Today there are so many ways to get your product or service’s message to consumers and customers. Traditional marketing tools may seem stodgy or unnecessary to companies who now have unlimited access to social media and more. Yet I’ve encountered organizations recently that struggle with reaching prospective customers with relevant messages.

Company A hired a marketing consultant to develop their strategy, yet would not give the consultant access to current customers. Without being able to ascertain, from the customer’s POV, the benefits they seek, and how they think and talk about the services this company provides, it was challenging to deliver a meaningful strategy that outlined effective tactics. Both parties walked away dissatisfied.

Company B attempted a campaign of email blasts, blogs and Linked In articles, but could not find the right language to communicate their primary benefit in a relevant, unique and credible way. Though they had not conducted any formal research, or articulated a marketing strategy or positioning, they claimed they knew what their customers wanted. Frustrated, they continued their campaign. It’s uncertain whether they will ultimately discover, through trial and error, the ideal way to talk about their services’ benefits.

Company C wants to be a well known national brand, but couldn’t make up their mind about whether to target suburban housewives or new age artist types. Opting not to invest in strategy or positioning development, their marketing now consists of home made iPhone videos posted on their Facebook page. You can’t read the product name because the image is reversed, like looking in a mirror.

Skipping steps in the marketing strategy development process can leave leaders of brands frustrated, and the brands underdeveloped. Crafting a classic positioning statement might well provide relief for the struggles above.

Positioning identifies who prospective customers are, how they behave and what benefits appeal to them. It identifies the competitive frame of reference, so that a brand can talk about the benefits it offers that are relevant to customers and unique relative to the competition. It gives customers solid rational reasons to believe that if they buy your product or service they will receive the benefits you’re promising.

The process of developing positioning is valuable in and of itself. A thoughtful, well researched positioning statement uncovers relevant language through meaningful connections with consumers/customers. This doesn’t necessarily mean big, costly qualitative research studies, but it does require a level of commitment that allows the brand to discover what and how customers are thinking.

In talking with customers marketers to hear from them outside the day to day transactional business setting, where conversations are often rushed, to discover new needs for which the brand can provide solutions. Conversations with them can also reveal critical competitive information. A thorough process includes testing the completed positioning statement with target consumers to make sure it hits the mark with a unique, relevant, credible positioning designed to lead to tangible business results.

Could a well crafted positioning statement be the missing link between your brand and reaching prospective customers with a clear, unique and relevant message?