The Importance of Positioning—the Bedrock of Successful Selling

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Obviously Awesome" by April Dunford. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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How well do customers understand how to use your product? Are they clear on why they need it?

In Obviously Awesome, positioning consultant and speaker April Dunford explains why positioning is critical to successfully selling your product. Dunford argues that positioning isn’t merely helpful; it’s the bedrock of successful selling and marketing.

Read more to understand the importance of positioning in selling your product.

The Importance of Positioning

Dunford explains that positioning is an often misunderstood and undervalued part of the marketing process. Positioning is contextualizing the use of your product so consumers understand why they should buy it. Dunford contends that, without proper positioning, customers don’t understand how or why to use your product. Subsequently, they won’t buy it. When executed well, however, positioning gives customers context on what your product is for and how it will benefit them, thus incentivizing them to buy. The importance of positioning becomes more clear when you see your product from the customers’ perspective.

If you can’t position your product properly, no amount of money thrown at marketing and sales can sell it. This is because consumers can only appreciate and value a product when it’s set in the right context. For instance, if you try to sell a multitool as a kitchen accessory, people won’t see its value because you’re not setting it in a context that highlights its usefulness. But, if you position a multitool as an accessory for a backpacking trip, consumers will see its value because the context makes clear how useful it is (it’s good for opening cans, cutting wood, and so on).

(Shortform note: Dunford argues that positioning is foundational to successful selling because humans can’t understand why they should buy a product if it’s not set in the right context. But, positioning is also critical to selling for another reason: It lets you justify the cost of your product to consumers. If your product is more expensive than competitors for no apparent reason, consumers won’t buy it. However, if you position your product as a higher-quality or more exclusive product, consumers will understand why it costs more and will be more likely to buy.)

The Importance of Positioning—the Bedrock of Successful Selling

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of April Dunford's "Obviously Awesome" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Obviously Awesome summary:

  • What "positioning" is and why it's so important for marketing
  • Three common (and avoidable) mistakes marketers make
  • A 12-step process that lets you position any product well

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, and philosophy. A switch to audiobooks has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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