Marketing is dead. Long live Positioning.

positioning s4tm

When I begin work to help to optimise marketing for my clients, I like to manage their expectations. My approach to marketing is holistic.


I explain that in order to get truly great marketing results (that raise brand awareness and drive sales), we will need to work on their business’ “positioning”.

It’s a subtle shift, but one very much worth observing.

The ‘Before-times’:

In the ‘before-times’, pre-internet, just as now, a business needed to tell people that they were selling products in order to get sales.

Before the ‘inter-web’, there were only so many ways that you could get this crucial information to your customers: shopfronts, signs, printed adverts, TV and radio advertising, printed flyers, direct mail, telephone calls, door-to-door sales, sponsorship and PR.

I describe this as a one-way communication – or traditional marketing.

pre-internet marketin Shoot 4 The Moon


In our internet age things are very different. The “4 P’s” of marketing (Product, Price, Promotion and Place) are still the corner stones of any good marketing campaign, and all the aforementioned methods of marketing still have their place.

But there are currently a myriad of opportunities for potential customers to research your products and your business and interact with you or about you online.

They can visit your company website, read and write their own reviews on Amazon, converse with your business or your CEO on social media, and watch multiple detailed reviews of your products by influencers or neutral third parties on YouTube.

With a little more time and digging, customers can do thorough research on your company, your ethics and your internal company culture. They can relatively easily find out who your suppliers are, and dig into them too.

They may choose to join online communities around your products that are moderated by your digital advocates or worse, they may engage in conversations online with those who are not your fans.

When I say ‘positioning’ to my clients, I mean specifically: how is your business perceived by everyone – your customers, your employees, your partners, your suppliers, your fans and even your haters. 

I recognise this modern state of marketing as two-way communication – or as I define it: “positioning”.

post-internet marketing Shoot 4 The Moon Ltd

Your Communications Ecosystem:

Thanks to the broad-band internet, powerful smart phones and super-fast computers, people have the technology they need to find out more information about you in seconds. They can effortlessly qualify their experience (good or bad) of buying from you and communicate their own feelings about your business and your products to a wider audience at the press of a few buttons.

What is the customer ‘take-away’ wherever your business ‘shows up’? You need to be across this at each and every point of contact that your customers have with your business in your communications ecosystem.

If your customer experience is anything other than excellent on any of these channels, you run the risk of generating an ocean-load of digital negativity online, which will be a huge time-suck on resources and expensive to correct.

And finally: don’t forget if your audience can do this with your business, then they can also compare how you perform across all of these different communications channels with other businesses – especially your competitors.

My new book “Better Business on Purpose – Make Money. Create Impact. Be a Force For Good.” co-written with Nikki Gatenby and Neil Witten covers this and a slew of other ways that you can improve your business and is out later this year.