Mastering Product Positioning in B2B: A Guide to Strategic Implementation

Lena M.
10 min read
01.11.2023 11:46:00

The definition of buyer personas, the ideal customer profile (ICP), and razor-sharp messaging all fall under the heading of product positioning.

This makes product positioning the most important aspect of product marketing - even in B2B marketing, nothing works without product positioning.

This also became clear at SaaStr. There, great success stories were attributed to the essential positioning of a product.

The success factors that you need to consider include target group analysis and strategic positioning.

Let's take a closer look at this!

What is Product Marketing?

First of all, let's clarify what product marketing actually is, why it is so important for your company, and what strategy you can use to successfully build up your product marketing.

Product marketing describes the process of bringing a product to market (go-to-market), advertising it, selling it to customers, and keeping the product on the market

For successful product marketing, you primarily need to know and understand your target group:

  • What are their needs?
  • What do they want your product to fulfill?
  • What gap in the market does your product fill?

With the help of these questions, you can adapt your sales strategy to your customers and position your product correctly. 

In contrast to conventional marketing, product marketing takes a more strategic approach. 

In many companies, product marketing is a specific approach to marketing and the considerations start in product management

Product marketing focuses on all the steps that a customer goes through before making a purchase - in other words, the buyer journey. 

The focus is on building deeper customer relationships. It is not so much the objective features of the products that count, but rather the benefits perceived by customers. 

The aim is to position the products in such a way that they are directly appealing and attractive to the target group.

The Goals of Product Marketing

1. The Buyer Persona - Get to Know Your Customers Better

It must be clear to your customers what added value your product offers them. In order to tailor your product precisely to the needs and requirements of your customers, you need to get to know them better in advance.

What problems do your customers often have to overcome? What wishes do they have? You create a so-called buyer persona - a profile of your target group in which you record all their needs. 

Remember that your customers always want to feel seen and understood. Customer research therefore enables you to always be up-to-date and offer your customers a product that is modern, up-to-date, and helpful for them. 

The first step in product positioning is therefore to get to know your target group better and to collect relevant customer data.

2. Get to Know Your Competition and Find Your Unique Selling Point

In order to discover your own individuality and present it correctly, you need to get to know your competition. What advantages do their products offer? What aspects do they fulfill that your product does not? Where do your competitors still have gaps that you can fill? 

In order to establish yourself on the global market, you need a unique selling point, an aspect that makes your company and its products unique and offers your customers better-added value than other products. 

Competition stimulates the market but also makes it a lot more dangerous. So regularly inform yourself about your competitors and develop your own company in a personalized way.

3. Position Your Product Correctly

One of your main goals in product marketing is to position your product appropriately. Your product, your brand image and your "tone of voice" should all be in harmony and evoke the right feelings in your customers. To achieve this, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does my product fit today's market?
  • How does it differ from the competition?
  • Can I differentiate my product from those of my competitors
  • Are there products that we used to sell on the market but would no longer sell today? If so, why?

What tasks does product marketing involve?

Product marketing is a large subject area with many sub-categories to consider.

Below we highlight the six most common tasks in product marketing:

1. Define Your Target Audience

Your target group is the top priority for successful product marketing. If you know the needs of your target group, you can market your product in a way that appeals to customers and guarantees you profit.

If you want to create a buyer persona that is representative of your target group, you can use clear illustrations. Create a kind of CV or profile for your buyer persona so that you can find all the important information in one place and quickly get an overall picture of your target group.

2. Develop a Successful Marketing Strategy

Your marketing and sales strategy helps you to create targeted content and develop effective campaigns. It supports you in creating your buyer personas and ideal customer profiles (ICPs). To create a successful marketing strategy, you need to consider the following points: 

  • Know your target audience.
  • Differentiate yourself from the competition by clearly defining your product positioning and message.
  • Set goals for your product.

3. Maintain Your Relationship with Sales

Product marketers need to maintain a direct relationship with sales and work with them to find the right customers for the product. They also provide sales representatives with materials that provide them with all the information about the product in detail. 

This way, you and your teams are on the same page when it comes to what is shared with customers and you can provide a consistent experience to everyone who comes into contact with the product.

4. Keep the Needs of Your Target Audience in Mind

Make sure your product meets the needs of your target audience and align these with the product roadmap and product management. 

The needs of your target group change over time, as innovations continue to develop, new offerings emerge and your customers therefore also move in new directions.

If you regularly inform yourself about the current needs of your target group, you can adapt your product accordingly and do not run the risk of your customers suddenly losing interest in your product.

5. Keep Your Product up to Date

If your customers' expectations and wishes change, you will not only have to make slight changes to your product but possibly also to your marketing strategy. In any case, your product should be up to date to remain interesting.

6. Position the Product Correctly

Product positioning is one of the most important aspects of product marketing. You need to clearly present to your customers why your product was developed, who your product is suitable for, what problems your product solves, and what makes it unique. 

In the following sections, we will take a closer look at what exactly product positioning is all about and why it is such an essential part of product marketing.

What is Product Positioning?

Product positioning? What often seems simple in the B2C sector presents many a B2B company with mountains of challenges. Products in the B2B sector are often more complex and technical.

This is how positioning works: by listing the product features.

Nobody understands why a product is outstanding when simply listing sober facts - or do you know why a NAS with PCIe 10GbE network card and Quad Core processor is a real advantage for your company over an ordinary storage system? Or what a NAS actually is?

Your potential customers will feel the same way if you just throw around technical terms and lists.

And this is exactly where product positioning comes in: It's about showing your buyer persona how they can benefit from your product.

We Want to Sell - Really Good Products

What all software companies probably have, regardless of whether they are SaaS, start-ups, or established B2B companies, is a good deal of expertise. There should be no shortage of this in your company either.

