Last week we talked about strategies you could use to convince prospects to choose your MSP to the competition.
Today, I want to take it further and discuss another factor that will help you make your IT company the most obvious choice for your target market and leave your competition far behind – a positioning statement.
Sounds interesting? Then let’s take it from the top.
What is a Positioning Statement
Personally, I’ve always understood a positioning statement this way:
The alignment of your brand, target market and audience.
But I know that this is a vague definition, so let’s try to clarify it a little.
According to WhatIs, a positioning statement is:
“An expression of how a given product, service or brand fills a particular consumer need in a way that its competitors don’t. Positioning is the process of identifying an appropriate market niche for a product (or service or brand) and getting it established in that area.”
In other words, a positioning statement is a short, typically one or two sentences long, bit of text that tells you AND your target audience what your company does, who you do it for, and the core benefits of hiring you to other MSPs.
As Ford Kanzler points over at the Marketing Profs:
“It [positioning statement] answers seven essential questions:
- who you are
- what business you’re in
- for whom (what people do you serve)
- what’s needed by the market you serve
- against whom do you compete
- what’s different about your business
- what unique benefit is derived from your product or services?”
When writing a positioning statement you need to take a number of factors into consideration:
- Your target audience – people or companies who could become buyers of your IT services,
- Your brand and what it stands for.
- Your audience’s pain point.
- Your service category, taking into account your competitive edge.
- Your unfair advantage, the one thing that makes you unique from other MSP companies targeting the same market as you. We’ve talked about the unfair advantage in the previous post.
- Proof or evidence that backs up your unfair advantage. Think of it as a reason why your potential customers should believe your positioning statement.
But before we look at using all this information to put the positioning statement together, let’s find out one other thing – why do you actually need it.
Why Your MSP Desperately Needs a Positioning Statement
For one, having a positioning statement helps you better understand what is the best niche you could serve. Since to develop it, you take a look at every aspect of your business; you can use the process to identify niches your strengths fit the most.
It also helps you plan your long-term marketing activities, as it identifies the exact information you need to develop a promotional strategy – who you are, what makes you unique, and whom you want to attract to your business.
Positioning statement allows you to focus on a particular market segment, and develop a strong value proposition that can convince these prospects to hire your MSP.
And finally, it helps you to see your competitors more clearly and notice significant differentiators between you and them that you could use to promote your brand.
In short, a positioning statement provides you with the basis for virtually everything you do, from operations, to marketing, and service delivery.
How to Write a Powerful Positioning Statement for an MSP Company
I’ve already highlighted the key information you’d need to collect for your positioning statement.
So now let’s look at putting it together to create a memorable positioning statement for your IT company.
#1. Target Audience
Your target audience should define companies or people you want to attract to your MSP. You could be generic here and state “B2B companies” or “Enterprise level software providers.”
However, it’s a good idea to go deeper and identify the best customers you would like to work with. These would be the people who energize and inspire you, the ones you don’t dread to call (or get called by).
Since your positioning statement forms the basis for everything you do, it should clearly define whom do you want to attract to your MSP.
Another way to select a target audience is to look at various segments of the market and identify which one you’re most suited to service best.
The category defines the space in which your company operates and competes with others for the market share.
Your category could be a service you provide or a benefit of letting your MSP manage a company’s IT infrastructure.
Although a category may seem obvious to you at first, it’s worth taking a closer look to identify new opportunities. For example, your services could fall within a number of categories (i.e. hosting, it could serve web design, data storage, cloud storage, data recovery, and much more).
This is simply your company’s name or the business name under which you operate.
What is the biggest advantage a customer will get from using your services?
Note: Be careful when working on this step. Often, your customers receive a different benefit from using you then you’ve thought. And so, it’s always a good idea to talk to your best customers and find out what benefit they get from using you.
A short statement that backs up any claims you make about your benefit and unique advantage.
Industry experience is a good example of a solid proof you could offer. Specific expertise is another.