So, you’ve launched your product or service in your home market and it’s gaining traction. Awesome! Now, you are excited to conquer new territories and enchant foreign audiences. Thanks to the internet, international growth is basically at your fingertips and the opportunities are endless.
However, there’s more to successful global expansion than simply translating your product and throwing it into any market. Are you certain that your new target market will perceive and trust your brand the same way your native audience does? What about local competitors?
With a little forethought and planning in an area called market positioning, you can significantly increase your chances of establishing a strong foothold in any new market. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know to get started.
What Is Market Positioning?
Your market position is how your prospects and customers perceive your brand or product in relation to your competitors. Consequently, market positioning is the process of actively establishing a certain image or identity of your brand to influence consumers’ perception. It’s a critical part of your overall business strategy.
For example, let’s consider the global automobile market. Lamborghini has established its brand and cars as high-end, luxury status symbols. Toyota, on the other hand, is associated with safety, reliability, and quality at an affordable price. The two companies cater to different market segments and are very successful in doing so.
Think about how your business is being perceived in your home market. What attributes would your target audience associate with your brand and products? What makes you different from your competition? Understanding your current market position is key before you can consider expanding your business to new areas.
Why Market Positioning Is Essential When Going Global
When business owners set their focus on growing internationally, they are spoiled for choice. Which markets should you enter? Which languages should you translate your product into? These decisions shouldn’t be made lightly. Significant time and resources are required to translate and localize a product to get it ready for launch in a new market. However, if the audience already prefers a competitor or doesn’t have the means to buy your product, all this effort was wasted.
A thought-out market positioning strategy can prevent such mishaps. Our recommendation is to thoroughly analyze your target markets and consider how your product or service will fit into the existing business landscape. If you are simply entering as another player without a differentiating factor, your chances for success will look bleak…
How to Develop an Effective Market Positioning Strategy
In what follows, you’ll find out how to develop a solid market positioning strategy.
Analyze Your Competition
Before you can determine how your product will fit into a market, consider who is already there. When you know your competition and the current market segmentation, you can identify gaps that you can fill. Here are some questions that can help you analyze your competition:
- Who are the existing players in your target market?
- Who are they serving specifically?
- What is their market share?
- How fast are they growing?
- What are their strengths and weaknesses?
- What makes them unique?
- How are they marketing their products?
Create Your Positioning Statement
After familiarizing yourself with your competition, you need to define what your brand and products are all about. Your positioning statement explains the promise that you make to your customers and why they should choose you over your competitors. The following questions will help you create it:
- What is it that you are offering?
- Who is your product for/not for?
- What problem are you solving?
- What results will you get for your customers?
- What are the benefits of your product?’
- What makes you different?
Develop Your Unique Market Position
Now that you know your own business and your competition much better, it’s time to hone in on your unique market position. There are several market positioning strategies to help you secure your seat at the table. You can differentiate yourself with one or many of the following factors:
- Price: Associate your brand and products with competitive pricing.
- Quality: Set yourself apart with a product of superior quality.
- Convenience: Make your product the easiest to use or the easiest to purchase.
- Customer Service: Offer the friendliest, fastest customer service in the market.
- Distribution Channel: Utilize a unique way of delivering your product. For example, be the only online store for your type of product among brick and mortar shops.
- Customer Needs: Be the only product that solves a particular problem for your clients.
- Attributes: Associate your brand and products with positive characteristics. For instance, be the business that gives back to the local community.
Live Your Market Positioning
Once you know which position you want to own in the new market, you’ll need to intensify all efforts to reach it. Your market position becomes the north star for your localization and marketing efforts. When you translate your product, the tone and style need to create the right image in your audience’s mind. When you choose the visuals and design, they need to reflect the type of brand you want to be.
Luckily, localization services can greatly help you to adapt your product and content to a specific market. A translation management tool like Phrase is the perfect choice to manage your localization process and get it right from the start.
But, what if, despite all your efforts and well-developed marketing strategies, your positioning seems off once you’re actually live? Let’s look at what you can do in this case.
When and How to Reposition Your Brand and Products
Your sales will be the best indicator to show if your market position is the right one or not. Sometimes, your audience’s perception of your brand and products is not what you intended it to be. Keep in mind that no matter how well you prepare your entry into a new market, you can only influence your audience to a certain extent.
The good news is: There are ways to discover what’s off with your market position. To know for sure, ask your audience directly. Surveys, focus groups, and interviews are great ways to find out what your customers really want. The outcomes might surprise you! Perhaps some assumptions that you made about your audience don’t turn out to be true.
Armed with valuable insights from customer research, you can now work on repositioning your business. This will involve changing your marketing messages to accurately reflect the new position that you are seeking.
Businesses seldom get their positioning perfectly right on the first try. Our advice is to learn as much as you can from your customer’s feedback and to keep adjusting your products and marketing accordingly. Your market position is not set in stone, but always evolving and adaptable.