Question: What do these claims have in common?

  • World-Class
  • First-Rate
  • Industry Benchmark
  • Incredible
  • Superior
  • Advanced

Answer: They are all meaningless.

They are no better than the adults’ “mwa-mwa” in Charlie Brown cartoons. Yet, they often find their way into capital equipment marketing messages. When they do, it’s a sign that we really don’t know who the customer is, what value we bring, and what our advantages are.

Marketing managers seem to have no trouble generating reams of PowerPoint jammed with features and data for their product. But yet they struggle when it comes drafting a few dozen words to capture the essence of why customers’ should buy it. Attempts at the elevator pitch or positioning statement too often result in nothing more than empty platitudes. Good grief!

The push back is always, “My product is too complex to capture its advantages in a few short sentences.” It’s true, creating a precise and concise positioning statement is difficult, especially for complex equipment. But it can be done.

Let’s demonstrate by way of a positioning statement makeover.

Before: Empty Platitudes

Imagine you stumbled onto this positioning statement for a piece of deposition equipment used to manufacture thin film solar cells.

The TurboFilm XT sets the industry standard for thin film deposition systems. Its world-class technology provides unmatched performance on the most advanced deposition platform available today.

How’s that for nothing but “mwa-mwa?”

This positioning statement tells you nothing about who should buy the Turbo XT or why. It contains nothing but hollow platitudes. Nowhere in this positioning statement will you find the product’s:

  • Target market
  • Value proposition
  • Unique capabilities and benefits

As a positioning statement it’s not very useful and is in desperate need of a makeover.

After: Precise and Concise

If you’ve never done this before, this might seem impossible to you. We are going to articulate the specific economic value, target market, and advantages of the TurboFilm XT in less than forty-five words. Here goes.

TurboFilm XT lowers thin film solar cell manufacturing costs by 30 percent. Its…

  • High-power microwave source produces the fastest throughput
  • Self-cleaning process chamber enables the longest production runs without maintenance
  • In-situ closed-loop process control ensures the highest yields

No “mwa-mwa” here.

Instead in less than forty-five words we’ve put forward a lower manufacturing costs value proposition pinned to a unique ability to deliver the highest throughput, longest maintenance-free production runs, and highest yields. Plus, we’ve made it clear that we’re doing this for our target market, thin film solar cell manufacturers.

The platitudes have been eliminated, and we’ve staked out a clear position.

Why it’s Important

Your positioning statement has two very important roles in driving the commercial success of your product.

A well crafted positioning statement acts as the compass that will lead your customers to a conclusion that they should buy from you. This handful of words forms the fountain from which all of your marketing messages and activities flow.

The positioning statement also acts as the compass for your product strategy. It tells you on which capabilities you must strive to excel and how the results will be measured.

For your positioning statement to successfully fulfill these roles, keep the platitudes away and instead get precise and concise with your target market, value proposition, and advantages.