Room for Two
Is your competitor seizing the positioning that you believe is the driving force in your product's market? If they're like most marketers, they're trying to establish a broad positioning definition that they believe will box others out. You know, the "we'll own efficacy" routine. The truth is, this weak positioning strategy can actually provide you the opportunity to make a finer cut and, likely, a more impactful one.
Look no further than the PPI (Proton-Pump Inhibitor) market for a strong example. For years since the initial safety concerns were relegated to obscurity, this market has been defined entirely by efficacy. Each competitor in the market has demonstrated near comparable levels of effectiveness in acid suppression and a range of other parameters in a plethora of huge clinical trials. So what's a PPI Brand Director to do? Well, if you're Nexium you put your eggs in "the power" bucket and support it with a big budget. But latecomers Protonix and Aciphex required much more disciplined approaches to conveying efficacy—carving out a unique promotional focus on nighttime GERD and rapid onset of action, respectively.
So the truth is…there is room for two (and even more) Brands to have a positioning in the same genre, but with very distinct focal points. As you prepare to launch your product into an existing market, don't settle for a positioning that is "available" or second best and will only fail to differentiate your Brand. Instead, look more deeply into what unique opportunities your product brings to the market and sharpen the point of your marketing pencil. Great positioning comes from differentiation…make sure the one for your Brand will give them something to remember you by.