How to set your services apart: Two dimensional positioning

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The last blogs (remember the case of the inland seafood restaurant) talked about one dimensional positioning: Finding one criteria that matters to customers, and focusing on that to set your business apart. Successful businesses do this by turning a weakness into a strength, building on a strength, or focusing on one thing customers value that no other competitors have picked up on yet. So if you don’t have a waterfront view, focus on the quality and excellence of your seafood menu.

That’s one dimensional positioning.

Now let’s get even more sophisticated. Two dimensional positioning means choosing two criteria that matter to customers, and making sure that your business is the best at both.

To do this, draw a standard graph with an x and y-axis. Each axis represents one criteria that matters to customers. Your business should appear in the upper right hand corner, while competitors should be in less optimal positions on the graph. If you choose your axes (e.g. customer criteria) correctly, you will set your business apart!

For instance, I’m currently working with a software client. In their market, at least before their solution arrived, you either paid a lot for custom software, or you paid a little for off-the-shelf solutions that weren’t very robust. So they decided to create a solution that is economical and customizable.

Now their marketing collateral has a 2-dimensional graph on it. Dimensions include cost and customization. They map out their competitors, and of course, they show up in upper right hand corner of map as the best of both worlds. It’s a great way to set themselves apart.

What dimensions should you consider? Here are ideas:

– Cost
– Expertise with focused niche
– Knowledge of particular solution (e.g. navigation schemes, SEO, end-to-end ecommerce, subscription-based web sites, content management)
– Customization
– Follow up support
– Ironclad guarantee
– Flexible pricing (e.g. by use)
– Ease of deployment
– Time of deployment
– Product leadership (e.g. proprietary technology)
– Proven return on investment/increase in sales
– Award-winning designs

Does this make sense?

Andrew NeitlichAndrew Neitlich
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