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  • Writer's pictureYe Tian

Positioning theory— Occupy the mind before occupying the market

If the business is a war, the channel is the ground force. The highest task is to block the door using the best price/performance. In the battle, we need to seize all the places that can reach consumers, which is marketing, it likes the air force. Marketing’s highest task is to brainwash the consumers and fully capture the consumer's brain to write the words” Can only buy me”. When we talk about the marketing strategy, we must start with the “ positioning” the marketing.



Which is the highest mountain in the world? Most people know that is Everest. How about the second highest? I think many people do not know, it is Chhogori. The third highest? I might have never heard of it, Gancheng Zhang Jia Feng.

Most people can only remember the first highest mountain, up to the second. The situation is determined by human mind model. Not only life but also the business. Obviously, occupying the first brain share is becoming the “ category first” in your heart, it will inevitably yield huge profits.

I heard about a story, Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in Africa. But compared with Everest, it is simply looking for abuse. However, the smart Africans have created a category in the mountaineering community called “The Mountain which humans can climb to the top without tools”. So when you think about Kilimanjaro, it is the number one highest peak on the earth for humans to climb to the top. What does this mean? Even other mountains are taller, but they must climb using cables, suspension ladders and hail to climb the summit. Kilimanjaro is the highest in the world for a human walk up with the feet. It caused a great topic for Kilimanjaro to get in many challengers from all over the world.

The theory of positioning is to create a new category in the market if you can not be the first in a category. Trout proposed “positioning” this concept in 1972 and this theory was named by the American Marketing Association as “ the most influential concept of American marketing” in 2001.

The effective foundation of positioning theory is the five mental models of consumers:

  • First, consumers can only receive limited information;

  • Second, consumers like simplicity and hate complexity;

  • Third, consumers lack security;

  • Fourth, consumers' impressions of brands will not change easily;

  • Fifth, the mind of the consumer is easy to lose focus


Four suggestions for using the position theory:

  1. Focus on the consumer’s mind, not the product. For example, if your business is making cosmetics, what other unmet needs are your competitors failing to reach? For example, hydrating? Let your skin drink eight glasses of water a day? For example, if you are doing catering, consumers are afraid of oil and salt? So steamed, is it healthy? Focus on the consumer's buying point, not the selling point of the product.

  2. Create a clean category based on this unmet need, or pain point.

  3. Information is the weapon captures consumer perception. Consumers can only accept limited information, consumers like simple, and hate complexity.

  4. We must welcome the competition. Although you created this category, consumers actually left a couple of positions in the heart. Such as group purchase categories, Groupon, Yelp, Deals Plus. Only has some opponent, the category is actually established. It will jointly educate the market and make a big cake.

Positioning theory is to establish a new category in the minds of consumers and become the first in this category.

The specific four steps.

  • First, find unsatisfied pain points;

  • Second, build new categories accordingly;

  • Third, use the simplest information to continuously capture the minds of consumers;

  • Fourth, find the second competitor, smash the category and make a big cake.

After all, positioning is a differentiated competitive strategy based on the minds of consumers.

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