Today’s topic is all about positioning. How to position your small business in your market. How to position yourself against your competitors while all to catch the right wave of customers in the sea of prospects. As an avid surfer and marketer, I’m super passionate about both concepts. Even if you’re not a surfer, you can learn some effective marketing advice here.
This is my second post of my Marketing Surfing Lessons series. If you didn’t catch the first one, you can get it here.
Once again, I’ll relate it to surfing. First let’s get a little background on the topic. Surfing has become so popular in the last 50 years that its nearly impossible to find good surf without a crowd. Its not uncommon to travel to some remote island in any of the vast oceans on this planet in search for uncrowded surf, only to pull up to 10 other boats and packed lineup up surfers. So the modern-day surfer has been forced to learn the art of positioning.
3 Tips To Position Your Business to Catch a Huge Wave:
- Position yourself in the lineup.
Once you get out in the water, its important to know where the waves will be breaking. If you line up too close to the beach you could get hammered by the incoming surf. If you paddle too far out, you’ll miss everything that comes in. If you lineup too far to the side of the peak, you’ll miss out. If you lineup on the inside and try and catch a shoulder, you’ll sit and watch other people surf by you all day. Click the image to the right to see how the lineup works. You want to position yourself in exactly the right spot to catch a wave at the peak and ride it all the way into the beach.Positioning your small business works the same way. The first step is to ignore the competition and figure out where the waves (your target market) is. Find your target market and figure out how to position your product or service in the best way so that the market responds.
- Next, you don’t surf (or do business) in a vacuum.
So, you have to figure out how to position yourself correctly for your target market while also keeping a leg up on your competitors. In the lineup, its an art to learn where to sit to increase your chances of scoring a wave. There’s also an art to know when to sit and relax and when to paddle. The key is to remember what you decided in step 1 and realize that the lineup doesn’t sit still. Everyone is always moving. Always jockeying for position. Keep your position in the pack, but never lose site of where the waves are going to break.So, what does all this mean for you in your business? Your competitors have their own goals and aspirations. If they start heading off in an interesting direction don’t follow them unless they’re heading directly at your target market. Never follow just because they’re a competitor. Hold your ground and keep jockeying for position. Knowledge of where the waves break and how they break (market research) is what will allow you to always be in the right place at the right time. Don’t guess. Learn what you need to learn to be prime for your market.
- Play by the rules. In the surfing lineup, there are rules that must be lived by. You don’t drop in on someone else’s wave. You don’t ditch your board and risk hurting someone. Click here check out the rules. In business, play by the rules. It doesn’t pay to bash your competitors like a slimy politician. It doesn’t pay to cheat your way to the top. When you play by the rules and you win, you gain respect. I’ve often sat in the lineup watching in awe of others tearing up the waves even though I was missing out. I watch and learn. Then I go attack. (“Attack the game, not the players.”) Play by the rules. Learn from people that are getting it right. Then, get out there and drop in.
Here are some useful resources to help you position your business in your market:
- Wikipedia Article
- Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind (A great book!)
- Duct Tape Marketing (Another good book on marketing & positioning.)
- The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding