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The Importance of Conducting Competitor Positioning Assessments

Lawson Abinanti, a positioning and message strategy expert, argued in an article for Marketing Profs that conducting a competitor positioning assessment is key to competitive intelligence.

Despite its importance, Abinanti said understanding competitors’ positioning is an element of competitive analysis that is often overlooked.

Quoting a passage from Al Ries and Jack Trout’s “Positioning: The Battle for your Mind,” Abinanti emphasized that companies “advertise their products in a vacuum and are disappointed when their messages fail to get through.”

Failing to understand competitors’ positioning could put companies at risk of making similar marketing and sales claims as their competitors. This could result in confusion for buyers and lead to prolonged sales cycles and price wars.

For this reason, Abinanti stresses the importance of claiming a unique position as it can drive the effectiveness of one’s marketing efforts and ensure greater sales success.

A company’s position is encapsulated in a positioning statement, which, according to Abinanti, communicates how a business can address pressing customer needs.

He noted that a company’s position should serve as the foundation for one’s marketing efforts. It should be the overarching theme of all marketing communications so that it resonates with customers.

To ensure a unique position, companies should examine their competitors’ positioning statements. These can be found in the home page of a company website or in the “Why Us?” page and the “About Us” page.

As an example, Abinanti looks at the businesses competing in the cloud-based financial planning and analysis market.

One of the FP&A companies, Vena, reiterates the “helps you grow” position in its website. Its home page is positioned around the notion of growth, as well as some of its headlines. Abinanti lauded this example as it takes advantage of the power of consistency and repetition.

Another company, Board, claims to be the number one platform for decision-making. This position is evident throughout the company’s home page, platform page and about page.

Abinanti suggests mapping positioning statements to keep track of the competitive landscape. He recommends performing a quick scan of competitors’ websites at least once a month to stay updated with potential changes in positioning.