Marketing an API, SDK or SaaS product to developers? Then, you must be able to communicate its benefits to your target audience, no matter the developer persona. This entails defining the positioning strategy for your tech product and ensuring developers understand what you’re trying to offer them.
What is your product? What does it do? How can it make developers’ lives easier?
Your API, SDK or SaaS product positioning strategy should answer these and similar questions, so that you can create messaging that actually works and adds value to devs.
In this B2D guide to product positioning, we’re giving you strategies to help you position your tech product so you get the results you’re looking for. 👇
- What is product positioning and why is it important?
- Other benefits of product positioning
- What is product positioning in marketing?
- Why you should have unique characteristics
- What is a product positioning map?
- How do you create a product positioning map?
- What is a product positioning template?
- What is a product positioning statement?
- How to write a positioning statement for a product
- What is product positioning strategy?
- What is a product positioning framework?
- How to build an API or SaaS product positioning framework
What is product positioning and why is it important?
Product positioning is a set of strategies that allow you to define where your product fits in the market and to showcase the benefits of that product to a target audience. It means generating an image and identity of your product in the minds of developers, as well as ensuring that you’re different enough from your competitors and are adding value to your customers.
API and SaaS product positioning are important because:
- It helps you differentiate your product from everyone else’s and establish a unique identity in the market. You can more easily charge higher prices for your products and services if you position them well!
- It ensures that your developer marketing is more effective. After all, by understanding the needs and pain points of developers, you can create targeted messaging more easily and see a higher ROI on your marketing efforts.
- It allows you to build a stronger brand by crafting a consistent image and message across the board. This, in turn, leads to higher loyalty and brand recognition.
- It helps you communicate the value of your product to developers in a more efficient way – product positioning is all about highlighting the features and benefits people receive when they use your product!
Other benefits of product positioning
- Aids you when launching a new product to the market, such as an API,
- Makes you more competitive,
- Allows you to appeal to new customers and expand your reach,
- Makes it easier to showcase new features on existing products,
- Helps you create efficient marketing strategies,
- Allows you to meet and exceed your customers’ expectations, and
- Ensures you can handle market changes.
These are just some of the benefits of SDK, API or SaaS product positioning, but there are many more, seeing as this process is crucial in developer marketing and creates a clear and attractive image of your product in the minds of devs.
So, developers will likely choose your product over your competitors’ when faced with countless options if you position it well in the market and in their minds.
What is product positioning in marketing?
Product positioning in marketing is about the strategies you use to communicate your product to your audience (i.e., how you want developers to see your product). It means analyzing the market, performing competitive research, understanding how your product will fit in the market, etc.
“Positioning is not what you do to a product. Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect. That is, you position the product in the mind of the prospect.” – Ries & Trout, 2001
You can learn more about this topic on this article: “What is positioning in marketing?”
Why you should have unique characteristics
As a B2D marketing professional, you’ll want your product to stand out from the crowd – but how can you do that if it’s the same as everyone else’s? It’s crucial that your product has unique features and adds unique value to your customers to ensure they choose you instead of a competitor.
The elements you should highlight depend on the product itself. For example, you can emphasize:
- The product’s attributes,
- The benefits developers get,
- The safety of the product,
- How reliable it is,
- How time-saving it is, etc.
Think about your product and how it differs from other companies’ – by doing this and really understanding what you have to offer, you can create better messaging tailored to your audience and see more positive results.
What is a product positioning map?
An API or SaaS product positioning map is a graphical depiction of where your product sits in the market. It’s a diagram that displays the range of positions it can occupy based on two factors that are vital to your target audience – additionally, it helps you identify market opportunities as well.
For example, say that your customers are really focused on quality and price. You could end up with a product positioning map like this (which includes the products you’re competing against):
How do you create a product positioning map?
As a B2D marketing pro looking to create a product positioning map for your business, you need to consider a few things, including:
- Drawing the map itself – you can even use pen and paper; the idea is that you draft what your map will look like with an X-axis and a Y-axis, resulting in four quadrants.
- Choosing two dimensions to focus on. In our example above, this referred to price and quality.
- Adding your product and your competitors’ – you can add circles that represent each product, allowing you to visualize at a glance where everyone sits in the market.
- Getting insights from the map – what does the product positioning map tell you about your product and that of your competitors? Do you stop any opportunities? Is there any profitable segment of the market you’re missing out on?
- Write a product positioning statement – we’ll get to this in more detail below, but just remember to create a statement that reflects your unique product features and characteristics and that answers questions like: who’s your target market? And can you prove your product does what it says?
- Test and review. Try to get feedback from your audience about whether your product positioning is working. Ask them if everything is clear, if they understand what you’re offering, etc.
What is a product positioning template?
A product positioning template is a canvas where you can add information like:
- The problems your customers have,
- How you’re addressing these issues,
- The market landscape,
- How your product differs from others,
- Your competitors,
- What your customers think about your products,
- And more.
