What Is Your Position…?

Customer Experience

For the third time in as many days, I was privy to a discussion between small business owners and marketers which revolved around the topic of ‘positioning’.

These conversations were typical of those at networking functions, beginning literally with “well, we like to position ourselves as such and such.”

That’s nice.

Next, they degenerated into the all-too-common litany of features and attributes which are typically important only to the one reciting them… before ending with “hey, do you have a business card?”

No thought to the new rules, the new media, the new economy, the credit crunch, the global competition, the will and power of the buyer, the abundance of data in an era of information overload… nothing.

Just… “we like to position ourselves as…”

My response, of course, was something like, “Really… how long have you taken that position?”

Answer: “Since before electricity.”

Okay… so that was my interpretation, but in each case… it was pretty close.


These marketers used the word ‘position’ as a verb… describing their own activities in articulating their message. They were viewing positioning in the classic branding sense… in terms of what they tell the market… in terms of what they say.

Of course, the market will do it’s own positioning of our products or services… not in terms of ‘what we say’… but in terms of ‘what we do’. Today our brand exists, and is defined, in the minds of the market through their experience with us… and our competitors.

‘Position’ in this sense is not a verb at all… it is a noun. It is the place we occupy in the senses, minds, and emotions of our customers and prospects.

Traditional marketing activities… especially mass marketing efforts and campaigns… will bear fruit only up to the point where they begin to disagree with the receivers experience.

Focus… on the experience.



Getting the message right is important.

Getting the business right… getting the customer experience right… is more important.

Long-term… we cannot ‘position’ ourselves in a manner that is inconsistent with our behavior… or the customer’s experience.


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