Explain the role of "Positioning" in services marketing.
Positioning is the means by which a brand or company presents its features and benefits to prospective customers. It is a means of establishing identity, one that sets a business apart from competitors. It is also determined by variables that include price, target audience, and the area where a firm does business.
A business must set itself apart from its competition. To be successful it must identify and promote itself as the best provider of attributes that are important to target customers. (George S. Day)
Services marketing is customer-directed communication that promotes a service instead of a physical product. Whereas Proctor & Gamble sells Tide detergent, a law firm sells less tangible services, such as legal advice. Using the example of a law firm, we can describe its positioning and infer the type of client the firm hopes to attract.
Some law firms specialize in personal injury cases, which suggests that they will position their offerings to individuals who are likely to be sensitive to price and in the market for a short time. Personal injury attorneys do business in specific cities, which may also determine the nature of prospective customers.
Others firms specialize in corporate law, which might involve large businesses navigating complex transactions or highly regulated markets. In these instances, the law firm would position itself to attract businesses with deep pockets that need a broad range of services. The geographical coverage of these law firms wouldn't necessarily be confined to one city as many prospective clients have offices across the country.
Another example is the specialty firm that offers a narrow range of services to a very targeted client base. For instance, a startup company might need a firm positioned for clients who only need to secure a patent. Operating on a shoestring budget, these sorts of clients would be extremely sensitive to price but not constrained by geography.
Day, George S. Market Driven Strategy. Free Press, 1999.
Positioning is a process that companies use in business marketing to create an image in the mind of the consumer. With all of the media and the mass marketing we have in today’s society, everyone is over powered with advertising messages. We have advertisements on the Internet, television, stores and even before a movie at the theater. With the correct positioning a company can bring its product to the front of the consumers mind and make their product a stand out brand.
Jack Trout and Al Ries are two men who brought the positioning process to the forefront of the marketing world in the early 1970’s. They said that the idea of positioning
”was to occupy a unique position in the consumer’s mind to cut through all of the confusion caused by brand proliferation and advertising clutter.”
This "positioning" is part of an over-all marketing strategy in which the marketing specialists choose who they want to target for their product and then "position" their product to that market. There are many different types of strategies for this style of advertising. “There are broad, price segment, usage segment, geographical segments, psychological segments and channel distribution marketing strategies.”