In short, a product positioning template helps you stay organized, track your positioning progress, etc.
What is a product positioning statement?
A product positioning statement is a description of the unique characteristics of your product in relation to its competition in the market. It includes how the product meets your audience’s needs and/or solves their problems and helps you to communicate your value proposition to customers.
How to write a positioning statement for a product?
If you’re looking to write a product positioning statement, we aim to make it easy peasy for you. After all, we understand it can be challenging to distill a good amount of information into a sentence or two.
Some tips to create a solid statement are to:
- Keep it simple and concise,
- Check out what other orgs are doing,
- Be empathetic,
- Be memorable,
- Have a deep understanding of your audience,
- Keep your values in mind,
- Be honest, authentic and transparent
Luckily, Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm, offers a simple, yet effective, template for writing a positioning statement for a product:
What is product positioning strategy?
A product positioning strategy is the process of communicating your unique product characteristics and attributes to your audience, in order to distinguish it from other products out in the market. In essence, your product positioning strategy helps you to stand out from the crowd.
As mentioned, there are several ways to ensure a solid product positioning. This includes:
- Make sure you understand the target market and their needs, wants, and pain points.
- Research the competition and identify strengths and weaknesses. A SWOT analysis here could do wonders.
- Identify what makes your product unique.
- Craft a product positioning statement.
- Communicate your positioning to your audience.
How do you want your product to be perceived by developers? How are you going to communicate with them? What should you include in your messaging? Before you start promoting or even developing your product, it’s crucial you develop your positioning strategy so you know where you sit from the get-go.
What is a product positioning framework?
A product positioning framework is a set of guidelines used to develop a product positioning strategy. It typically includes a set of steps or elements that help guide the process of identifying the target market, researching the competition, and crafting a positioning statement.
The steps in a product positioning framework can vary depending on the source, but a common framework includes the following elements:
- Identify the target market: understand the demographics, needs, wants, and pain points of the target customer.
- Analyze the competition: identify the key players in the market, their strengths and weaknesses, and their positioning in the market.
- Identify the unique selling points (USPs) of the product: Understand the unique characteristics and benefits that set the product apart from the competition.
- Craft a positioning statement: summarize the unique selling points in a short, clear, and memorable statement that communicates the unique value proposition (USP) of the product.
- Execute the positioning: communicate the positioning statement through marketing and advertising efforts to the target market.
- Monitor and adjust: continuously monitor the position of the product in the market, and adjust the positioning strategy as needed based on feedback from the target market and changes in the market.
Overall, an API or SaaS product positioning framework is a tool that guides you during the process of creating and communicating the unique characteristics and benefits of a product to developers, so that you can differentiate it from similar products and make it more appealing to potential customers.
How to build an API or SaaS product positioning framework
Do you want to position an API or SaaS product? In that case, let’s expand on our previous section with things that can help you create a tech product positioning framework:
- Keep a data-driven mindset: when making decisions about your API or SaaS product positioning, always base them on data. This allows you to avoid preconceived notions and opinions, as well as a one-size-fits-all approach.
- Understand how your audience sees your competition: it’s important to identify your competition and how they’re vying for your audience’s attention. This can help you stand out from the crowd, since you’ll know what people enjoy about your competitors and what could be done better.
- Define your USP: determine what sets your API apart from competitors and how it solves your target audience’s needs better than existing solutions.
- Consider how you’ll position your API or SaaS product: there are many different ways you can go about this, including by features or characteristics. Simply spot the key features and benefits of your API or SaaS that align with your USP and audience’s needs. You can also position it by user, value, and purpose, for example.
- Understand your audience: it goes without saying that you should research your target market to understand their needs, pain points, and what they are currently using to solve similar problems.
- Choose a great name for your product: brand and product names should be memorable, so make sure you’re picking the right one! Keep it simple and short, ensure it’s easy to read and pronounce, and distinguish it from your competitors’.
- Define your target audience: identify the specific types of developers or businesses that would use your API and tailor your messaging to them.
- Develop a positioning statement: use your understanding of your target market, USP, key features and benefits, and target audience to develop a positioning statement that clearly communicates the value of your API.
- Choose the right price: the price of your product should reflect its value, so don’t under or over price it! Your audience will pay for something that’s high-quality and solves all their problems, so know your product inside and out, keep an eye on the market, and check what the competition is doing in order to find the sweet pricing spot.
- Communicate your positioning: use your positioning statement to guide all of your API product's marketing and communication, including website copy, product documentation, and sales materials.
- Test and iterate: continuously test your positioning with your target market and make adjustments as needed based on feedback and market trends.
You can also consider the pricing, deployment model, scalability, reliability, support, and integrations of your API or SaaS product, since these are also important factors that affect the positioning of your product.
Check out our other guides to learn more about B2D marketing, DevRel, dev communities, personas, and more: