Decision: Market Positioning

The deepest branch within the Decision Driven® Strategy decision pattern begins with the Target Markets decision.  This is the natural fan-out point in your company’s decision model; for each market that you choose to pursue you will want to think through your market positioning.  I’ve framed the Positioning decision as “How will our products and services stand out in this market against both direct and indirect competitors?”

Decision Context: Target Markets and Positioning

Decision Context: Target Markets and Positioning

This is an ideal decision to use to guide your competitive analysis.  Typical business plan outlines invite you to gather lots of interesting data on your competitors, but this data is really only useful if you explicitly score out your market positioning alternatives against theirs.  To use this well-framed decision as a competitive analysis tool:

  • Gather enough competitor data so you can “reverse engineer” their market positioning statements
  • Synthesize 2 or 3 market positioning alternatives for your organization
  • Evaluate your market positioning alternatives against the top 2 or 3 competitors
  • Use what you discover in the scoring process to optimize your positioning to increase your market advantage
  • Commit to a market positioning and flow its consequences through to your other market decisions: (e.g. segments/opportunities, product/service portfolios and platform strategy).

The Spider Chart feature within the Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF) is a very useful tool to visualize this competitive analysis and to guide the optimization of your positioning statement.

Here is a criteria pattern that you can use to jump start your Positioning decision:

Positioning decision - criteria pattern

Positioning decision – criteria pattern

The top 3 factors are just placeholders for the market drivers that will influence customer buying decisions within this target market.  These would typically be identified, prioritized and confirmed by some form of market research.  I think you should always include the top 3 factors identified by your market research as criteria in this decision, but you may elect to include 5, 6 or even 10 such criteria.

Market positioning alternatives are often comprised of multiple “vectors of differentiation“.  I typically express these as a simple A + B + C statement and then elaborate on each factor within an expanded description field.

Define and capture your Positioning strategy for your enterprise with the proven and ready-to-use decision patterns available within the Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF). Please contact the Decision Driven® Solutions team at or to start your free trial of DDSF.

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