10 Do’s and Don’ts of Drafting Positioning Statements

Defining Your Solution

Whether your team is preparing for a new product release, corporate rebranding, or iterative campaign experimentation, the responsibility lies with Product Marketing Managers to craft Positioning Statements that convey your solutions’ function and value. No marketing initiative is more subjective, yet critical to the success of demand generation, lead conversion, and go-to-market strategy.

What is a Positioning Statement? 

“A Positioning Statement is a brief description of a product” and “an explanation of how it fulfills a particular need of the target market,” as defined by HubSpot. It’s often confused with Value Propositions, so much so that Google Searches comparing the two phrases occurred every other business day over the last 12 months, according to Keyword Discovery. Whereas Value Propositions merely list the gain creators and pain relievers for your customers, Positioning Statements communicate function and benefits in such a way that differentiates your solution from competitors.

Essential Components

Historical performance of copy can be evaluated by several industry-standard metrics such as volume of traffic, dwell time, and click-through rate – but how can one improve Positioning Statements without measuring its effectiveness prior to publishing? Well, that’s more of an art than science, really.  

Drafting effective Positioning Statements requires subject matter expertise with your specific product and persona. Copywriting best practices can guide Product Marketers to publishing content that converts successfully. As such, your Positioning Statement should consist of four essential components:

  1. Name of the solution along with its product category
  2. Definition of the function and its value-added benefit in terms of quantifiable metrics
  3. Address to the user persona within your target market 
  4. Reference to its core competitive differentiator

The Positioning Statement of an enterprise software rating company embodies each of the essential components. “G2 [name] provides a B2B review site [category] for business professionals [user persona] who are looking to quickly discover, buy, and manage the best technology for their needs [measurable value-added benefit]. Unlike other B2B review sites, G2 offers 700K+ unbiased and verified user reviews in over 1400 categories [unique differentiator].”

Positioning Statements whose action verbs demonstrate progression deserve special recognition. This can be exemplified by Arena’s Customer Experience applications which “attract, engage, and retain audiences.” Product Marketers that incorporate rhymes or alliterations are worthy of praise because these tactics result in 11% and 13% increases in advertising ROI, respectively, according to studies performed by Ladder. Enrichment by SalesIntel, a solution I launched in my prior role, fits the mold as it “reveals the most current, credible, and complete CRM data.”

Common Traps

By contrast, poor word choice can lead to a lack of brand recognition, confusion in functionality, and attrition amongst your intended audience. Marketing teams should avoid these six common copywriting traps: 

  1. Explanations with abbreviated buzzwords such as “AI,” “ML,” and “NLP”
  2. Assuming self-proclaimed titles like “Industry’s #1,” “Best,” “Top,” “Award-winning,” and “Category-Leading
  3. Applying generic adverbs including “Easily,” “Fully,” and “Always”
  4. Use of the following radical action verbs: “Innovate,” “Transform,” and “Disrupt”
  5. Addition of the non-descriptive filler words, “End-to-End” and “All-in-One”
  6. “Cost-Effective,” “Affordable,” or other references to pricing

A company that once identified as “the top provider of accurate and affordable sales and marketing contact data” is a two-time offender for its use of prohibited words. While rebranding, their Positioning Statement was modified to read as the “most precise source of company and contact data to find, reach and win customers.” This updated statement became the theme of subsequent campaigns that significantly improved lead conversion, customer acquisition, and even revenue generation – increasing bottom lines by 6% in one quarter.

Reader’s Voice

What rules do you follow when drafting Positioning Statements? Add your guidelines in the comments below!

Published by Anthony Walsh

Global Product Marketing Manager at Meta

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