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How Manufacturers Can Create a Positioning Statement to Power Digital Marketing

Author: Greg Elwell

Positioning Statement to Power Digital Marketing

You’ve bought into creating and operating a digital marketing strategy for your manufacturing business. And you’re about to put all the pieces together.

Not so fast.

There’s one very important question you must address - four actually - before embarking on the journey to generate new leads that will build your business:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you do?
  3. Who do you serve?
  4. Why do you matter to those you serve?

Wrapped up into one or two concise and impactful sentences, these four questions form your Positioning Statement.

What’s a Positioning Statement and Why Do You Need One?

Brands put a lot of effort and resources into developing the overall brand elements, including: logo, tagline, buyer personas, marketing strategy, digital technologies, SEO and content strategy, campaign executions, and many other shiny object elements. Nothing wrong with doing all that. Heck, it can be a fun and fulfilling exercise to put all these pieces together into a cohesive plan.

One digital marketing training company says the first thing you should do before engaging in any lead generation activity is to create your ideal buyer persona. But there’s a danger in first focusing on the marketplace. It can lead to:

  • Following what other manufacturers are doing
  • Reading the “mind” of the marketplace
  • Letting the market decide what it wants
  • Offering ho-hum and me-too products

Instead, you must first forget your audience and know who you truly are.

What’s a Positioning StatementIn other words, first, put yourself first. Think about why you went into the manufacturing business in the first place. What was…

  • Your purpose
  • Your signature idea
  • Your unique genius
  • Your place of meaning?

When you figure this out it becomes your positioning statement and you will begin to take a leadership approach to your digital marketing versus following a marketplace approach. You will be able to...

  • Take the lead on what to bring to market versus following what the market is doing
  • Generate ideas from a place of personal meaning versus reading the mind of the marketplace
  • Give them what you know they need versus offering ho-hum, me-too products
  • Decide what holds meaning versus letting the market decide what holds meaning
  • Charge a premium, value-based price for your products

Think about what Steve Jobs did with Apple. He disrupted and revolutionized many industries with new categories of products that didn’t exist and that weren’t even imagined by the marketplace. He took a leadership position. At one point he said Apple didn’t even conduct customer research because people didn’t know what they wanted until Apple created it and offered it to them.

Now, we’re not advocating you skip market research, buyer persona development, or completely revamp your product line. But we are saying that you need to get your business positions right, first. What we are essentially asking is: What is your True North and how might it permeate all that you do in digital marketing?

What is it about your products that make your customers’ lives better? This gets to the essential meaning and purpose of why you exist, and matter, to your ideal customer. This is what your Positioning Statement is all about.

Think of your Positioning Statement as:

  • Your unique point of view
  • What you stand for and your leadership position
  • Your authentic message, something that holds deep personal/brand meaning
  • Relatable and meaningful to a select audience
  • A promise your business’ buyer persona will latch on to
  • Something that influences everything you do in digital marketing
  • What your products do and mean to others

Examples of Positioning Statements

Wrangler - from its company page:

“Wrangler® is enduring American freedom; it's in the spirit of people who work hard, have fun and recognize courageous individuality.”

Wrangler’s positioning statement clearly communicates who they are and what they’re all about (enduring American freedom), who they’re for (people who work hard, have fun and recognize courageous individuality), with an implied meaning of why they matter (this same American freedom is “in the spirit of people” they recognize and value).

You can see this in how they market Wrangler Jeans:

Automobile Manufacturers

Positioning Statements don’t have to be long. They can be short and sweet. They just need to represent your true nature and connect with your ideal customer in a meaningful way.

BMW - The ultimate driving machine / Sheer driving pleasure

Mercedes-Benz - Engineered like no other car in the world / The best or nothing

Volvo - A few years ago, Volvo’s positioning statement was: “For upscale American families. Volvo is the family automobile that offers maximum safety.” They’ve not lost site of the safety aspect of their brand, however, they have evolved into personal mobility: “We want to provide freedom to move in a personal, sustainable and safe way.”

Johnson Controls

Some manufacturing companies make a positioning statement known smack dab in the middle of the business home page as a headline, like one of the top manufacturing companies headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Johnson Controls:

We Help You Design, Build, Retrofit, and Manage Intelligent Facilities

Hopefully, these well-known manufacturing companies with established positioning statements have inspired and given you a fresh perspective with ideas for crafting or revamping your own.

But don’t just think positioning statements are for the big boys of industry. Look also to smaller, even lesser known brands outside your own industry for examples and inspiration. Here are a few more examples:

Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income:

Circa 2012: “I’m the crash test dummy of online business, sharing what works (and what doesn’t) so you know exactly how to build your business better.” 2019: “Hi, I’m Pat Flynn! I’m here to show you through my own experiments exactly how you can stop trading time for money and start building a business that works for you. I’m here to show you how it works.”

Dave Ramsey of Ramsey Solutions:

“Ramsey Solutions provides Biblically based, common-sense education and empowerment that give hope to everyone in every walk of life.”

Mark Levy of Levy Innovation:

“Consultants and entrepreneurial businesses hire me to increase their fees by 2000%”

For more insight on the value of positioning statements, take a look at Mark’s Clients page.

Notice that Positioning Statements of companies of any size or industry…

  • Can be long or short, but the greatest impact is in the form of one or two concise sentences
  • May evolve over time as the business matures or moves in new directions
  • Can be found on the brand's company, about or home page, in web copy, in videos
  • Will most always contain these four elements: who they are, what they do, who they do it for, and why they matter to their audience

How to Write Your Own Positioning Statement

To write an effective business brand positioning statement, you’ll want to make it a cross-functional, multi-departmental exercise. Get insights from your key stakeholders. Share this post with them and ask their input on the four key elements:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you do (better than anyone else)?
  3. Who do you serve?
  4. Why do you matter to those you serve?

You may want to hold a series of working meetings with your folks to figure this out. But remember, some people are talkers and some are writers in how they choose to express their best ideas and viewpoints So be flexible in how you seek and gather information regarding the development of your Positioning Statement.

Once you’ve received enough valuable input from the select members of your organization, follow these steps to hone the collective thoughts:

  1. Arrange their thoughts into themes, categories, and areas of energy and fascination
  2. Look for the words, phrases, and stories that hold deep and significant meaning representing what you stand for
  3. Extract these thought nuggets and use them to craft your new Positioning Statement into one or two short sentences

How to Use Your Positioning Statement in Digital Marketing

Quite honestly, you should plan to use your new positioning statement anywhere and everywhere. It need not be spelled out verbatim, but it should be readily recognizable in the way you talk, writing messages, and go to market.

Here are some ideas to get you started thinking about how to use your Positioning Statement:

  • Develop your buyer personas with it in mind
  • Put it on your website
  • Add it to your social media profiles
  • Blog about it
  • Use it when building new product lines
  • Enter it in your title and meta description of your home/about page
  • Incorporate it in your landing pages, thank you pages, and follow up email campaigns
  • Create imagery that is contextual with it
  • Create videos that captures the essence and emotion of it (e.g. Wrangler Jeans video)
  • Feature it in your proposals, case studies, and customer testimonials

With your Positioning Statement in hand, you’re ready to stand out and take a leadership position in your digital marketing initiatives. It’s what your ideal customers want and need from you - even if they don’t yet know it.

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Topics: Digital Marketing, Manufacturing


About the Author:

Greg Elwell is a freelance copywriter. Formerly, he was a customer success copywriter for a leading tech software company, and he also started and ran a digital marketing business focused on creating strategies and content for B2B companies.

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