Value, USP, Position, Ladder

Back in 1969, Ries and Trout wrote an article describing Positioning as a battle for the buyer’s mind. A Brand occupies at most 1K of space in the brain. It is an accumulation of thoughts, facts, feelings associated with that company or product. Most times that 1K is blank – the buyer has no data on your brand, product, service or company. Ogilvy defined positioning as “what a product does, and who it is for”. “Positioning refers to the place that a brand occupies in the minds of the customers and how it is distinguished from the products of the competitors.” It is mainly about the differentiation.

Positioning is closely related to the concept of perceived value. Value is the benefit above the costs that a customer gets. [ Value = Benefits – (Cost+Risk) ]

One way I like to put it is: “Why you and not them?” That is the Value Proposition. “A value proposition is a statement which identifies clear, measurable and demonstrable benefits consumers get when buying a particular product or service.” [source]

Jill Konrath writes about how to craft a value prop HERE. Davis Kahle writes about Value Prop HERE. You talk to your clients. I suggest a 360 degree view where you talk to your employees, partners and customers. [My slides on this topic are HERE.]

Your Value Prop is the basis for marketing.

Another way to do positioning is through Laddering. NYU Prof. Scott Galloway writes, “Laddering is an attempt to de-position a competitor by highlighting one of your strengths, which just happens to be your competitor’s weakness. You cast yourself in a positive light, while at the same time casting a negative light on them.”

“Laddering is effective, as it’s a twofer — people are organically reminded how much your adversary sucks, and by contrast how wonderful you are. We have an easier time believing people are bad vs. good — a survival mechanism.”

Some people like to boil all this down to a unique sales pitch (USP). Doesn’t matter what you call it, you better have a way to explain how you are the choice over the other guy. Coke and Pepsi, McDonalds and Burger King, Tide and every other detergent, Budweiser and other beer – this has been going on for years. Sometimes the slogan is mistaken for a USP. It is all about Why buy mine instead of theirs.

Vonage, RingCentral, 8×8, Nextiva and the other 2000+ UC providers have to figure it out as it is a commodity now. They better figure it our for Cloud Contact Center and CPaaS fast.

In 2019, crafting Value Propositions has been a majority of the projects I am working on. Need help with yours call the office at (813) 963-5884.

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