Monday, May 12, 2008

Know the power of de-positioning

Moving your company forward is one thing. But holding back the competition is quite another. In the impulsive markets of the Internet space, today's tech marketers are expected to do more than just position, brand and promote. Added to the mix is a new imperative to de-position. It's about pushing your competitors away, not necessarily removing - and by no means letting them follow.

Without explanation, journalists may cast de-positioning as a betrayal by "fair-minded" PR sources. Traditional marketers may dismiss it as simple bashing. In Europe, where gentility rules, it could surely be shunned. The idea of moving publicly against a competitor, however useful it may be, is still often seen as guerilla marketing or trench warfare. It's often viewed as an illegitimate or even unethical means of creating difference and gaining marketshare.

But so much of what we market in technology is legitimately new, making the products and services we push naturally more marketable. So, for us, the rules must change. To win, tech marketers must play a more clever game of positioning and de-positioning to achieve competitive advantage.

What are the rules in de-positioning? They are just emerging, but here are a few guides:

A. It's about gaining and holding relative position. De-positioning is about driving a wedge creating distance - between you and your rivals. Though an improving level of recall or credibility is helpful, it does nothing to stop competitors from doing the same. Imagine, for instance, that your company achieved a four-fold increase in some measure of notoriety. By most standards, that would be a big win. But suppose your competitor chalked up a five-fold increase? Then what have you got?


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