Good marketing starts with knowing who you are and what you do (market positioning), finding ways to explain it (messaging), and then creating and executing a plan (strategic marketing).

Market Positioning Try this

First, you need to get clear on your value proposition (aka unique selling proposition) by going through a structured exercise on market positioning.

Determining market positioning is a tricky thing. It’s a matter of laying the ground work, and then constantly adapting your message based on what’s happening out in the marketplace.

Many people suffer from the “forest and trees” syndrome. In a sense, they should. To be good at what one does, one has to focus on the details that make it all come together. Those details, however, don’t help the marketplace understand why they should be buying what you’re selling. Nor do they make for compelling messages in print, on the web, or in advertising.

The take-away from this exercise is a treasure trove of pithy statements and gold nuggets about who you are, what you do, and why people should buy from you instead of the other guys.

These nuggets have many uses, from sales calls and elevator pitches to advertising copy and web write-ups.

Have a stranger ask your company receptionist "What does your company do?"

Ask a senior manager. Ask people at random. Ask clients.

If everyone replies with a consistent message that is
• accurate
• short
• compelling, and
• understandable to anyone,
then you’ve done your homework.

Is it as good as this one?

"Who other lawyers would hire if they got busted."



“Volant Consulting serves small and mid-sized companies, with twenty years experience in the legal industry. We offer the flexibility of on-call experts for computer technology questions and needs without the expense of a full-time systems staff member. You benefit from years of experience while saving money.

“Clients call with questions ranging from ‘what brand of computer should I buy?’ to ‘is there a service pack for my software to clear up these communications problems?’ or ‘what type of broadband service should we use?’

“Companies face the daunting task of keeping up with technology trends, without the benefit of a full-time technical staff. Volant Consulting can act as your ‘Part-Time IS Director,’ helping you to get the most out of your technology investments.”


  • The first sentence doesn’t even say what they do; it’s not until halfway through the second sentence that you learn they’re in IT support.
  • Their unique selling proposition (USP) is buried in the last line. Did you read that far? I only did when I forced myself to. In the old “introduction, body, conclusion” format, the reader doesn’t learn the USP unless they read right to the end.
  • The concept of the “part-time IS director” is a good one, but they missed that this part-time person needs to be a full-time expert.
  • Would a non-expert really ask “is there a service pack for my software to clear up these communications problems”?

The market positioning exercise with Volant revealed that:

  • IT systems are critical to the clients’ ability to run their businesses
  • clients are afraid of IT failures, want their IT to be invisible and “just work”, and therefore they need experts
  • clients are willing to make a reasonable investment, but don’t want excessive costs that would break the bank or leave them feeling gouged
  • Volant’s market niche is firms that are too small to justify a full-time IT expert.

Thus Volant’s concept of part-time access to full-time experts.

During the session we got to the meat of this. In the old days, the law firms who are Volant’s clients had office managers could act as a part-time computer person. Now things are too complicated and the firms are scared. They’re scared of not being able to support what they have, and scared of IT failing them. They want an IT support firm who can shoot in, get it fixed, and shoot out. Volant’s clients want to practice law, and want to hire full-time experts on a quarter-hour basis. Period.


“Volant Consulting provides outstanding IT support to small and medium firms.

“Many firms don’t need full-time IT staff, but they need the expertise that only full-time IT professionals can provide.

“Technology has become critical to running a business. It’s no longer okay to hear that the network will be back up tomorrow. Servers, firewalls, workstations, software, viruses, and spyware have become too complicated to leave it to staff who just happen to know computers. Volant’s consultants are full-time IT experts, who provide however little, or however much, support you need.”


First, it’s structured in what journalists call a “reverse pyramid”, with the most potent concise headline at the top. It’s immediately followed by a secondary (more detailed) description, that shores up the first hook but with more detail, then it gets into the specifics.

This is designed so that readers that fit Volant’s niche market (their ideal customer profile) can identify with the first sentence, and are compelled to read on. Then they’re soothed by the credibility Volant has to solve their problem.

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