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The importance of understanding positioning: Highlights from our conversation with April Dunford

In today's competitive business landscape, positioning your company effectively is crucial for success. Yet, many founders find it challenging to frame and explain their company's value proposition in a way that resonates with prospects and highlights their strengths. At SaaSiest in Malmö earlier this spring, we had the opportunity to sit down with positioning expert and author April Dunford to dive into the topic of positioning (you can see the full conversation here).

During the conversation, Mikael Johnsson spoke to April about the importance of positioning, the common pitfalls companies face, how to evolve your brand positioning and how to address positioning during different stages in the growth process. April also shared some practical guidance and a methodology for embarking on a successful positioning exercise. While we of course encourage you to tune in to the full conversation, here are some soundbites from their discussion:

  • Positioning is more than just messaging or storytelling. “Positioning defines how your product is the best in the world at delivering something, some value, that a well defined customer cares a lot about.” Positioning has to come first – it forms the foundation from which messaging can be developed or a story can be built. Essentially, it is the input to the storytelling and the messaging.

  • When should you invest in positioning? “Sometimes companies over rotate on positioning too early. It’s ok to work with a positioning thesis in the beginning.” Once you have acquired a reasonable number of customers and can start identifying patterns, this is the point when you need to nail your positioning to enable growing at scale.

  • Defining your positioning requires a working group, a solid methodology and execution across multiple departments “If we’re going to do positioning, we need to do it in a methodical, repeatable way.” Based on her experience working as a VP of Marketing, April argues that before even starting the positioning project, you need to set the basics. Decide what you are going to position – a product, or the entire company? Then, assemble a working group. Positioning is not a marketing exercise, it’s an interdepartmental project requiring insights from all customer-facing stakeholders, and buy-in from these departments ahead of the rollout to make it successful. After you have got these basics set, you can start the process of defining your positioning. April and Mikael discuss this and April’s methodology in Part II.

  • …and it is a work in progress, so you should check in on it on a regular basis. “Nobody knows how long a positioning is going to last, but it will need to change because of a variety of reasons [...] You need to have a structured way to check in on your positioning.” There are many factors that can require you to update your positioning. For instance, you might release an updated product feature, or a competitor may come out with something that completely changes the playing field. In all cases, this will impact how well your positioning works. By implementing a regular feedback loop, you can adjust your positioning accordingly and ensure that it’s in tune with the market conditions.

Watch the full conversation – split into three parts – here, and read more about positioning in our Go-to-Market Fit toolkit.


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