Positioning is the practice of narrowing your marketing message. It involes selecting a particular market to serve or service to provide.

It feels counterintuitive, but positioning to a narrower market tends to increase your opportunities and leverage in the market. People want to hire a specialist for their problems, not a generalist.

"Positioning is a practice. You don’t just say you serve one kind of person and then go out and do it forever. You find niches within the niche; you refine your market; you become pickier as you grow. And you serve them in different ways, changing your offerings to adapt to shifts in technology, the world, and your customers & clients. Positioning is the act of bringing intentionality, focus, and clarity to the way you serve others."

Why positioning?

Positioning allows you to get deeper on a certain topic, and solve more interesting problems.

Positioning helps you build visibility and trust. You are easier to find, and it's easier to believe someone knows about one thing than everything.

Elements of positioning

  1. Who you serve
  2. What you offer
  3. What makes you different

Positioning vs. specialization

Positioning is an external marketing practice, specialization is an internal one. Just because you position yourself to provide one skill doesn't mean you can't develop others.

Positioning statement

A brief statement that summarizes a postioning. Writing multiples can be an exercise to help you think of them. Here is an example template from Jason Reznick

I help: [ideal client description] Do/be/get/achieve/overcome: [big result] So they can: [benefit of big result][differentiator] Even if: [common objection] I do that through/by/with/in: [share services, products, and programs] If you: [invite the action] Simply: [tell them exactly what to do]

Positioning as a career practice

You can position yourself when looking for a career. In the indie mindset, job hunting is another form of sales and marketing after all. For example, I switched from trying to get jobs as a full-stack developer to just a 'frontend developer.' This narrowed the amount of skills I needed to show off.

From frontend, there are further specializations I could look into: ReactJS, accessibility, usability, animation, CSS, just to name a few.

Over time, the developer landscape is budding. There used to be "web developer." Then, there was "frontend", and "backend" engineers. Then, more subsets started popping up: DevOps, JavaScript focused developers, etc. As time goes on, the field gains more complexity, and more specializations form. The refrain of "there is no such thing as a full-stack developer" is becoming both more common and more true.

Having multiple resumes is another way to practice positioning on the job hunt. You can have 3-4 different versions for different positions you are interested in.

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