The Book Summary of Obviously Awesome by April Dunford

  • Key Message: Positioning is vital for successful product sales. April Dunford’s book, “Obviously Awesome,” reveals why effective positioning is crucial and provides a 12-step process to achieve it.
  • The Problem: Many businesses overlook the significance of positioning in their marketing strategy. Without proper positioning, customers remain in the dark about how a product benefits them, leading to reduced sales.
  • The Solution: Dunford advocates for positioning, which places the product in a context that customers understand. This context helps customers grasp why they should buy the product.
  • Benefits of Effective Positioning: When executed well, positioning provides customers with clarity on the product’s purpose and its advantages. This clarity motivates them to make a purchase.
  • The 12-Step Process: Dunford offers a comprehensive 12-step process to establish effective positioning. It begins with forming a positioning team within your company and concludes with monitoring and adapting your successful positioning over time.
  • Actionable Insights: We’ll provide actionable steps to implement Dunford’s recommendations, ensuring you can apply the 12-step process effectively.
  • Comparing Expert Advice: We’ll also compare Dunford’s advice with that of other marketing professionals to provide a well-rounded perspective.
  • Additional Steps: In her book, Dunford presents a 10-step positioning process. However, she includes a chapter that describes how to implement and track your positioning over time, which we’ve framed as two additional steps due to their importance.

In “Obviously Awesome,” April Dunford reveals the power of positioning in the marketing world and offers a clear roadmap for businesses to succeed through effective positioning strategies.

Positioning Simplified: The Key to Successful Marketing Positioning, as defined by Dunford, is the art of providing the necessary context for your product to customers. It helps them understand what the product is, why it’s important, and why they should buy it. This context is essential because the human brain relies on it to make sense of the world. For example, seeing a mahogany desk and law degrees in an office context tells you it’s a lawyer’s office, while a treadmill desk and high-tech gadgets suggest a tech start-up leader’s domain.

Positioning isn’t just helpful; it’s the cornerstone of effective marketing and sales. If you can’t position your product correctly, no amount of marketing or sales efforts will make it successful. Consumers can only appreciate a product when it’s presented in the right context. For instance, positioning a multitool as a kitchen accessory won’t highlight its value, but presenting it as a backpacking trip tool makes its usefulness evident.

Common Positioning Mistakes to Avoid Dunford identifies three common positioning mistakes that marketers should steer clear of:

  1. Assuming the product’s positioning is obvious to everyone because it’s clear to the ideators. Marketers should empathize with customers and see the product from their perspective.
  2. Failing to reposition the product when it changes during development. Sticking to the original concept can lead to misunderstandings and poor sales. Repositioning is crucial, especially considering the costs involved in product development.
  3. Not adapting positioning when the target market changes due to shifts in consumer preferences. Being adaptable in an evolving market is key, and adopting agile project management can help in this regard.

Understanding and mastering positioning is vital for any business seeking success in the market.

Positioning Your Product: A 12-Step Guide

Positioning your product for success is a crucial aspect of any business strategy. In this 12-step guide, we’ll walk you through the process to help you understand your product’s unique value and how to effectively communicate it to your target audience.

Step 1: Know Your Top Customers Identify your most enthusiastic customers and what they love about your product. This will help you tailor your positioning to meet the needs of those who appreciate your product the most.

Step 2: Form a Cross-Company Group Gather employees from different departments to collaborate on defining your product’s positioning. This team effort ensures diverse perspectives that can lead to a more robust strategy.

Step 3: Embrace Open-Mindedness Encourage your team to set aside preconceived notions about your product. An open mind can lead to innovative positioning that may not have been considered otherwise.

Step 4: Identify Product Alternatives Understand what alternative solutions your ideal customers would use if they didn’t have your product. This helps you determine your product’s real competition.

Step 5: List Unique Features Identify and list the concrete, verifiable features that make your product stand out. Focus on what sets your product apart from the competition.

Step 6: Determine Feature Value Define the value each feature brings to your customers’ lives. Understand how your product solves specific problems for your target audience.

Step 6.5: Group Similar Values Categorize values that are associated with each other. This can help you better understand the various aspects that your product delivers.

Step 7: Target Specific Customer Segments Identify the customer segments that care most about the value your product provides. Focusing on these segments will make your marketing efforts more effective.

Step 8: Choose Your Market Select the market that provides the right context for your product and allows you to dominate. This step is essential for establishing your product’s identity.

Step 9: Connect to Trends Consider aligning your product with current trends when relevant. This can make your product more appealing and keep it up-to-date.

Step 10: Share the Positioning Internally Create a positioning document that communicates your product’s positioning across your company. This ensures that all departments are on the same page.

Step 11: Implement Your Positioning Develop a narrative about your product and align your marketing messages with your positioning. Ensure that your messaging is consistent and compelling.

Step 12: Track and Adjust Regularly assess your product’s positioning and make adjustments as needed to stay aligned with market changes and customer demands.

Positioning your product effectively is an ongoing process that requires adaptability and a deep understanding of your customers’ needs and your product’s unique value. Follow these 12 steps to position your product for maximum success.