Marketers with the aim of positioning a product in the market have to do a lot of considerable work in generating consumer awareness must be done. The positioning of a product helps in creating a long-lasting impression of the product in the minds of the target customers. The whole idea of positioning is make the prospective customers appreciate the product or service was created for them. This paper highlight the analysis utilized by marketers to determine product positioning, competitive positioning, customer perceptions and distribution channel analysis.
Product positioning can be decided by use of perceptual mapping, which is a graphical technique. Other techniques, which can be applied, include factor analysis, dimensional scaling and logical analysis. Marketers use such techniques to design particular values that define the products that a company is offering. These values are ingrained into the minds of the consumers. These values should distinguish the product from that of competitors (Evans et. al., 2004). Positioning is one of the ways a company builds a competitive advantage ensuring that the position adopted attracts the consumers in the target market.
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Methodology problems are some of the shortcomings with these methods. This is because, analysis methods are hard to apply and rely. Unlike methods such as questionnaires and interviews, these methods may lack effectiveness in data gathering since they are prone to errors and are complex. Their quantitative design requires that they can gather measurable information, which is traceable over a long period. In addition, these methods are applicable and effective in marketing and other social sciences. Their wide use and thoroughness in procedure have made them to win the confidence of marketers.
Customers’ perception is the mental picture a consumer develops after receiving and considering various input about a company’s products or service. In assessing customers’ perception, marketers try to know what consumers have received in terms of products from promotions or other media. This perception is what drives consumers to buy or not to buy. If consumers’ expectations are that, products will meet their needs, they buy them. Expectations are drawn from perception, and hence, marketers are supposed to understand the perception of their customers to facilitate promotions and sales in line with these expectations.
Perception response from consumers can be measured using SERVQUAL or RATER, which is service quality framework. The simplified RATER is effective in determining customers’ service understanding and has been used over the year. According to Nykiel et al., (2007), SERVQUAL “remains a complete attempt to conceptualize and measure service quality” and can be used in a wide variety of industries.
SERVQUAL methods dimensions have been criticised by some as not representing universal dimensions. It is also a complex and unreliable method when used in its original form.
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Competitive positioning sets a product and company apart from competitors. The value the product and the company offers it target consumers, which is different from other available alternatives. Some of the values a product and company can distinguish itself with include product leadership, operation excellence and customer intimacy. One of the tools, which can be applied in competitive positioning, includes Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threat (SWOT). The strength of SWOT is that it covers all facets of the organization, which enable the organization to determine the best competitive positioning based on it strength and weakness as well as opportunities and available threats. The SWOT analysis fails if the strength, weakness, opportunities and threats are not well defined. This leads to the wrong competitive positioning of the products.
Products reach the consumers by this means. Competitors’ inefficient distribution channels enable new entrants to develop better and efficient means, which can dominate distribution. This should be a concern for the marketer because a good channel should be efficient and timely. Determining the distribution channel to the target market in respect to its behaviour and pattern of consumption is important.
Dahl Power Measurement is one methods used in the distribution channel analysis. Dahl power is determined by how many changes can be prompted to others. A manufacturer, who spends X amount of money on a particular product, can be influenced by a wholesaler to spend more on product promotion. Thus, the power of the wholesaler over the manufacturer can be to measure the difference between X amount and the new amount. Dahl Power Measurement is a more realistic way to measure distribution channel analysis since it is simple. It is simple, in that several stages of distributions are involved in determining the final decision, hence being more objective. The problem with Dahl Power Measurement is that it can be used by one party’s selfish interest. If the real underlying factors are not well analysed, it can lead to waste of resources.
Different Types of Marketing Analysis
The main goal of marketing analysis is to determine the smartness of the market and understand the ever-changing opportunities available. Marketing analysis has several dimension including, market size, market growth, market profitability, industry cost structure, distribution channels, market trends and key success factors.
Market size can be determined using the current sales and potential future sales. These potential future sales can be realised if the current sales can be expanded. These data can be obtained from government data, trade associations, customers’ survey and financial data from major players in the industry.
Market Growth Rate
This is the use of current sales data to project future sales and hence, determining future market growth. This method holds all other unpredictable factors constant. Some of the predictable data includes demographical growth, and complimentary products sales growth.
The average potential profit for the market is applied to predict future profits in the market. Porter (1996), identifies five key factors which influence profitability of a company: Buyers power, supplier power, barriers to entry, threat of substitute products, and rivalry among firms in the industry
This is determining the important cost structure by identifying products value points and cost isolation. Each cost is assigned to a particular value point in product distribution chain.
In conclusion, a successful positioning strategy should be able to differentiate a product, look in to customers’ buying decisive factors, as well as express key attributes of the product. Regardless of the marketing analysis method applied, the result of the analysis should reflect the best position, which gives a product a competitive advantage over competitors. An in-depth understanding of competitors enables a better positioning, as well as regular positioning assessment to keep up with market changes. Thus, market positioning is a continuous process rather than an event.