In the fast-paced world of technology, positioning for tech companies is a dynamic challenge that often deviates from the conventional wisdom found in traditional marketing textbooks. The tech market is in a constant state of flux, demanding unparalleled agility to recalibrate positioning strategies regularly. Unlike traditional industries, tech companies often operate within ecosystems of complementary technology and service providers, blurring traditional boundaries. Products and services evolve rapidly due to the incessant demand for increased utility, making competitive positioning beyond features, functions, and benefits a demanding task. To tackle this complexity, a robust framework for the development of market positioning is crucial, allowing for the agility necessary to thrive in the tech landscape.

  1. Setting the True North: Vision, Mission, and Purpose

The foundation of any tech company’s positioning strategy lies in its vision, mission, and purpose statement. This serves as the true north, providing a guiding light to navigate the ever-changing market landscape. Defining the top three business objectives for the next 12-24 months and acknowledging execution constraints is essential to create execution focus in strategy. In entrepreneurial organizations, where founder, owners and shareholders have an “end game” in mind, systemic alignment becomes paramount.

Simon Sinek’s “Start with a Why” is truly inspirational and comes with a easy to use workbook that doesn’t require costly complex external facilitation.

  1. The Evolution of Business Models: A Factual Description

A clear, factual description of what the organization does, how it delivers its offerings and what the revenue or profit engine is, is essential. For instance, a shift from a traditional service centric software engineering firm to providing software as a service represents a fundamental change in the core business. The Business Model Canvas published by Strategyzer is  a valuable strategic management template to define, review and challenge assumptions as the model evolves organically. Best of all, it’s on one page.

  1. Value Chain Perspective: Understanding Market Dynamics

Examining the entire value chain from the buyer’s or market’s perspective provides insights into where value is created and how buyer groups define and evaluate selection criteria. In our interconnected world, considerations such as interoperability, integration, and ongoing operational maintenance play pivotal roles in shaping technology choices. The challenge in new and emerging markets is that often “buyers don’t know how to buy”, especially if the buying process involves multiple cross-functional stakeholders. 

The Buyer Experience Map based on Blue Ocean Strategy is a great tool to explore the value chain in the context of  buyer problem solving. It can be an eye opener when it comes to gaining insights for a compelling sales approach as well as uncovering latent needs and markets. 

  1. Centring Positioning Around Profit

Regardless of customer demand and competitiveness, positioning must revolve around driving the profit engine of the business. In portfolios with varying margins, understanding that positioning must centre around a profitable delivery is crucial for sustainable growth. This doesn’t mean to ignore the end-to-end process, and it may be right to “lead” with a loss leader if downstream profit can be generated. Think of the age old example of the printer business – you gotta sell the printer to cream profits in the toner business. 

  1. Adapting to Market Dynamics: The Calibration Imperative

Market dynamics play a pivotal role in determining the right positioning strategy. In early markets, customization to meet visionary customer needs is essential, while in growth markets it is all about market share gain and ultimaterly in mature markets, the focus shifts to repeatability and scalability to keep market share and grow through cross and upselling. The calibration of positioning becomes a continual process aligned with the market’s evolution and the competitive environment.

“Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey Moore is still the best book (in my opinion) discussing the criticality of adoption cycles and how to respond to them in early markets.

  1. Target Market Considerations: Geography, Drivers, Buyer Personas

Consideration of the specific target markets  is often overlooked. Is the market local, regional, or global? Understanding buyer behavior, leveraging similar dynamics, and creating ideal customer profiles and buyer personas are essential in staying meaningful with a compelling positioning. It will also be a topic in operational customer engagement, however at the strategy level it builds the bases for consistency in  downstream messaging and content creation all the way to lead generation campaigns and sales process management.

  1. Honesty in Competitive Positioning: The Blue Ocean Strategy Canvas

Competitive value-based positioning is challenging but vital. Without a shadow of a doubt every company has the best product, best people and best service. This high level  simply doesn’t have cut through and leads with self serving statements, what is important is what your capabilities means to the customer, in context of the competitive playing field.

The Blue Ocean Strategy Canvas becomes a powerful tool for assessing relative performance against competitors and alternatives according to industry standards. Whether offering a first-of-its-kind innovation or solving a common problem in a mature marekt, brutal honesty in determining when to compete and when to “walk” is key.  Only an understanding of the alternatives and substitutes allows us to craft a clear value based differentiation from the customer perspective. 


In conclusion, a robust positioning strategy serves as the true north for innovative tech companies, providing clarity amid the chaos of the ever-evolving market. It is the hard work behind the catchy slogans, and is key to  guiding subsequent messaging and content strategies. In an industry where change is the only constant, a well-defined positioning strategy is the compass that ensures companies not only navigate the present challenges but also anticipate and adapt to the future landscape of the markets they play in.