Customers are on the move, your business is on the move too, but has your positioning approach changed since the BlackBerry and floppy disk era? Positioning in the era of smart phones, millennials and instant feedback is a whole new ballgame.

So, how do you position your product, service or company in the digital era? How do you pique interest early and effectively in the digital buyer’s journey, and maintain it through the customer lifecycle? Here’s our point of view, with three best practices, to get positioning right in the digital era:

67% of the buyer’s journey is digital.

1. Be data driven

Talk about big data: social media has been coined “the world’s largest focus group.” Most companies mine social media to make informed business decisions about customer segmentation, cross selling, cost-cutting, employee engagement and more. Luckily for the tech sector, there are countless subject-specific interest groups online; even G2Crowd, a B2B customer review site that provides the pulse on competitive offerings. Industry analyst reports were once king, now everyone can hear directly from the customer at any time with no interference.

Listen to the market’s pain and interest. LinkedIn is a gold mine for finding specific research targets—whether one-on-one interviews, research panels or surveys. Target your ideal prospect by industry, company size, title and more. From there, online survey tools such as SurveyMonkey allow you to tap into your newfound audience to capture and analyze data on the fly. Once you reel in your targets, gather them on your favorite web conferencing platform and you’ve got a virtual, global focus group. For a Starbucks’ gift card, you can go back to them a second time to tweak and hone your positioning.

2. Be purposeful & authentic

Consumer companies like Heineken, Dove and Patagonia lead the way in purpose-driven positioning and authentically deliver on their promise. By purpose-driven we mean, how does your company make the world a better place? Why do employees want to work there and why do customers prefer you? Purpose-driven goes beyond a holiday food bank drive, it ties your product or service to a greater cause, shows your commitment and authenticity.

If the market senses your purpose is a marketing ploy, it’s at best ineffective, at worse, it could backfire. United Airlines stated purpose is “Connecting People, Uniting the World.” Amid a barrage of social media backlash over their abhorrent customer service—including a viral video of a United passenger being dragged out of a plane—the airline’s purpose quickly became a farce.

Purpose-driven positioning

Company Purpose
Patagonia Protect and preserve the planet
Dove Making women feel beautiful on the inside
Heineken Connecting the world
Amazon Focus on the customer
Spacex Making humans an interplanetary species
P&G Love over bias
Uncommon Cacao Farmer prosperity is a key ingredient in good food

3. Be bold

Bold positioning forces a response, it can’t be ignored. Let’s face it, in an era where marketers have about eight seconds to reach and engage their audiences before moving on, safe doesn’t work. Cutting through the noise means giving someone a reason to stop and pay attention. Consider your current positioning statement, does it force a response or can it be ignored? Does it directly call out a competitor? Does it challenge the status quo?

Company Bold positioning
Lyft Ridesharing with a conscience
FinancialForce Every business is a services business
BeyondCore Analyze millions of data combinations in minutes
Snowflake 100x faster and 10x less expensive than solutions not built for the cloud
Drawbridge An ad strategy Facebook and Google can't ignore

Bring your positioning into the digital era

The digital era requires getting your customer’s attention in eight seconds or less. It’s critical that you look beyond traditional positioning and speak directly to your market. By leveraging the marketer’s new toolbox, you can be confident going to market with bold, authentic and purposeful positioning that will drive your business forward.

Ask us how to go digital.