Updated: Oct 8, 2022
TL;DR: Develop detailed positioning strategies to win in the market
Positioning strategies that aren't detailed enough will contribute to disappointing go-to-market execution caused by siloed product, market and sales team misalignment.
Let's target reliable growth
Answer this: Does positioning come before company strategy is signed off, or after? Who articulates how your strategy comes to life in the market?
Making company strategy into something actionable at the tactical level requires a detailed positioning. Most companies have a positioning document, but one that is often insufficiently developed to be actionable at an executional level.
This is called emergent strategy, a situation when alignment and incentives between senior leadership and executional teams diverges.
Let's begin with a story
Positioning and strategy isn't shared at a resolution that prevents varied interpretation. Executional teams instead allow day-to-day constraints and tradeoffs to direct the hundreds of micro decisions and activities that happen in a day. The strategy isn't executed.
Goals are missed.
No one can "know" what to do next.
What are the signs of a well developed Positioning Strategy?
It is actionable and not open to varied interpretation. It's not revisited mid-project due to confusion and a feeling that tradeoffs with incentives are being made.
It's not actionable unless the detailed launch market and job to be done have been identified (a hypothesis to then test). The value propositions and strategic differentiation have to be set (and tested). It is built side-by-side with company strategy that takes in to account an internal view (product-market and business model fit) as well as the external environment (competitive differentiation and key trends).
If the above haven't been sorted, then at least 4 teams in your company will be siloed, and unable to leverage strategy in true cross-functional fashion that leads to top-quartile performance.
Tactical marketing teams proceed to launch campaigns based on their interpretation of business priorities.
Sales and Customer success have talk tracks with their own key messaging.
Product roadmaps grow increasingly out of sync with what marketing is promising.
It becomes unclear, whether it's the strategy or the execution that's underperforming.
The teams bringing your strategy to life aren't maximising your growth potential.
What does this look like? A financial metrics perspective
These aren’t leading indicators. But these are lagging indicators to watch. To be effective, the set of leading indicators that lead to growth need to be developed and acted on.
MQL's and ROI on marketing perform below expectations.
The CMO and CPO being tasked with growth in revenue aren't able to bring the right customer insight to continuously be more customer-centric
Retained revenue suffers.
The company's ability to invest to grow suffers.
Growth is a team sport, and positioning is core to strategy and growth. It's a significant part of your company strategy.
Don't leave it to be brought to life in the market by individual teams.