How to position a product

Every month, I update the marketing one-page strategy and brand identity docs for Buffer in order to reflect what’s happened over the past few weeks and what we’re looking forward to in the coming weeks.

As part of this, I revisit our positioning.

Has our understanding of the market changed?

Has our product strategy changed?

Is there a better way to describe our positioning so it’s crystal clear to teammates?

This last question is a constant point of evolution and maturity for me. Recently, I’ve been toying with a new way to communicate Buffer’s position. The idea comes from this article at First Round by Arielle Jackson. She shared a simple, fill-in-the-blanks template for how to talk about positioning. Here is the template:

For (target customer)

Who (statement of need or opportunity),

(Product name) is a (product category)

That (statement of key benefit).

Unlike (competing alternative)

(Product name) (statement of primary differentiation).

There are a lot of great examples in the blog post — Harley Davidson (“Makes big, loud motorcycles for macho guys and macho wannabes”) and Amazon’s early positioning (“For web users who enjoy books”), for instance.

It was a neat — and difficult — exercise to use this template for Buffer’s positioning. To make it even more of a fun challenge, I invited the rest of the Buffer marketing team to take a pass at filling in the blanks themselves. It was neat to see what parts we agreed on and where we differed. And from a manager’s perspective, it was a good check-in to see how well I communicate strategy and positioning with my team.

My attempt at Buffer’s positioning:

For social media marketers and SM teams
Who need to maximize results & time,
Buffer is a social media management platform
That makes social media marketing easier.
Unlike Hootsuite, Sprout Social, or native/spreadsheets,
Buffer streamlines social media tasks in one easy-to-use interface backed by personal & friendly customer support and helpful learning resources.

Contributions from the team:

For small businesses and organizations
Who want to manage their social media more efficiently,
Buffer is a social media marketing platform
That makes posting, analyzing and replying to social media content easier.
Unlike Hootsuite, Sprout Social and using multiple apps
Buffer is intuitive, focused and supportive.

For small and medium business marketing teams
Who want to rock their social media presences,
Buffer is a social media marketing platform
That amplifies our customer’s social media marketing by helping them get better results, engage with fans, and see analytics.
Unlike SpoutSocial, MeetEdgar, Hootsuite, and native posting,
Buffer is a beautifully designed, easy-to-use platform that makes you feel like a social media management superhero.

For marketers and business owners
Who want to succeed on social media,
Buffer is a suite of social media tools
That helps small businesses grow their presence and engage and support their fans on social.
Unlike Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and other social media management tools,
Buffer is super easy to use and the team is always available to help with anything social media and marketing-related.

For businesses, entrepreneurs, and individuals
Who need to grow their brand awareness and increase sales using social media,
Buffer is a social media management platform
That makes posting content to social media, analyzing results, and taking care of customers a breeze.
Unlike Hootsuite, Sprout Social, CoSchedule, Meet Edgar, or manual posting,
Buffer provides a super easy-to-use dashboard to manage all of your favorite social networks and includes the best customer support in the industry.

For social media marketers, marketing teams, and entrepreneurs
Who want to increase their brand awareness and sales on social media,
Buffer is a social media management platform
That allows you to schedule, publish, and analyze the posts from all of your social media profiles in one central hub.
Unlike Hootsuite and Sprout Social,
Buffer’s design is simpler and easier to use.

I’d love to hear what you think! It’s likely I may have some blind spots about how we’re perceived in the market or where we could improve our positioning. If any thoughts come to mind, it’d be great to hear from you.

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I lead the marketing team at Buffer, a SaaS tool with a blog of over 1.2M monthly visits. Let me show you how we got there and how we plan to grow.

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