Top 6 Product Positioning Examples to Inspire Your SaaS in 2023
In the competitive world of SaaS products, product positioning is definitely something your product marketing team can’t afford to ignore.
Let’s have look at what product positioning actually is, what it involves, the benefits of effective positioning, the strategies you can employ, and the risks of ignoring all the wisdom in this article.
- Product positioning allows you to identify your market niche.
- It helps the customer understand your product and how it can satisfy their needs.
- It allows businesses to attract ideal and loyal customers, gives them a competitive advantage, supports product launches, and drives the work of marketing teas.
- Successful product positioning requires researching the competitors and analyzing their position, identifying the needs of the customers, and formulation of clear positioning statements.
- There is a range of product positioning strategies based on factors such as product characteristics, pricing, quality/prestige, use/application, or competitors.
- Products that are not positioned properly are not noticed by the customers who can’t distinguish them from other similar ones.
What is product positioning?
Product positioning is a process that aims at determining how the service or product is situated on the market and why it is superior to those of your competitors. In other words, it defines your product’s niche, how it is different from the competing products, and the most optimal way to present it to various target audiences.
As with all marketing efforts, positioning should be driven by the customer and their needs. To be successful, the product needs to be more effective than others at satisfying the unique needs of a unique group of customers.
Good product positioning is as much about identifying those needs, as communicating how they can be met by the product. It creates the setting for the product and places it in the minds of the customers. It delivers crucial information about the company, the product, the niche it’s designed for, and the cost.
Why is product positioning important?
In a nutshell, effective brand positioning identifies the key benefits of your product and its competitive advantage in the market. This enables the marketing team to set clear expectations from the very beginning of the marketing campaign. As a result, your potential customers get a clear understanding of the product and its unique value and strengths compared to alternative products. And they won’t be disappointed when they use your product.
Specifically, there are five ways in which product positioning benefits your business.
Right product positioning helps you find your perfect customer
As a product or service provider, your goal is to attract those customers who have a clear idea of what they need in a product, why they need it, and what can satisfy those needs. That’s exactly what successful product positioning allows you to achieve.
It helps foster customer loyalty
If the customer’s needs are satisfied, they are more likely to stick with your product in the long run. By identifying your customers’ expectations and making sure that the product meets them, you increase the customers’ satisfaction. That’s how you reduce the chance that they will fall prey to your competitors’ marketing ploys.
It can give you an edge over competitors
Quality product positioning makes your product appear as the most attractive option on the market. So, even if your customers start considering other products, they are still more likely to choose yours because it meets their needs better than others.
Better positioning can give you a stronger product launch
The product positioning of your product can either make or break its launch. If done right, it wins the attention of target customers and more importantly – their trust. It shows what your product brings to the market and how it is superior to the products it is competing against. It also improves your target customers’ understanding of your product. All those may influence their decision to invest in your product.
Good positioning ensures consistent sales and marketing strategies
Strong positioning makes the work of the marketing and sales teams easier. If the positioning statements are clear, the marketing strategy is easier to define and follow. As a result, the marketing team can target prospective customers with the right kinds of content. If, on the other hand, the positioning process wasn’t thorough and the positioning statement is not clear, a lot of effort can be wasted on the back and forth communication needed to clarify the direction, or what’s worse, change it.
What are the stages of product positioning?
Identify your competition.
There are a number of ways to look at it but in most situations, market research is the first step. While not technically a part of the positioning process, successful positioning is not possible without researching the market. This involves identifying your competitors and researching their position in the market.
Good product positioning is not possible without knowing who your competitors are. If you don’t know what products you’re up against, you will be groping in the dark.
The sales team could be a good source of information. As they deal with customers during the sales process, they can get some valuable insights.
The internet is also a great source of information and a simple keyword search can return lots of valuable information. Social media, such as Quora, are yet another source of good intel. By searching forums and groups, you can identify competitors offering similar products or services.
Finally, customer feedback could prove useful for researching your competition. Customers may be happy to tell you what other products they were considering when making the purchase.
Analyze your competitors.
Having identified your competitors, it’s necessary to conduct a more thorough analysis of their positioning and products. The things you should consider include:
- the products or services offered by your competitors,
- their strengths and weaknesses,
- the marketing strategies they’re using and how successful they are,
- their current position in the market.
Determine customer needs
Identifying consumer needs is never easy, partly because they often don’t know exactly what they need – or are not able to say it.
That is why asking them directly may not be the most successful strategy. Instead, watching consumer behavior is a more reliable source of information.
Observing how consumers use your product could be particularly successful because it allows you to develop a product positioning strategy based on what problems your product actually solves, not on what your users think it does.
Analyze the research and answer the key questions
While conducting competitor research, patterns will emerge. Such patterns, for example of competitors’ strengths and weaknesses consistently appearing across the market, will help you identify the edge that your product may have. This could provide the springboard for the effective positioning of your product.
At this stage, you should be able to answer these four questions:
- Who is your target customer?
- What is the product or service category?
- What are the unique benefits of your product or service?
- What’s the proof of that benefit?
Once you have answered the questions, it’s time to create your product positioning statement.
Positioning statements set the context and the tone for how you want your customers to feel and think about your product. They express what your product is, who it is for, what consumers can expect from it, and how expensive it is. An effective positioning statement shows a clear understanding of your sector, your target audience, your product’s value, competitive alternatives, and communicates the unique value proposition.
How to choose your product positioning strategy?
The positioning statement informs the choice of the strategy which you are going to use to position your product. It also helps you stay consistent in your marketing efforts.
