How To Know If Your Product Positioning Is Off

by Sean Boyce

Solving problems isn’t enough to make your product successful. You must also position your product for success.

Product positioning is all about defining how your product is the best at something specific for a particular target market and does something that is very important for them.  

When speaking with customers, have you experienced any of the following?

People ask if your product does Y, but you built it for X.

People are surprised to find out your product does that.

People are often expecting your product to be something it isn’t.

If you have, then you are experiencing a problem with product positioning.  

Consider the case of PayPal. Before becoming the success they are today, the company struggled to gain traction. They set out to be a handheld-to-handheld money transfer system. In fact, it wasn’t until they finally started paying attention to a massive number of feature requests they received for email-to-email payments that they uncovered what would ultimately catapult them to success.  

Success for PayPal didn’t come until they positioned themselves as a product that enabled email-to-email payments. Before that, they were positioned wrong.

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If your product is positioned wrong, it will confuse your customer. They will think you’re something you’re not.

This is a common pitfall for entrepreneurs to fall victim to when building product businesses – they can’t see the forest through the trees. Often your customers will be giving you the clues that you should reach more thoroughly, but unfortunately most entrepreneurs ignore this advice. PayPay fell victim to the same trap and things didn’t really take off until they updated their product positioning.   

Now that we are aware of the power of product positioning, what can you do to properly position your product for success?

Listen to your customer

If they are confused, realize this isn’t their problem, it’s yours. You confused them somehow. You didn’t mean to confuse them, but it’s on you to fix it. So how do you do that? Listen to them and process the feedback.

Whether or not it’s what you want to hear, your customer is giving you great feedback.  If they are excited about your product as Y, but you’re pursuing your product as X, then maybe you need to take a closer look at Y. That very well could be the answer to updating your product positioning.

Want to know how to fix the positioning for your product?  Let’s talk it through, email me at or visit us on the web at NxtStep.

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Ready for your product to be rescued?  Check out Product Rescue from NxtStep.  

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