What is meant by Market Positioning?

Definition: Market Positioning

Market positioning is the process of creating a marketing mix that puts a product or service in a unique position for the target segments and turning them into potential buyers. It is a crucial part of marketing strategies as it helps in creating a distinct mental position or image of a product or a service in the mind of the customers as compared to other brands in the market. This is accomplished through formulating competitive positioning for a product and a detailed marketing mix.

Products can be positioned basis their prime attributes − 

For example, a sunscreen lotion brand can position itself by saying it offers 99% protection from harmful UV rays.

Products can be positioned basis the benefits they give − 

For example, XYZ compound in ABC oil can prevent hair fall.

Products can also be positioned based on occasions and festivities − 

For example, Diwali food is incomplete with a certain brand of Atta/Maida, etc.

Products can be positioned for certain target groups − 

For example, a certain fabric brand that is meant for men who loves to wear suits.

A product can also be positioned against a competing product − 

For example, Bajaj Dominar ad which was directly placed against Royal Enfield, the latter notorious for poor fuel economy and high maintenance cost.

Products are also positioned for different product classes. 

For example, some hair creams are positioned against hair oils. Marketers often use a combination of the strategies discussed above.

Market positioning can be broadly classified into three types. They are as follows:


This is used when a brand or product provides solutions to problems offers some benefits to customers. The focus is mainly on the function, benefit, or utility that it gives to the customer.


This is useful for creating a brand image which helps create brand equity, a sense of social belongingness and ego-identification.


This creates sensory and cognitive simulation in the minds of the customer.

Most companies use a positioning process, which is a step-wise method to position the product or service in the consumer's mind. If a company decides to change the way people perceive a brand, then they revamp the logo, brand messaging etc. of that brand. This process is known as repositioning of the brand, which helps create a different image of the brand.

In market positioning, the product is differentiated based on 2 things to achieve competitive advantage −

  • Points of Parity (POPs) − The positioning is done on the basis of mostly similar elements compared to a competitor.

  • Points of Difference (PODs) −In this case, there is a clear difference in the product offerings vis-à-vis the competitor.

Types of Market Positioning with Examples

Researchers in the Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing found that market positioning is predominantly determined by hard criteria (e.g., product quality) and relationship building factors (e.g., personal contact).

Additional factors like company structures (i.e., geographical coverage), breadth of offerings and degree of integration (e.g., location in the distribution chain) also play an important part. The researchers also noted that level of familiarity with a specific company is a contributing factor to perceptions of the pursued market positioning strategies.

Here are some common types of positioning in marketing.


Pricing is an important, if not the most important, factor for customers. A company that offers the lowest-priced products at a reasonable level of quality often wins in many product areas.

For example − Cannon vs. Tamaron lenses. Lower-priced alternatives to high-quality brands like Cannon or Nikon have disrupted the market of camera lenses. Cannon or Nikon lenses are known for their excellent quality, but they are also very expensive. As compared to them, Tamaron offers almost similar quality lenses for a much lesser price, making it popular for photography enthusiasts who can’t afford spend much on accessories.


Quality can help rebuff pricing wars. In some markets such as luxury cars, quality can define who the competitors are.

Example − MG vs KIA motors. Both entered the Indian market at more or less the same time, and they have been competing on the quality of cars manufactured, instead of the price point.


Convenience helps make customers’ lives easier. From location to usability, convenience can incorporate something like e-commerce and free returns.

Example − Traditional banks in India have been slow on creating mobile apps for instant credit, but online-only banks have capitalized on this to appeal to younger, more internet-savvy customers.

Customer Service

Customer service concentrates on creating helpful, friendly interactions. This can be especially important in certain industries, such as the restaurant and banking industries.


Differentiation is what sets a product or service apart from competitors. If the product or service is dramatically different, then competitors may not pose as much of a threat.

For example − Benelli Vs Bullet. Benelli entered the Indian market and targeted a more economically affluent segment with their motorcycles.

Whereas Bullet continued to be a favorite among the middle-class population.


A business’s positioning statement is what that guides the key marketing and advertising decisions that positively impact target audience's perception of a brand. So, it is vital that the positioning is clear to the business and the public alike.