A Thing
The Green SheetGreen Sheet

The Green Sheet Online Edition

October 08, 2012 • Issue 12:10:01

Book Review
What's in a positioning concept?

Behind every successful product or service lies a powerful concept." So begins Martha Guidry's educational guide, Marketing Concepts That Win! Save Time, Money and Work by Crafting Concepts Right the First Time. It turns out, however, that many types of concepts exist: advertising, core-idea, packaging and positioning, to name several. Each has a distinct place in a company's pantheon of marketing and sales tools.

Rather than attempt to breeze through all types of concepts in one book, Guidry's 174 pages are devoted exclusively to the positioning concept, also known as the marketing concept.

This aspect of concept development is one Guidry mastered through a career that ignited when she worked in consumer marketing for Proctor & Gamble and Hasbro Inc. Via her own consultancy, The Rite Concept, she has helped develop concepts for an array of big-name brands, including Arby's Restaurant Group Inc., Amway Corp., DuPont Co. and Pizza Hut Inc.

Though concept statements can be deceptively simple, much goes into creating one that is effective. Guidry's information-packed book provides step-by-step instructions on how to create a winning marketing concept, from start to finish - beginning with what must be in place before the process begins.

That is, you must already have a core concept established, which Guidry stated is "a relatively concise description of what is being offered to the end buyer. ... Typically, a core idea concept does not attempt to sell any benefits to the potential buyer but will simply highlight some of the features the product or service offers."

That's not all, though. Before devising your marketing concept, you must also "thoroughly understand the wants and desires of your consumer ... identify the current perceptions of the brand equity and/or company by your target audience ... know the competitive landscape [and] understand and be true to your brand equity," Guidry wrote.

Ready, set, create

With that information in your pocket, you can begin to shape the characteristics of your positioning concept, which must have an emotional hook for differentiation, an insight that sets the tone for the target audience, a specific benefit, and only those claims that truly support the benefit offered, according to the author.

The book breaks down and clarifies the specific elements a marketing concept must contain: the headline, accepted consumer belief, benefit, reason to believe and other undeniably essential information. It explains how and when to create each element, provides the ideal concept format and layout, and details how to pull them all together.

The book contains plenty of examples to illustrate ideas, including what to do and what not to do, and most chapters summarize the main points they contain to help with retention.

Also inside are chapters on the use of visuals; qualitative and quantitative research; the needs of different types of audiences; and using the positioning concept to form the backbone of all your company's communications, including advertising, public relations, sales and marketing collateral, web pages, and endorsements.

That's a lot to gain from a simple group of words. end of article

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