Positioning in Marketing: How to Stand Out In Your Industry

Positioning in marketing

“Positioning in marketing” is one of those things that everyone has heard of but very few people truly understand.

Unlike other aspects of your business like your offer, your landing page, and your ads, it takes time to reap the benefits of positioning. And if your positioning doesn’t click with every other thing you do in your marketing efforts, you won’t be able to stand out and sell your products.

The problem is that positioning is like sex when you’re a teenager, it’s that mysterious, highly sought after thing that everybody’s talking about, yet nobody’s doing it the right way. In this post, we’re going to uncover how to develop your positioning the right way so that you stand out in your industry. But first…

What I Realized About Positioning

What I Realized About Positioning

I always had a problem with positioning. I didn’t understand how to talk about it. I didn’t understand what it was.  Yes, I was in marketing, but I didn’t understand what positioning was. The funny thing is that people always come to me and say, “You had a great positioning.” 

I wasn’t able to articulate it to my clients until I realized this: Positioning in your marketing is your ability to intentionally show yourself in the way that is relevant to the person whom you want to work with, that’s it.

And if I said nothing more, that’s it in brief. Think about it this way, when it comes to relevancy, how do you want someone to see you?  Because you need to understand that the way that someone sees you is articulated by you. The human brain is amazing, but the truth is that it’s not perfectly rational when it comes to deciphering large amounts of information quickly.

This means that we make judgment calls on things even though the information is not necessarily correct or complete and our mind isn’t even trying to filter it through the question of “Is this really true?” So if I go out and say, “I am a coach to six-figure entrepreneurs,” when someone reads that, when someone comes across your content and then they go to see who you are and they see that you’re positioned in a specific way through your branding and through your messaging…you become that person. 

And assuming that you have something to back that up with, that is who you are. And your positioning isn’t something that you’re locked into for life. I’ve had a lot of different positionings over the last six years since having a public brand and being a personal brand. It started off with me helping entrepreneurs build funnels. 

Then it turned into me helping entrepreneurs scale businesses. Then it turned into me helping entrepreneurs scale seven-figure businesses. And then it turned into me advising and partnering with seven-plus figure entrepreneurs. I work with some of the top entrepreneurs and top celebrities in the world to be able to help them scale their impact.

More on how I made that change later in the post. But first, you need to understand the big picture and how positioning is a crucial part of being relevant to your audience.

The Importance of Positioning to Be Relevant to Your Audience

Positioning is the hidden piece of the puzzle that connects different parts of relevancy to be able to resonate with your audience and sell them your offer. So start by knowing your audience, knowing your messaging, and doing it the right way based on your audience’s journey. But if you’re not positioned in the market as the person who can help that audience to get the results they want, they won’t take you up on your offer.

Positioning is a huge major key inside relevancy because if you get your positioning wrong, what’s going to end up happening is that everything else won’t make sense. So your offer has to go along with your positioning. For example, if you’re helping people scale to seven figures and your major product is a $47 product, that’s not coherent.

You need to be careful about your positioning and how your audience sees you, because if you don’t do it right, you won’t be able to stand out to that audience (and you’ll put yourself in the red ocean). So how do you stop that? How can you create effective positioning?  That’s what we’re going to cover in the rest of this post 🙂

The Step-By-Step Process to Stand Out to Your Audience

step by step positioning

Now that you know what I mean by positioning and its importance when it comes to being relevant to your audience so that they take you up on your offer and actually follow you in the first place, the next step now is to actually create an effective positioning…

A positioning that resonates with you and your audience allows you to become relevant and play in your blue ocean with no other competitors. So here are the 4 steps to develop effective positioning that makes you stand out to your audience.

#1: Figure Out Who You Need to Be Seen As (So People Work With You)

The first thing you need to do is to think about the end result of how you want people to see you and then work backward from there. So you need to ask yourself, how do they need to see you in order for them to no longer think of you as a friend but rather as somebody that they can look up to? 

How can you make them think of you as someone they can learn from and that can help them get further in their life?  So you need to be looked at as the role model for your audience, because that is positioning. Now, more than likely what’s going to happen is that you’re right here and your positioning might make you so that you need to be over there. 

