|Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind
by Al Ries & Jack Trout
Core idea: The average American consumer is exposed to $376 worth of advertising per day over 365 days. With this enormous volume of communication, the only way to score big is to be selective and concentrate on narrow targets through Positioning. It’s about how you position a product in the mind of your prospect. In communication, less is more. Sharpen your message to cut into the mind. Select the material that has the best chance of getting through. Focus on the prospect you are selling to, and not the product you are selling.
Positioning is an organized system for finding a window in the mind. It is based on the concept that communication can only take place at the right time and under the right circumstances.
The easy way to get into a person’s mind is to be First. For example, you may be quick to answer if asked who was the first man on the moon, but what if you were asked to name the second?
Kodak is known as the first in photography. Xerox was the first in copiers. Coke was the first in cola, General Electric -all first in their respective industries. With being first the receptivity is great. Two parties meet in a situation where both are open to the idea, and there is no existing competition. Achieving brand loyalty the easy way means getting there first, and being careful not to give people a reason to switch.
The human mind rejects information that does not match its prior experience. Harvard psychologist Dr. George A. Miller says the average mind cannot deal with more than seven units at a time. Hence, seven-digit phone numbers, The Seven Dwarfs, etc. When it comes to products, consumers can only name a few brands, be they automobiles, cigarettes, or milk. To cope with the product explosion, people simplify by ranking things.
Cherchez le creneau “Look for the hole” and then fill it. This French marketing expression is a perfect strategy as against the American attitude of positive thinking, “bigger and better”. If you want to be a Columbus, then head west if everyone else is going east. Sometimes there is no creneau. Then you have to create your own.
A marketing classic.