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Positioning and Distinctive Competence

You're trying to decide on the key themes and messages to use in your product marketing campaign. As I mentioned in my article, "How to Formulate Marketing Messages", you can use three approaches to identifying candidate messages:

1. Portray your product as an antidote to a prospect problem.
2. Highlight the strength within your product's weakness.
3. Attack the weakness within your leading competitor's strength.

It just so happens that weaknesses and strengths often derive from a company's distinctive competence. A company's distinctive competence may be a patent, its personnel, or an established position in the marketplace. These competencies do not always directly benefit customers; sometimes a distinctive competence merely enables the company to better deliver some benefits to customers.

When considering how to attack the weakness within your leading competitor's strength, keep in mind that your competitor's strength may simply be its distinctive competence. When you attack a weakness within that strength, you strike at the competitor's core. Any attempt by the competitor to deny the weakness implicitly denies its core strength.

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