Personal brand positioning is this wonderful thing, where it’s kind of almost “futuring” out of yourself. You’re almost looking into the future and saying, “Oh, I need to be that person if I want to attract all these people.” The truth is four years ago, I couldn’t attract the people that I attract today because I wasn’t the person I am today.  I couldn’t resonate with the people like I can resonate today. 

And four years from now, I’ll be able to resonate with even more people because as you become your higher and higher self, you can resonate with more and more people. Or actually people resonate with you better.So think about who you need to be seen as.

#2. Who Are You (to Be Positioned This Way)?

I know you may be tempted to skip this section or even close this page, but don’t. I know it’s a deep, deep, spiritual question, but you need to be aware of it completely to be able to create the perfect positioning that resonates with you, thus resonating with the audience that you want to attract as well.

So you need to start asking yourself who are you versus who you need to be seen as. What’s the difference? And how can you bridge the gap between the two?  And an even more fundamental question is whether you want to become this person that other people need to see you as or not. Because if we really want to step into authentic leadership, I believe that we have to become what we want to become, not what someone else wants us to become. 

We don’t want to copy people, and we don’t want inauthentic people. We want to follow authentic leaders, and my hope is that you are one of those people. And so this is why it’s important to know who you are and to know where the gap is in between that and who you want to be. That doesn’t mean that you have to fake it. That doesn’t mean that you have to become it tomorrow, but knowing who you want to become is very important for positioning.

And if your positioning is too far outside of what’s authentic, scrap it. Get back to what’s authentic, even if it’s not sexy. Authenticity will sell more than hype. It will sell more than anything. Authenticity sells because we are in a world of made-up stuff and the soul knows what’s authentic. Deep down, people’s subconscious know very well what’s authentic and not, so always go for authentic over something that might be kind of pushing over the line.

#3. What Is Congruent With Your Brand (And Relevancy)?

In terms of messaging, branding, offers, and every other part of your business, what is the positioning that’s congruent with every other aspect of your business? You need to make sure that they’re all congruent with each other. Because here’s the truth, if you have a positioning that’s off with your messaging or off with your offer, or if any element is not congruent, people subconsciously are going to feel that.

They’ll start thinking, “Well, I don’t really know if this person’s for me, because they’re saying this one thing but over here they’re saying something completely different.” So your positioning is really allowing you to be almost like the center of relevancy, linking your messaging, your offer, your avatar, and every front end element of your business, all of which revolves around it.

So ask yourself what’s congruent with every other part of your business. And if something isn’t congruent, then either change it or change your positioning. Everything has to mesh if you want to be authentic, and you definitely do want to be authentic.

#4. Develop Your Positioning Sentence (Your 7-Second Line)

What you need to do now after answering the above 3 questions is to contextualize who you are (the person your audience needs to look up to) in seven seconds or less. And this is what positioning comes down to. You need to make it easy for the human mind to contextualize you and your positioning in less than 7 seconds.

Because when someone comes across you, you have really one opportunity to be able to contextualize yourself to them. Your job is to give clarity and simplicity to them so that they can judge if they should keep paying attention. This might be for your bio. This might be for graphics, but more than anything else, it’s for general personal context.. 

If someone comes and listens to it, they go in, and they’re like, “Oh, that’s what that person does.” This is a huge part of relevancy which is allowing someone to know what you do very quickly.

Imagine These 2 Scenarios

Let me simplify it for you. If I came to you and I was like, “Well, I’m Scott Oldford,” and I kept talking for 30 to 40 seconds, if not more… What would you think after that? After a while you’d probably start thinking like “Okay, he said three things. I don’t know what his deal is. What’s he talking about?”  What if instead I come to you and say, “I’m Scott Oldford and I help scale seven-figure online businesses”?

Then you’re like, “Okay, I don’t have a business, this guy sounds like he’s a cool guy, but unless I’m following him for motivation, he’s not going to be able to help me.” And that would be fine, because it’s better to have a small, genuinely interested audience instead of having a big audience who are not interested in what I’m offering.

But what if I told you the above sentence and you have a $50,000 a month business? You’ll be interested and you’ll be like, “Oh, really? Tell me more.” And now I don’t need to sell you something. You are the one who will want to hear my offer and consume my content to know if I can back up that positioning.

But isn’t that very niche?