However, a really good product won't get you anywhere if nobody understands that it's a really good product.

Before planning advertisements, printing brochures, and making every effort, you should take a close look at what excites your customers.

To do this, you need to take a close look at your own offering. Only if you know what makes your customers' hearts beat faster, what excites them, can you emphasize the advantages of your product.

Conduct targeted marketing - this is exactly where product placement comes in.

In the following sections, you will learn:

  • what product positioning is.

  • why you need to know your target group down to the last detail.

  • how to communicate strategically. 

  • how to emphasize the benefits of your product.

  • how to create a positioning for your product in the market that boosts sales.

Good and Bad Product Positioning

First things first: not every positioning is a successful positioning. To put it very casually, the aim cannot be to launch your product on the market and praise something about it as a unique selling point. But what makes a good positioning?

How You Can Tell That Your Positioning is Bad

Many people generously ignore the fact that their product is poorly positioned or don't even recognize it.

You can recognize poor positioning by the following signs:

  • Your sales team has to spend a long time explaining to customers what it's about until they understand it.

  • You have a poor retention rate or a high churn rate.

  • You have a lot of leads, but they end up buying from your competitor.

  • Your prospects think the price is too high. You can only sell at all if you offer a generous discount.

It is important that you always bear in mind that your positioning must be adapted to changes - both in the product and the market.

But When is Positioning Good?

If you belong to the target group and are confronted with a well-positioned product, you won't forget it in a hurry.

Excellent examples of this can still be found almost exclusively in the B2C market. Just think of the positioning of every new iPhone: the message here is clear - technically at the forefront, visually in a league of its own, and all without selling data. The chip in the iPhone is usually mentioned just as little as other technical details.

Essentially, the iPhone is not an ordinary smartphone and is not positioned as such, which is strategically clever, as it can do far less than a smartphone without a jailbreak. The fact that we do not criticize this is primarily due to the positioning as a device in itself, which has its own unique qualities.

Such examples of strategic positioning from the B2C sector can easily be transferred to the B2B market. Here too, the central goal is to provide the target group with powerful arguments for your product that they can relate to.

In summary, good product positioning is characterized by the following features:

  • It is tailored to the knowledge and needs of the target group.

  • It does not create pressure to justify missing features.

  • It communicates the benefits.

  • It states what the product is about and what makes it unique.

Why is Product Positioning so Important?

This should already make it clearer why the strategic positioning of a product is important. But perhaps the following questions come to mind:

But don't products sell that hardly anyone understands? Do I even want to reach people who are not familiar with the technical details and don't understand the jargon?

These questions are often asked in the B2B sector in particular, where customers can be expected to have greater expertise than in B2C.

However, this does not make sense, which can be quickly explained using the example chosen: Doctors do not necessarily have to be experts in organizing their practice. They do not need to understand how online appointment booking brings financial benefits or know the data protection risks of outsourced appointment organizations. To reach this target group effectively, you need to offer more than just technically flawless solutions and detailed explanations.

In B2B, a product is also brought closer to the target group through positioning in order to ultimately be able to sell it.

It is therefore just as important here to know the needs of the target group, to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the competition, and to be able to position your own product with its advantages accordingly.

Four steps for perfect product positioning

Such strategic positioning can be achieved in four simple steps, which we have listed for you below.

Step 1: Who is Your Target Group and What Do They Want?

If you don't know your target group, you will fail. So ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who has bought your product so far?

  • Who might be interested in it?

  • And why is this particular group interested in it?

Create a target group profile that is as detailed as possible:

  • Are they small or large companies?

  • What sector are they in?

  • What turnover do they generate?

  • What skills do they have?

  • What problems do they face?

  • What annoys those responsible time and again in their day-to-day operations?

  • Where is there potential for improvement?

Step 2: What Can Your Product Do?

You need to know your product at least as well as your target group. For this, it's worth creating a profile.

To get from product to positioning, you need to know what functions it offers and what the benefits are.

You also need to know what your product cannot do. Brainstorming in a team is a good idea here. It is important that not only developers are involved, but that other perspectives are also taken on board. For example, it makes sense to specifically ask existing customers what exactly they appreciate and love about the product.

Step 3: What Can Your Product Do Better Than the Competition?

Let's not kid ourselves: There are probably already competing products and the idea is not completely unique. It is therefore important to know the competition well: What can they do? What can't your product do? What can your product do better?

When comparing with established alternatives, it is important to develop clear unique selling points that meet the needs of your target group. 

These features should be precisely formulated and specifically tailored to the target group - law firms and real estate companies are addressed differently than tech startups.

Step 4: Which Trends Can You Use?

It often makes sense to identify relevant trends and use them for your purposes. Choose trends that are directly related to your product in order to clearly communicate the benefits.

An example of this is the trend toward digitalization, which already offers a comprehensive framework of meaning and demonstrates benefits without having to explain much. However, make sure that the trend positioning does not become too superficial and ultimately only cause confusion.

No Marketing Works Without Positioning and No Sales Without Marketing

Strategic product positioning is important because, without a suitable product, there can be no marketing and no sales.

In concrete terms, this means that without appropriate preparatory work, no meaningful marketing positioning is possible, which impairs the sales success of the product.

Product positioning is not a nice extra, but an essential part of the marketing strategy that must precede all concrete marketing measures.

Conclusion: How to Implement Product Positioning for an Effective Marketing Strategy

Product marketing is about aligning product positioning with customer needs so that customers actually buy and use the products. We use a systematic approach to bring your product to market and make it sellable.

Finding a positioning for a product is also one of the most important corporate tasks in B2B.

Only those who know their target group and position their product accordingly on the market can carry out targeted marketing and sustainably increase their sales.

But one thing is particularly important: it is not enough to simply know that product positioning is important, you also have to implement it.