Focus Your Positioning on Buying, Not Selling

Amidst trying to not only define positioning, but also provide a concrete example that can resonate with a general audience, we have found ourselves continuously coming back to Geoffrey A. Moore’s take on positioning. In his book, Crossing the Chasm, Moore articulates numerous key principles to consider when developing one’s positioning statement that are applicable to most, if not all, industries.

  “Positioning is the most discussed and least understood component of... marketing.”
- Geoffrey A. Moore

Before diving into Moore’s take on positioning, we’ve defined positioning for you: Positioning is the strategic promotion of your product/service/brand, tailored for a defined audience, in a specified sector of a market (a.k.a., a niche market).

A key principle when trying to craft a strong positioning statement is to approach your positioning statement from the buyer’s perspective. Your positioning is only as good as it is understandable and relevant in the minds of your potential buyer. For a buyer, if anything is lost in translation or is left a mystery it can and will correlate to hesitation to buy, and a lowered chance to buy. Focus your positioning on your ideal customer buying, not on your own selling.  

“Most people resist selling but enjoy buying.”
- Geoffrey A. Moore

Once you've adapted to using this perspective as your approach to positioning, you can begin to define your positioning statement. Moore has brilliantly crafted a general structure for positioning statements:

  • For [target end user]
  • Who wants/needs [compelling reason to buy]
  • The [product name] is a [product category]
  • That provides [key benefit].
  • Unlike [main competitor],
  • The [product name] [key differentiation]

Fill in the blanks. Here's an example for a software company:

    Our product/service is:

  • For [small & mid-size businesses] 
  • Who wants/needs [a software solution that will increase their sales and revenues] 
  • [HubSpot's seamless Marketing and Sales Automation software] is an [integrated, affordable solution]  
  • That provides [insight into a company's prospect's level of interest at a competitive price]
  • Unlike [Salesforce's integration with . . . ] 
  • [. . . Pardot] that [is not as seamless, and is 2 to 3 times more in price.]

And here's one for a University: 

   Our school is: 

  • For [undergraduate students who recently graduated from high school or wish to transfer from a 2 year community college or a 4 year college or university]  
  • Who want [to further their education]
  • [X University] is a [small, urban university]
  • That provides  [a liberal arts education, in an urban setting, for a diverse student population at an affordable price] 
  • Unlike [Z University . . . ] 
  • [ . . .  which is a suburban/small city school]  that [doesn't have the same diversity and opportunity to be less affordable].  

There are a variety of ways to use this structure. These examples include a focus on the competition's product/service and how it's different (differentiation). You can also utilize part of the structure to link back to your own product/service. It's essential to have a positioning statement for each of your audiences. To continue with our example of X University, they will need to equip themselves with a positioning statement for their prospective students and others (constituents) who will influence the  school decision. 

There you have it! Whether you are a small or mid-size business or a university you can build a strong strategy and template for crafting your organizations optimal positioning statement. 


Want more? Click here to subscribe to our blog and stay up to date on content offers!