The 5 Elements of Marketing – Part 4 – Messaging and Competitive Positioning

Brand Messaging

What is competitive positioning?

It is creating a message that will differentiate your company from your competition.  In order to do this, you need to understand what the competitors are saying about themselves as the reason to buy from them.  As a Marketing Consultant, I do this kind of analysis all the time.  It is extremely enlightening.

I am often amazed when looking at the websites of the competitors of a client.  Sometimes, these websites don’t give a single reason to buy from them.  They simply say what they do or what they sell.  I ask myself, do they really get any business from a website like that?  Then there are other competitors that do give a pretty convincing reason to buy from them.  Depending on the industry, the size of the companies that are competitors of my client becomes important.  The larger the competitor, the more likely they are to get their message out to the potential customers of my client.  I need to craft a message to beat all of the competitors (if possible) but particularly the larger competitors.  Most of the time though, we are only going for a subset of the market and we need a message that resonates with the exact group we are trying to sell to.  Just remember that trying to sell on a low price as a small company is not likely to keep you in business very long as it is highly unlikely that you are the lowest cost provider.

Why is it important?

You need your messaging to stand out from the crowd.  You need your messaging to be persuasive.  You need messaging that will resonate with potential customers.

What is messaging?

It is the thing you say that gets the prospective customer to call you and buy from you.

As a Marketing Consultant, I can tell you that competitive positioning and having the right message is essential to success.  Of course, it needs to support your Marketing Strategy.


Bryan B Mason

Apollo Consulting Group, Providence, RI

The 5 Elements of Marketing – Part 3 – Branding

Brand Creation


A brand is, of course, the identifier that distinguishes a company or product from its competitors.  It has five main parts:

Brand Promise – This is the promise you make to consumers and what they can expect.  At Domino’s it is “We GUARANTEE – Fresh hot pizza, delivered in 30 minutes or less, or It’s FREE!” Think Apple with its sleek design and simple operation.  The brand promises not only a great product, but also a great buying experience and a great service experience.

Brand Perception – This is how the customer perceives the product.  Again, Apple is the very epitome of tech cool.  When you buy it and are seen with it, you feel cool and leading edge.

Brand Expectations – With your promise, you set an expectation.  You need to meet that expectation with each and every interaction or the customer will turn away from your product and seek one that does meet their expectations.  Has anyone made use of the Apple “Genius Bar”?  What about Zappos – Powered by Service.  Do you know anyone who had a bad experience with Zappos?

Brand Persona – Brands embody a persona.  Think about a specific person who personifies a brand you like.  What is that person like?  Why are you attracted to it?  Apple and Microsoft have very different personas. Think about it.

Brand Elements – These are the logo, color scheme, design, the tag line and even the packaging.  This is what you always think of when you think of a brand.  Think again about Apple – “Think Different”, etc.


Why is a Brand Important?

Customers will pay more for a branded product.  So you can typically have a higher profit margin.  It is easier to sell products and services when you have a strong brand.  The customers are often pre-sold when the walk in or call.  Customers will come to you!  Wow!  Doesn’t everyone reading this column want customers to come to them?

As a Marketing Consultant, I can tell you that building a brand will reap great benefits over time.

Bryan B Mason

Apollo Consulting Group, Newport, RI

The 5 Elements of Marketing – Part 2 – Unique Selling Proposition

Unique Selling Proposition


Unique Selling Proposition

A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) describes the unique benefit or benefits the customer gets from the company’s products or services.  The USP must be meaningful to the customer.  The USP is designed to differentiate your company’s products and services from the competition and to have them stand out in terms of competitive positioning.  It provides the answer to the question of why a customer should buy from you.  It can be based on many things including product quality, service, location, etc.

As an example, my Unique Selling Proposition is that I have developed a process called the Apollo Profit Acceleration Technique and that it is the fastest way to identify and realize the profit potential of any company.  In short it is the fastest way to increase profits and it is unique to Apollo.  And it works!

This last point is most important, the USP must be real.  You need to be able to show it, do it, etc.  It needs to create real value for the customer.  It must have a high perceived value.

Your USP is a central pillar of your Marketing Strategy.  As a Marketing Consultant, I highly recommend you spend as much time as needed to get your USP right.

Bryan B Mason

Apollo Consulting Group, Providence RI