What is Reverse Positioning in Marketing and Branding?

By Philip BerardoDec 04, 2019


man sitting at desk drinking coffee and looking at computer screen with marketing strategy displayed

image credit: Rawpixel.com/shutterstock.com

The term “reverse positioning” (sometimes called “breakaway positioning”) has begun resurfacing in the marketing industry recently, but what exactly does it mean? In this post, we’ll be defining reverse positioning—a unique marketing and branding strategy your company should know about.

What is reverse positioning?

There are a few ways to define reverse positioning, but HubSpot has shared a simplified explanation: it is defined as a marketing strategy where branding and customer/client appreciation is the main goal, as opposed to pushing a service/product purchase. The end result is a marketing tactic that puts more focus on your service’s features in an unconventional manner from traditional marketing. It follows a rather popular quote from Founder and CEO of Marketoon Studios, Tom Fishburne:

“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” — Tom Fishburne.

Some elements that define reverse positioning include the following:

  • Connecting with prospects on an emotional level, as opposed to traditional marketing tactics.
  • Committing your strategy to honesty and integrity above traditional marketing.
  • Allowing new prospects to find your brand online without relying on marketing ads or actively seeking their purchase.
  • Evaluating who your target audience is and what matters most to them.

Where did reverse positioning come from?

The concept of reverse positioning has existed for a number of years. It was originally known as reverse marketing—the idea that a customer is searching for a company rather than marketers actively looking for customers. Through this, your company is able to provide helpful, meaningful information to your audience without asking them upfront to make a purchase. You’re certainly not avoiding business, but you’re also not making it the sole purpose of your marketing strategy. 

Can reverse positioning be used in b2b marketing?

It’s true that reverse positioning sounds like it’s geared more toward b2c companies, but this strategy holds value for b2b as well. B2B marketers can focus more on building brand loyalty and encouraging prospects and customers to continue to support their brand. Regardless of whether your company is b2b or b2c—or the industry you are in—your company has brand values and specific branding challenges to overcome. It's important to ensure that those values are maintained as you work on developing a personal identity and character for your brand. 

Additionally, larger b2b companies may find themselves using reverse positioning strategies along with their supply chain management. In other words, a b2b business would approach a supplier (or manufacturer) with their specific needs, instead of the other way around. This concept is especially helpful for companies that practice the inbound methodology since it deviates from the “cold-calling approach” to marketing and embraces customer relationship management. 

Reverse positioning is a unique, if not difficult to implement, marketing and branding strategy that your company may consider trying. It can be intimidating, given how unconventional it is, but some of the core principles—such as a stronger focus on your customers and what they are actively looking for—can be helpful to know!

For more marketing and branding insights, you can check out thinkdm2’s blog or follow us on LinkedIn below. Thinkdm2 is a New Jersey digital marketing and branding agency that has experience working in the professional services and technology industries.

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