There are a number of different product positioning strategies you can adopt, depending on the outcomes of your market research and the assessment of your product in this context.
This kind of positioning aims at creating associations between the product and a set of features or characteristics that it has. It is those characteristics that are the basis of the customers’ decision to buy the product.
This strategy concentrates on creating the association of your company with competitive pricing. Many businesses build their marketing strategies around providing products or services at an attractive price. It may not necessarily mean the lowest price but rather being the most affordable option offering particular features or benefits.
Use or application-based positioning
This strategy is based on associating your product or service with a certain use or application. Userpilot is a good example of such positioning. It’s a product that solves the problem of user churning before they experience value – by helping the users to improve their onboarding and providing a better product experience.
Quality or prestige-based positioning
Those companies which choose this strategy rely on building the brand image around those two associations – of high quality and prestige. Other factors, such as competitive pricing are often irrelevant. In fact, by making the products accessible only to the most affluent consumers, the image of exclusivity is further reinforced. It may take time to build a SaaS Rolex or Bentley, but once you make it, this is the strategy for you.
The strategy involves highlighting the advantages of your products over those of your competitors. It allows brands to show their originality and differentiate their products from others.
What are the risks of poor product positioning?
While excellent positioning will help you attract the ideal customers, increase their loyalty and give you an advantage over your competitors, poor positioning practices will stop you from making any progress in the best case, and undermine your product’s image in the eyes of the consumers in the worst.
To start with, ineffective product or brand positioning leads to ineffective brand messaging, and consequently, ineffective marketing.
Getting your product positioning wrong, for example by not assessing adequately the needs of the customers and how they are not being satisfied, may also lead to a waste of resources spent on developing features that are not going to be needed or used.
On the other hand, promising the customers features and value that cannot be delivered is going to lead to their disappointment and abandoning the product. And as they do so, they may show little restraint in venting their dissatisfaction in reviews and on social media.
The worst possible fallout of poor brand positioning strategy is probably product commoditization. It is a process during which products lose their uniqueness and become indistinguishable from those offered by other companies. To avoid that, your positioning strategy needs to be adjusted on a regular basis to match the developments in the target market. Apple’s iPhone is a perfect example of how difficult it is. While the company tried to innovate and introduce new features in the new generations of its products, the competitors were fairly quick to introduce those functionalities in their phones. As a result, Apple cannot rely on the unique features of their features to maintain their market position.
What are some great examples of product positioning?
Miro is a virtual whiteboard and visual collaboration platform which positioned itself perfectly in the new reality. They get straight to the point by highlighting who it’s designed for – teams, and what’s the role it plays – bringing teams together.
Miro’s is a great example of a use and application positioning strategy. They clearly adapted their wording to match the new ways teams are working: remotely and spread all over the globe.
Their content marketing messages contain the most adequate terms that describe teams in today’s world, such as hybrid, work from home, distributed, or telecommuting. This makes it easy for the customer to self-identify, and that positions Miro through a clear context.
Here are some excellent examples of Miro adapting their language. As you can see, their landing page is not static, and they circulate the USPs to reflect different ways of referring to their audience.
Undaku is a no-code platform that allows users with no technical skills or training to build business apps that meet their unique needs. The customer can use the platform and its rich toolset to build and customize a complete working product by simply dragging and dropping elements.
Instead of trying to choose the best apps in the very confusing landscape, Undaku allows users to build their own custom solutions. And they can do it without the hassle and expense of developing them from the scratch.
Undaku’s positioning strategy is organised around its features and characteristics:
- the simple drag and drop interface and no coding,
- no need for training or technical expertise,
- great level of customisation thanks to Undaku marketplace.
Framer is another no-code platform and another company that uses simplicity as its product’s main characteristic. And to reinforce that image, they use very simple words in their marketing messages and throughout their content.
Gong is a platform for sales teams who look for help to improve effectiveness and customer satisfaction. Many successful companies decide to employ coaches to support and develop their sales teams, and Gong is a product that gives them the necessary data for productive feedback and feedforward. This is possible thanks to its AI, which analyzes recordings of sales conversations and provides insights into patterns that appear in them.
Gong’s market is very crowded and the competition is fierce so they needed to find a way to stand out. To achieve that, Gong uses competitor-based positioning, delivering a product that provides unique insights that other products may be missing.
Coda is another textbook example of competitor-based product positioning done right. They use simple and direct language, so it’s easy for the audience to understand what the tool offers to those having issues working with spreadsheets. And they do it in a hilarious and clever way, showing their personality, making them more than just yet another SaaS.
As a complex platform targeting mid-market enterprises, Userpilot uses a range of product positioning strategies.
Just as other products, they offer a free trial, but this is only available after a demo with an AE and a call with a Product Expert to help the trialists become more successful than if it was self-serve on the website.
However, as they are targeting companies of a certain size, they’ve decided to add a bit of friction to the demo-request form. By asking about company size and number of MAUs, they are able to deter undetermined companies and really small businesses that would not be a good fit.
Another strategy aimed at attracting companies of the right size and with the resources to implement a product adoption tool successfully is targeting all marketing materials at Product Teams rather than startups or SaaS founders.
When it comes to pricing, there is no discounts policy and only annual pricing is available. Those may make the product inaccessible to small businesses but are not the issue in the mid-market sector.
If you’d like to see how Userpilot helps product marketing managers increase customer engagement and improve UX at all stages of their journey – book a demo with us here.
For all the businesses out there trying to establish themselves on the market, product positioning is not optional. Without it, it is not possible to develop a consistent marketing strategy and deliver a product that satisfies your customers’ needs.