Time Line Positioning

asdfaWhen it comes to a new product or procedure, the challenge is that of overcoming the incumbent, the tried and true battle-tested original.  You must convince the consumer that your product is either new or improved.  I never understood how a product could be both new and improved.  If it’s new, how do you improve it and if it’s improved, it can’t be new as there would be nothing to improve.  Figure out which one you are, and find something in the market to compare yourself to.  If you are coming into the market against an old competitor then you might try to position yourself as the new thing by creating a time line. 

“My grandfather always told me he shaved with a straight edge razor, sharpened on a stone every morning.  He says my dad was lucky to get one of those newfangled hand razors with the blade already angled for you.  I remember how he ridiculed my older brother for being a pansy with his Mach III razor.  I don’t think I’m gonna tell him about my NEW OCHO CALIENTE.  Eight blades to ensure I get down to ‘a few less layers of skin’ smooth. It comes with two strips, one moisture strip to ensure a quick shave, and one absorbent one to help the blood clot quickly.  Now that’s sharp!”

This is a joke that points out the technique but it is true.  Invention is the mother of necessity.  Now you think that is backwards but it isn’t.  You can argue that necessity is the mother of invention but did we need the Mach III or the Quattro?  Remember shaving fine with a two-bladed razor.  How about camera cell phones?  Radios in the shower?  CD alarm clocks?  Microwave?  They may be faster, cheaper, brighter, neater, but rarely are they necessary for existence.  (I might now argue for the microwave or the air conditioner, cause I believe I might starve and overheat…but I digress)  But the marketing makes them so necessary that you have to have one.  If your razor doesn’t have multiple blades with moisturizing strips, you might as well be a grandfather with his stone-sharpened straight edge.  What’s wrong with you? 

To defeat something that has long dominated a category, you must position it as the old and your product or service as the new way of doing things.  You might not catch all the audiences as many still use their double blade razor, but you will have the competition jumping trying to save market share.

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