Positioning Strategies for Service Providers
by Kai F. Mahnert
The following article is concerned with the importance of positioning strategies to a service provider and the associated steps in selecting and supporting such a strategy through the effective management of marketing resources and the development of a competitive advantage through superior quality management. The article is structured into two major sections dealing with a) the selection and b) the support of a firm's positional strategy.
Positioning - A Definition
Positioning is the process of identifying a service provider's various customer publics and targeting these publics with an appropriate mix of positioning strategies. It involves the creation of an image in the consumer's mind of the service provider and the services offered by the provider, thus adding tangible features to the intangible service in the form of individual perceptual qualities.
Positioning gives a service provider the opportunity for differentiation which, particularly in the service industry, is a key element for the development of a competitive advantage over other providers.
Quality considerations to support a firm's positioning, once it has been established, are of considerable importance, as any chosen positioning strategy will give rise to customer expectations, which should at the very least be met, if not exceeded.
Selection of a Positioning Strategy
In the following section we will have a look at the steps involved in developing a positioning strategy for a service and the associated quality considerations. There are three major steps in the development of a positioning strategy:
Market segmentation is the process of breaking up the market into smaller, more homogeneous groups in order to facilitate a more direct marketing within these groups. Segmentation has become increasingly important in the last two decades, with the market place becoming more diverse and...