Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Product Positioning for Enterprise Software and Information Technology Companies

Information Technology

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Product Positioning for Enterprise Software and Information Technology Companies

Author: Ash Seha

Good marketing positioning is like good lying. No, we�re not suggesting that you lie when creating your company and product positioning. Anything but, in fact. But, it�s remarkable how much the properties of good positioning resemble the properties of a good lie.

Like an effective lie, an effective positioning statement should be:

1. Believable. A lie that no one believes is rather pointless, isn�t it? Well, the same is true of your company or product�s positioning. If it�s not believable, then it�s useless. Ensure that the key elements of your positioning statement are rooted in truth, and that the assertions that you�re making about your company�s or product�s capabilities will pass the sniff test of a jaded observer who has seen it all before when it comes to the outlandish statements that a lot of software and information technology companies insist on making.

2. Consistent. A weak lie won�t stand up to scrutiny when judged on its consistency. Internal consistency � that is, ensuring that the various elements of the lie, or positioning statement, are not in direct conflict with one another - is very important to making sure that the listener won�t just turn off their eyes and ears to your message.

3. Simple. Remember being a kid and trying to tell a lie your Mom? You�d concocted a story so convoluted and complex that it was impossible to remember as you recounted it. A positioning statement is the same way. If it�s so complicated that even you and your sales reps can�t remember it, you�re guaranteed that your customers won�t either.

4. Compelling. What�s the point in telling someone something that isn�t interesting and doesn�t apply to them? If you�re taking the risk of lying, tell a lie that is at least somewhat captivating to the listener. In the case of your company or product�s positioning, it should mean something to your target audience. Which means you better have done your homework into their hot buttons beforehand. What�s important to them? What�s not? What benefits can they not do without? Find out, and ensure that your positioning hits those notes.

Keep these caveats in mind when it comes time to position or reposition your company or product, and we can assure you that your audience will sit up and take notice.

Ash Seha is a partner at The Launch Factory LLP, a consultancy specializing in marketing, sales, and product management strategy for software and IT companies. Their expertise, garnered from such IT highflyers as i2, webMethods, SAP, and Baan, is focused on breaking the growth bariers that stand between high-growth software and IT companies and their revenue and marketshare goals.


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