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Digital Marketing Positioning 101

By Ryan Boog

By definition, marketing positioning is a concept that lays out a strategy to market a service or product to its potential customers. It gives the intended audience the vision for the service or product. Its main purpose is to establish a clear and advantageous place in the target audience’s collective minds.

Let’s cut through that jargon. Simply put marketing positioning is answering two basic questions:

  1. How can we make them know we are the best option?
  2. How are we getting people to see my product or service?

Digital Marketing Positioning 101

What makes your product or service the best?

This one can be a tough one to swallow. This is where you have to do a gut check. It’s in these trenches where you can truly carve out a path unique to you and your service or product. How can you see what makes you better than your competition?

Analyze the competition. Sometimes this is difficult because, let’s face it, there are a lot of motivated and talented people out there doing a stellar job. Sometimes it can be defeating to see a colleague climbing the mountain of success. You have to work through that. Write down what you think they are doing great at. Look at some common threads of success.

For a quick example, let’s say you work at a tree care nursery. When you look at your competition, the two companies doing well aren’t marketing about low prices. They’re marketing their expertise and exemplary customer service. They both have responsive websites with contact forms.

Digital marekting positioning
This is where you can jump into the next part of answering question 1, “How can we make them know we are the best option?”.

To do this, you have to do better than your competition. This is what positioning in marketing is all about.

In my example, you now know that marketing expertise and customer service work, as well as having a responsive website and contact forms. So, use these as a bare minimum. But, let’s say your company is veteran-owned and provides a warranty for newly-planted trees. That is something you can use to position yourself in the market!

Therefore, your new strategy would be:

  1. Develop a responsive website.
  2. Leverage copy around veteran-owned and warranty for newly-planted trees.
  3. Add sections and pages around the best customer service

Now you have a tool that will help tremendously with positioning in digital marketing. Let’s answer the second question, “How are we getting people to see my product or service?”

Make it easy for your audience to see your marketing positioning

This one is what we at Hoist see most incoming clients having an issue with. A lot of the time they have a great product or service, but just need to put it in front of the right eyeballs.

If you have an in-house team, that’s great! They should be able to craft a great plan to garner your visibility. If you don’t know if they will deliver exactly what you want and you are thinking of hiring an agency to help out, check out this post for insights on hiring an agency.

With the proper staff in place, you will need to do two basic things.

  1. Find where your audience is.
  2. Engage with your audience.

Finding your audience for marketing positioning can seem daunting. Sometimes, it can be as easy as researching your existing client base. Other times, you may have to hire a research firm to get very specific data for you. But, make a concentrated effort to find out where they are and then get to know them better than anyone else. Here are some rocks to look under to find your target audience:

  1. Trade shows
  2. Local events
  3. Forums and active blogs
  4. Social media (and specific social media groups)

Next, you should engage with your target audience. Again, to engage with your audience, you need to get to know them so that you can tell them exactly what they want to hear. To help you get to know your target market, read this article.

Then, find them (at the places listed above)!

For example, we could:

  1. Partner with a landscape design company.
  2. See if there are community events, such as a 5k. Sponsor that event and make an impression on your target audience.
  3. Find out if there are any forums or active blogs that homeowners frequent about tree issues or concerns. Either buy ad space or actively participate in conversations on there. Once you have their ear, you can promote your marketing positioning.

On top of that, you can rank your site in Google for specific keywords that your target audience may search for. Doing some SEO / internet marketing will go a long way here. If you choose to hire someone to do this, make sure the agency you choose knows how to audit your site, develop a strategy, build links and domain authority, and put content on your site that will outrank the competitors. Aside from organic SEO, paid measures can also be effective.

Let’s keep it real with positioning in marketing.

If you think that this is something that can be masterfully done within a couple of days, you’re wrong. If you think that throwing one or two thousand bucks at this and are expecting outstanding results, you are wrong.

If you go to the gym twice, will you look like a fitness model? No. The human body is a complex, beautiful organism that needs upkeep for optimal appeal and performance. The same goes for your website and digital marketing.

You should expect this to be an ongoing project. It has to be a future plan, not just a “one-off” endeavor. But, by doing this, you now have the blindfold off and can drive a clear, focused marketing strategy to lead you to success for years to come. It may not take instantly but stay the course. Here’s why:

Think of all of the little facets of your plans for marketing positioning as sections of a flywheel. Instead of elaborating on this, I’ll let Rand Fishkin of SparkToro do the honors.


Now that you can create your marketing position, get in front of your target audience and market effectively for years to come. Positioning in digital marketing is the art and science of strategically shaping your brand's perception in the minds of your target audience. It goes beyond merely enhancing a product; it's about imprinting a lasting impression in the minds of prospects.

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