whole shops dedicated to the selling of one item like "ropes" etc. However these stores are not everywhere and their positioning in the mind of the consumer is not very strong.
Besides this, there are many specialized stores that are given vague names that make it hard for them to be positioned strongly in the mind of the consumer. For example: a hardware store might be given a name "Murarilal And Sons". This makes it unclear to the consumer what the store sells unless he is given the reference of the store or visits the store himself. This might have been okay when the competition was not very large. However, as the competition increases, if a store aims to get new customers, it has to change its name to a name that represents what the store is about. If this is not done, all the new business will go to stores that are well positioned in the minds of the consumers.
If you are a business selling a product in an already saturated segment of the market like tooth-paste or face creams etc. you have to position your product in the minds of your consumers cleverly.
For example, in the case of fairness creams the first thing that comes to the consumers mind is generally “Fair and Lovely”. “Fair and lovely” is very well positioned in the minds of the consumers. Lunching a product to change this position of “Fair and Lovely” in the minds of the consumers may be hard. However, if you position your fairness cream in the minds of the consumers on the basis of some unique selling point then maybe you might have a place in the mind of the consumer. For example: If your ads say that yours is a fairness cream specially designed for oily skin then you have a position in the minds of the consumer. If a consumer with oily skin thinks about a fairness cream, they will think about your cream.
Consider the case of Dominoes Pizza. They have positioned them selves in the minds of the consumers as “fast home delivery of pizza under 30 minutes”. Because of this “Pizza Hut” has become the place to go and eat pizza but “Dominoes” is what you think of when you think home delivery of pizza. This is what positing is all about. Finding a place in the customers head.
Positioning has to be specific. The more specific, the better will the positioning be. For example, consider three stores:
If a woman was to think about buying new shoes and she knew about these above stated options, then she would most likely go to the third store. That is the store that will come to her mind when she thinks about buying shoes.
People are more likely to trust specialists than generalists. If you are to have an open heart surgery, who would you trust, a general surgeon or a specialist heart surgeon?
This is what positioning is all about. It’s about finding a place in the minds of the consumers. Making the consumers think of you when they want something you are selling. The best way to achieve this is to clearly differentiate yourself from you competition in what you are offering and clearly tell the consumer exactly what you are offering.
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