Is positioning an Agile or Waterfall process?

Is positioning an Agile or Waterfall process?

The way it works out for most people looks like an agile process, or at least a series of small waterfall projects 🙂 But really, it looks most like an agile project.

It tends to go like this:

Some amount of research > develop positioning hypothesis > some kind of validation, which could be just going public with the new position and updating marketing to match > attracting clients that match new market position > additional iterations based on what you learn from working with clients

This “sprint” is not short, but if you play your cards right it can be efficient and effective.

There are several key things that may alter your plans midstream, making the process even more agile-like:

  1. Finding during research that it’s difficult to reach the kind of clients you’re wanting to focus on. An inaccessible market is usually not a good market to go after.
  2. Finding that your hypothetical value proposition does not resonate with your target market. The idea of narrowing your focus is to increase the value you deliver to clients, not decrease it.
  3. Finding that what seems like a clearly-defined focus in your hypothesis is actually a poorly-defined focus in reality when you’re trying to find people to speak to for research or validation purposes.

This seems like a challenging, difficult process. In some cases, it is.

In other cases, it looks like the world’s simplest waterfall project:

Pick a market vertical or audience to focus on > craft a positioning statement using the formula of “[Thing you do now] for [target market]” > enjoy greater marketing effectiveness within a few months

My book on positioning can help you figure out which approach is right for you and navigate every step of the process: http://thepositioningmanual.com

Talk to you soon,
-P

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