Tuesday, March 08, 2016

The Art of Product Positioning

HP artfully takes on the challenging task of Brand Positioning with their portfolio of products
The definition of product positioning which follows, from Marketing Management (2011) by Philip Kotler and Kevin Lane Keller, a well-known text and one I have used in my teaching, is about as basic as it gets. But just because it's basic, it doesn't mean it's easy!
Product Positioning - the act of designing a company’s offering and image to
occupy a distinctive place in the minds of the target market.

My former long-time employer and printing industry leader HP has often struggled with basic product positioning, not for lack of trying but more from its "embarrassment of riches" in terms of technologies and market presence across a broad spectrum of segments. Today, with an announcement entitled "HP Inc. Reinvents Business Printing with New Portfolio and PageWide Product Line", the company shows some very skillful chops in positioning the products from three separate technologies (acknowledging that "PageWide" - though an ink-based technology - is quite different than traditional inkjet), and more categories, considering laser splits into color and monochrome. Taking this straight on, the release leads with essentially a table comparing the printers and positioning their categories, in some detail. (For the real detail lovers, I send you to the press release footnotes, and the real nitty gritty!)

Speaking of teaching, I think I will use this very example in the coming weeks, as my Consumer Behavior class takes on the Art of Product Positioning! We shall see what the students make of it, and whether they agree that overall, HP has made it all just about as clear as we can hope for!

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