Positioning Matrix

The positioning matrix is a powerful tool to help innovation, marketing, and sales teams showcase the key benefits of their solutions or products. It is typically completed within the STP (segmentation-targeting-positioning) process. The positioning matrix is often also used to explain the competitive differentiation of one’s solution or product to internal stakeholders or customers. It can also help teams build communication materials for such solutions or products. 

The positioning matrix is built in two broader steps:

Step 1

     1a. Enumerate, in rows, all potential benefits that your target customers want from your solution or from competing solutions.

     1b. Add, in columns, your solution (first) and 3-5 larges competitors.

     1c. For each benefit-solution intersection, score the solution’s impact on the benefit on a scale from -3 (very low) to +3 (very high).

Step 2

     2a. Pick the combination of 2 benefits that allow you to best differentiate from competitors.

     2b. Place the chosen benefits on the axes of an x-y graph and plot yourself and competitors in such x-y graph (see below).

Think for example of Tesla’s original positioning of “faster than a Porsche, greener than a Prius”. This statement clarifies that Tesla sought a unique market position by breaking a dilemma (high performance from an environmentally-friendly electric vehicle).

Three important tips to keep in mind when using the positioning matrix:

  • You can’t be better than competitors in all benefits. There will always be competitors outperform you in some dimensions, so make sure to add those to step 1. You will then be able to choose your competitive advantage, but also have a good understanding of where competitors are stronger.
  • Focus on benefits rather than features. Ultimately customers care about the benefits they get and not what features your solution has. 
  • Quantify the benefits if you can. Whenever possible try to also quantify the benefits (e.g., specific amount saved or value added; hint: voice of customer). This will allow you to clearly place yourself against competitors and reduce ambiguity in the scoring. 

Download the Positioning Matrix tool