When I tell people about positioning, and I mention my positioning, they think I’m leaving a lot of money on the table. And they say I should instead go with something like, “I help influencers and online businesses scale,” but that’s the #1 mistake when it comes to a positioning statement, other than being too long. To help people understand this principle, I usually talk about it when I’m on the topics of audience or avatar. 

But to recap it briefly, the more niche something is, the more it’s going to get the reaction of, “This is the person I really need to talk to.” The more specific something is, the higher the chance that someone’s going to have that invoked emotional reaction of, “Oh, I’m going to pay attention to this because I might be someone that needs that help.” In short, you become the big fish in a small pond. I talked about this more in-depth in my customer avatar post.

If you can’t get it sexy, make it clear

Don’t go hard on yourself. It’s not always going to be sexy. I want clarity way before sexy. Sexy will come in time. But clarity is a must. Without clarity, you’re going to be screwed. So go with clarity first, and the sexy part will come later as you move forward with your business.

How to Test Your 7-Second Positioning Line… Fast

You don’t need to go and create a marketing campaign, and spend  a lot of money to know if your positioning works or not. Here’s a quick way to litmus test your 7-second positioning line. Tell someone who fits your customer avatar about it and see their reaction. If they’re like, “Oh my God. Yeah, that’s me,” then you’ve found yourself a winner. Until you reach that moment, work on making it clear and specific to your customer avatar. 

You want the instantaneous yes moment where that other person on the other end, who is your ideal customer, tells themselves “I need to pay attention. I need to look a little deeper to see if this is who I’ve been looking for and if this is somebody that I can follow with this stuff because I know I’m lost.” Now you got your foot in the door.

Use Your 7-Second Line to Make Your Audience Contextualize You

And this 7-second line should go in everything that represents your brand or any content that you produce, like your website, your webinar, your Facebook, and so on. And I talk about contextualization, not consumption because human beings no longer consume, they contextualize. 

I don’t care if you have a great piece of content, the chances are, someone’s going to contextualize that piece of content and whatever information they have about you and that piece of content in less than 10 seconds, and whatever conclusion they draw at that point is going to be the reality of what that content is to them.

And your job with your positioning is to make your audience contextualize you as the person you need to be for them to know that you are relevant and to want to work with you. And even if they’re not the perfect customer, you need to make it clear who you are so that they refer people your way.

“X Does Y. You Need to Know Him Because Z”

As Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This requires us to be extremely clear, which is why I love this framework. If someone was introducing you, what would they say? X does Y. You need to know him because Z.

For example: Scott helps entrepreneurs scale to seven figures and beyond. You need to know him because it sounds like you have an opportunity for sales and marketing growth. And if you’re wondering how to extract this and make it work for your business… First, forget what you think you do. 

What you’re really attempting to formulate is what other people need to know that you do. In doing this for those I’ve served, I’ve typically looked at whom they’ve served, the greatest pain they solve, and find the perfect intro, as Clay Hebert talks about, by using the gap that they solve between the pain and vision for their customers. Your Ideal Customer Worksheet will come handy here.

Once you have that, take it and then write it out thirty times. Scrap what you’ve written and start again. This time, much simpler. I’m talking, QUICK. People have such a small attention span. If an eight-year-old doesn’t get it, someone on the internet scrolling for five seconds won’t either. At this point, someone understands your method, they understand your unfair advantage, and they understand specifically what you do.

It doesn’t have to sound good to you, but it has to sound good to them. That is how you develop this phrase. It’s not complicated, but it takes time. It takes iteration, and it definitely takes a level of patience with yourself and the words that you want to have on paper. Once you have that ready, you’re not done yet. You need to have something in place to make your positioning work.

#5. Your Positioning Assets: How to Make People Actually See You This Way

Now, that you know your positioning and your 7-second line, the next step is to have your positioning assets that support your positioning. Because to be honest, we’re all suspicious, especially when we meet someone for the first time.

Imagine the following scenario: If I said, “Hey guys, I help scale seven-figure businesses” but I’ve never scaled a seven-figure business, I have no testimonials, I have no social proof, and I’ve never written a post about it before… Or if people start reading/listening to my content, and it sounds like I don’t have a clue what I’m talking about…

If that’s the situation, then I got my positioning wrong. We have to have assets to position us to the point in which we’re trying to be. 

