Positioning Doesn't Work — Gold Front

Positioning Doesn't Work

Out with the old, in with the new.

Josh Lowman
Silo 2

Three reasons we no longer do positioning:

Positioning is soft.

No startup’s homepage should start the conversation by boasting the product is “more collaborative” or “an easier way to…” And yet almost everyone does it. That’s because for years marketers have been taught the wrong thing. Instead of “better” benefit statements (a bad tendency of positioning statements) if you can prove to me why your company is doing something entirely new, you'll have my attention. Category design helps us end up with a new-to-the-world product idea and marketing story.

Positioning creates siloes.

We often work for CMOs who want the strategy we co-create to be the north star of the whole company because they know that’s what works. But CPOs and other product leaders barely give brand positioning the time of day. “Cool, cool. I gotta get back to important work now.”

However, when we create category strategy with the entire the executive team, the product team is 427% more likely to adopt it—meaning they update their product road map to fit the new strategy. The reverse is true for positioning the product team does. It won’t solve what the marketing team needs so misalignment ensues.

People like to say category creation is hard. Having your marketing and product teams at odds with each other is much harder.

Positioning doesn't directly drive company valuation, so CEOs sleep on the work.

On sales calls I used to ask CEOs why this brand strategy project was important to their business. Their answers were unconvincing. They knew they were supposed to have a brand strategy but they didn’t quite know why.

Now when I speak with a CEO, they immediately understand the value of category strategy. Four out of five times their eyes light up. If you're like me and you want to help companies change and grow, your best point of leverage is a fully invested CEO.

TL;DR: do category strategy instead.