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June 19, 2018

Sales and Marketing Advice

Break through the attention barrier

Ron Stein | 9/7/2012

It’s getting harder than ever to catch the attention of your target audience. Particularly when your competitors claim they do the same thing better. It’s ugly out there! What’s a growing company to do?             

When a business finds itself fighting to breakaway from the crowd, its positioning in the market probably needs to be fine-tuned. Yet, as important as positioning is, it’s little understood. 

Positioning sums up the value proposition of a company. Many times that’s not easy to do. Your value proposition is a combination of the benefits and attributes offered to specific and targeted buyers, with a value that’s obvious and positively differentiates what your company offers from competitors.

That’s a mouthful! The challenge then is to concisely summarize a potentially long value proposition statement in as few words as possible! You’ll have to be creative to squeeze it down like this. But there are rules to follow.

A great positioning statement (a) explains who should use it; (b) provides a relevant connection between the company or product and that audience; (c) communicates the points of difference framed as benefits; (d) and gives the audience a reason to care.

Defining your likeminded ideal prospects and the unique benefits you offer should be easy. Now it gets a bit harder.

The connection that makes it relevant defines the relationship between you -- your company, product, or service -- and the things that are really important in your prospect’s life. Not just solving their problem with your solution, but what it will mean to them when you solve it.

Then give your audience a reason to believe. Provide proof that your offering works, in a way that emphasizes your passion to solve their problems.

Still a little fuzzy about how to firm up your positioning? Here’s another way to attack it. Aim for the positioning sweet spot:

  1. It’s important to your prospect.
  2. It’s unique to you.
  3. It’s defensible by you.
  4. It’s obvious that you have passion for your core competency.

Where these elements intersect is powerful. It’s so clear, that the targeted audience gets it immediately.

It can be a statement of one to three sentences, a phrase, or even one word. A powerful positioning statement leads to a position in the market that's hard to beat. It represents a promise that helps prospects identify you and the value you bring to the table.          

Positioning is the reason why people buy one product or service instead of another -- because they believe that you offer greater value, strength, pain reduction, prestige, pleasure, safety, nutrition, excitement, or possibly some combination of these -- versus another company. 

Read earlier columns from Florida Trend's business coach, Ron Stein
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Ron Stein is the founder and President of FastPath Marketing ( He has more than 20 years experience in sales, marketing, and business development, working positions ranging from salesman to vice president of sales and marketing to CEO of startups with industry leaders such as Motorola, VideoServer, Paradyne, and SercoNet. Ron is a member of the advisory team at the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, a nationally recognized entrepreneurial and startup accelerator for the state of Florida. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or

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