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Each venture must answer the “What am I selling to whom, and why will they buy?” question before it can create a successful marketing strategy and plan. Positioning combines the important elements of segmentation and differentiation. Segmentation selects the subgroup of all consumers to whom you think you can sell your products. Differentiation tries to inform members of the segment of the benefits of using your product or service, vis-à-vis any competitors. The unique value proposition is the public communication of the promise of intrinsic value that customers will receive from your products and services that they won’t receive from others. All of these are based on the venture’s distinctive competence and sustainable competitive advantage. These important concepts provide the strategic platform on which to build a marketing plan.

This chapter focused on the foundation for the customer-oriented marketing plan, which is the first priority. However, the marketing challenge today expands beyond customers. All of the venture’s other stakeholders—such as users, investors, supply chain/channel partners, and employees—care about the customer, but they are also concerned with equity and image of the venture. Each stakeholder needs a relevant value proposition on why to stay engaged with the firm. So the same concepts of segmentation and positioning apply to them.

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