Overlook This One Thing And Your Product Launch Will Fail

In Fall 2014, Gap decided to try an unusual tactic for its fall fashion campaign. They recruited superstars including Elizabeth Moss, Anjelica Huston, and Michael K. Williams for a campaign that they called “Dress Normal.” The tagline for the campaign was that “actions speak louder than clothes.” Unfortunately for Gap, no one aspires to be just normal, and the campaign tanked. Sales tumbled three percent in September, seven percent in October, and four percent in November. It’s safe to say that their product launch failed.

Shoppers pick clothing based on who they want to be or how the clothes confirm the identity they want to project. Gap’s “Dress Normal” campaign failed because it caused consumers to perceive Gap clothes as commonplace and ordinary. This perception problem is known, in marketing terms, as a failure of “market positioning.” Without proper positioning, your product launch, like Gap’s 2014 fall fashion line, will blast off to the land of disappointment. Your market positioning statement should not only guide your launch but also shape all of your marketing messages.

What Is A Positioning Statement?

Positioning, in marketing, explains how you want consumers see your product in their minds. It’s crucial to position your product in a clear, realistic, and relevant way in order to enjoy a successful product launch.


  • Clear. Consumers should clearly understand the benefits of your product. You shouldn’t overwhelm them with too many details, but you also shouldn’t make it sound so specialized that few customers will want it.
  • Realistic. It’s crucial to make realistic statements about what your product can deliver. If consumers don’t believe your promises, or if your product fails to meet their expectations, you won’t sustain long-term interest.
  • Relevant. You have to explain your product’s benefits in a way that’s relevant to the target audience. By positioning itself as “normal,” Gap’s fall fashion line offered no relevant benefits to its young, fashion-conscious audience.


A lot of digital marketing campaigns start with the keywords that customers use to find the product. However, these keywords are good for capturing search traffic, but they don’t powerfully position the product in the mind of the consumer. Before you start work with an SEO or PPC agency, take time to create your own market positioning statement, it’ll help you considerably at any product launch.

Write A Positioning Statement

Cornell University offers a market positioning statement template that you can download and fill out. Essentially, you fill in the following blanks: “For (¬target market), the (product) is the (point of differentiation) among all (competitors or similar products) because of (unique selling proposition).” The product is obviously your product, and hopefully you’ve researched your competition. Let’s take a moment to talk about target market, point of differentiation, and unique selling proposition.

Target Market

Your target market is the set of consumers or businesses that you think will buy your product. For example, Amazon.com’s earliest positioning statements targeted “World Wide Web users who enjoy books.” Your target market shouldn’t be too general, but it shouldn’t be so specific that you can’t generate widespread interest in your product. Targeting book lovers was too general, but targeting Web users – which weren’t as common when Amazon launched back in 1994 – gave it a smaller target market. As that market grew exponentially, so did Amazon’s earnings.

Point Of Differentiation

New products usually enter markets that have at least a few similar offerings. Marketers call these similarities points of parity. However, your product should also feature characteristics that differentiate it from the competition. Tesla, for example, is creating a Model E car that will launch in 2017. The company says that the Model E will feature the performance quality of other entry-level luxury cars, but its point of differentiation is that the Model E is all electric. As we all know, Tesla enjoys almost the same attention as Apple does when they prep for product launch.

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Your USP is what your product offers that no competitor can match. In other words, what does your product do that none of its competitors can do? Your USP can involve a feature of your product, an added service you provide (such as free shipping or installation), or some other quality that sets your company apart.

Blast Off To Success

When you start to market your product online, refer back to your positioning statement as a guide for your digital marketing decisions. If you need help finding an SEO or PPC agency, visit Topseos.com.

Market Positioning – Product Launch

Market Positioning Product Launch

Market Positioning Product Launch