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Geared toward marketing professionals and managers, this field guide explains how markets work and prospectors think. With practical, down-to-earth advice, it discusses a variety of topics in short sections, averaging 1-2 pages in length. These topics include: "How to Narrow the Gap between Your Position and Your Positioning Statement," "The Essence of Publicity" and "How to Save Half a Million."
How to Narrow the Gap between Your Position and Your Positioning Statement
Getting prospects to move from how they see you - your position - to how you wish them to see you - the perception captured in your positioning statement - may require a huge push. And the wider the gap between your position and your statement, the stronger you must push.
Ask yourself: Given our position, will people believe our positioning statement?
This problem often arises when a small or midsized service tries to pitch that it is the "premier provider" of its service. Few prospects can reconcile "small or midsized" with "premier provider"; the claim fails the laugh test.
A similar problem occurs when a service with a well-entrenched position creates a new positioning statement that does not fit its established position. Take this frequent case in retailing:
Milt Franklin starts off in bowling supplies. He calls his company All Star Bowling; prospects position Milt as a bowling-supply provider.
Slowly, Milt learns that bowling supplies barely cover his overhead. So he adds golf supplies - even though bowlers and golfers are continents apart demographically, and even though few golfers would believe a bowling-supply salesman knows Tommy Armour 845s from Cott 45s.
Having diversified, Milt tacks onto All Star Bowling a new theme line, "Bowling, and a whole lot more." (These "And a whole lot more" themes, which abound in America, are a sure sign that the store owner has made a positioning mistake.)
Clients like Milt often name themselves into these problems, and then try to rename theirway back out - something to consider before you call your restaurant Harry's Hoagies, say. But the Anchoring Principle warns you: Most people get anchored to your initial position and will not accept the new position if the gap between them is too wide.
In positioning, you have to jump from lily pad to nearby lily pad, one at a time.
If the gap between your position and your positioning statement is too big, your customers won't make the leap. Keep your steps small.
If That Isn't Our Positioning Statement, What Is It?
A too grand, overly bold positioning statement that tries to leap over too many lily pads still has value. it can be, and probably is, your goal.
Keep it. It can motivate your people, define your longer-term goals, and guide your mission statement and long-term plan. It gives you an end in mind, as Stephen Covey puts it - a significant step toward being more effective.
Just because your statement is too grandiose for now doesn't mean you can't hope and try. But marketing must deal realistically with perceptions, and with the fact that people cannot make huge perceptual leaps. They can only make little jumps.
Have big goals and great visions - "big hairy audacious goals," as one writer put it. But make sure they are goals and visions-and not positioning statements.
Craft bold dreams and realistic positioning statements.
Repositioning Your Competitors
The country's top architects know how to design a position. They develop a style and then stand for it. They don't do some of this and some of that.
If you want avant-garde, you call Frank Gehry.
If you want postmodern wit, you call Michael Graves.
If you want very corporate late modern, you call I. M. Pei.
These architects "own" those positions. As a result, they own many other things, too.
Almost fifteen years ago, I saw Michael Graves's brilliant presentation to the City of Portland, Oregon, of his proposal for a new city hall. Graves immediately redefined the competition with his design and his manner. (His ingenious model included people sunbathing and jaywalking, and other humorous touches that got people to study the model closely.) His position veered so far from the others' that he made the others appear almost identical to one another, thus reducing the five-firm competition to two firms: Graves's and the best of the other four.
Graves did more than position himself. He also effectively repositioned his competitors. Suddenly they all appeared competent, but uninspired.
Once Graves had put himself in the finals, he moved to the middle-not unlike the political candidate who stakes a slightly extreme position in the primaries and then moves to the middle in the general election. Graves allayed some councilmembers' fears that he would go too far. That pink wouldn't really be that pink, they learned. Those wild ribbons cascading down the side of the building-well, maybe they wouldn't appear after all.
Graves won, and created a historic piece of architecture.
But before that, he created a very shrewd piece of positioning.
Choose a position that will reposition your competitors, then move a step back toward the middle to cinch the sale....
|Surveying and Research: Even Your Best Friends Won't Tell You||21|
|Marketing Is Not a Department||33|
|Planning: The Eighteen Fallacies||55|
|Anchors, Warts, and American Express: How Prospects Think||85|
|The More You Say, the Less People Hear: Positioning and Focus||101|
|Ugly Cats, Boat Shoes, and Overpriced Jewelry: Pricing||129|
|Monogram Your Shirts, Not Your Company: Naming and Branding||141|
|How to Save $500,000: Communicating and Selling||167|
|Holding On to What You've Got: Nurturing and Keeping Clients||215|
Posted March 24, 2012
Posted December 14, 2010
This is an excellent book. It is short and to the point. I love his way of thinking about things, and there are tons of ideas in here on how to grow your business. Focuses on service businesses. I reread this every few months.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 19, 2007
Harry Beckwith has a way of getting right down to the bottom line. My favorite chapter is: Marketing Is Not a Department! As a marketing consultant, it's my job to hlep my service business clients embrace the wholeness of marketing a service business.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 10, 2005
I read the book in 1999. What caught my attention was the product: service. I enjoyed and found I was not the only one who perceived focus groups and other instruments not working for the intended purpose. In 2000 I read the book again and created a list of ideas per chapter. I understood better the difference between a toothpaste product and a dentist service one. I am reading it again. This book makes one reflect and see things from a different perspective which promotes imagination and creativity in how to do marketing. It is short and down to the point the author wants the reader to pay attention to.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 11, 2004
Posted June 13, 2000
The book is a comprehensive, yet, easy to read guide to achieve excelent customer service and satisfaction. The book leads the reader via practical narrations into practical actions and results. We are buying copies to all of our Customer Service Managers.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 11, 2012
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Posted December 15, 2009
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Posted September 22, 2009
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