My Journey to Position Myself As I Am Today

I’ll demonstrate with my journey to show you how your positioning evolves and how I used assets to position myself to where I am today. If you went back and looked at me in 2015-2016, I had nothing in my positioning about scaling seven-figure businesses, or even six-figure businesses. Seriously. In this period, my positioning was all about “I help you with online marketing funnels.” 

So, could I help you with the other stuff at that period? Absolutely. I was great at that. I had been running a business for about 15 years at that point. Was I as good at that as I am now? No, but I still had the intelligence and knowledge. 

In 2016 to 2017, I knew that I wanted to make the switch to being able to make people see that I could help scale seven-figure businesses.  So here’s what I did. I started getting on as many podcasts as possible. I started being able to change my positioning to where it was no longer about marketing, it was about growth. I took on private clients, something that I never ever did before. And I helped those private clients get past those seven figures and multiple seven figures.

I went and I utilized PR to be able to craft a message so that people could see me as the person to go to. I had my unfair advantage of my unique stories, knowledge, skills, talent, character and connections that I started to use at this point to stand out. But if we don’t have the positioning assets and we don’t smell like, look like, and feel like who we’re saying we are, it’s going to be really difficult for someone’s intellectual and sensory inputs to be able to say, “Yeah, that makes sense.” 

Now, as you can see here, this has nothing really to do with brand necessarily. You don’t have to have the most beautiful brand in the world. That’s something that I’ve invested money in, but I don’t believe that’s why I’ve had the level of success that I’ve had. My positioning (and positioning assets) is what helped me.

I have my success because when somebody thinks Scott Oldford, they’re like, “Oh, I’ve seen video testimonials, I’ve seen him on Entrepreneur. I’ve seen him on Forbes. I’ve seen this piece of content, I’ve seen…” etc., etc. And after that, they’re like, “Oh, you know what? I should probably listen to that guy.” And that was 100% crafted, that didn’t just happen by itself. 

Did it take work? Absolutely, but there’s a reason why there aren’t that many people on the planet that have been able to successfully scale seven-figure businesses, and also have the amount of demand that I have in terms of people that actually want to be there.

How to Start Your Own Positioning Journey

It doesn’t matter who you are “now.” Positioning is about looking to the future and saying, “Okay, here’s who I am today. Here’s where I want to go.” Then you have the foresight to say, “Well, today I can say that I’m this because this is who I am.” Remember, we want to follow authentic leaders.

After that, you will start thinking about where you want to be, just like how I wanted to be the man who can help scale 7-figure businesses, not just the marketing funnel guy. From there, you start thinking “What do I need to do in order to be able to get there, to be able to get to that positioning?” 

Yes, you may have the knowledge, just like me, I have been building businesses for years when I started online in 2015, but just because you have the knowledge doesn’t mean that someone’s going to believe you. And remember that the end goal is to have high believability. 

Because if we can engage the intellectual mind into believing our positioning (backed by truth, of course), this leads you to go from intellectual to emotional brainwaves, which is what we do when we look at anything. We take our impressions based on our emotions. And here’s the beautiful part. When somebody sees a post of mine and they’ve already gone through my content and already know who I am, they’ve already contextualized who I am. 

Now, I won’t have to sell them on the fact that I could help them. What they’re going to do is sell that idea to themselves, that they’re ready to go to that next level. And that’s the moment in which they’re messaging me or calling me or emailing me, and so on. That’s why I have ridiculously low refund rates and I don’t spend much to acquire customers. And now you know how to map your positioning journey to reach that state.

Stand Out In Your Industry (And Grow faster)

In 2015-2016, I was doing okay as the marketing funnels guy. But once I started changing my positioning the right way, to change it to scaling 7-figure businesses, my businesses started to explode to the point that I ended up having 2 multi-million dollar businesses in 2017.

Positioning is an important piece of the puzzle, but it’s only 1 of 8 parts that leads to relevancy in your market. If you want to experience real growth in your marketing, you need to be relevant and be omnipresent to show your positioning, and then build connections with your audience.

My Relevancy, Omnipresence, Intimacy Method can help you do so and be able to grow your business past 7-figures. Check out my in-depth guide with cool resources about this method here to be able to stand out from the rest of your industry and experience faster growth in your business. Want to read more related posts? Check out this one!

positioning in marketing

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