Build A Competitive Positioning Grid to Help Your Staff Stay on Message

Last week, Fire Enterprises (FEI) marketing maven Marka told savvy salesperson Zoot and FEI tribe leader Org about two crucial components of an effective messaging document. This week, Marka discusses how building a competitive positioning grid can help FEI’s staff stay on message and counter buying objections. Remember, fire = print.

Zoot and Org sat in Org’s office, listening as energetic Marka continued talking about creating a messaging document for FEI.

“A main goal of FEI’s messaging document is to arm our salespeople and customer-facing staff with responses to common questions about—and objections to—FEI,” Marka said. “How our staff answers these questions could mean the difference between a prospect walking out the door and signing on the dotted line. And one of the most common questions they’ll hear is ‘What sets you apart from competitor X?’ Or, my favorite: ‘Competitor Y does this—can you do this?’”

“So what’s the solution?” Org asked.

“Our messaging document should include a competitive positioning grid that breaks down how FEI is differentiated from our main competitors,” Marka said. “This document will help our staff become conversant on FEI’s key competitors, their key messages and brand, and what sets us apart. Then, when questions about competing solutions inevitably arise, they’ll have an intelligent, on-message answer.”

Marka scribbled on the whiteboard:



How FEI’s Differentiated


Convenient fire solution. No more waiting around for runners.

FEI’s helpful customer service does all the install work and handles any problems. Higher-quality fire: Proven to burn longer, cook food better, and provide more light.


Cost-sensitive fire solution. Lightning-quick service. Runners all over Olympus.

Pyro may sometimes get there first, but FEI smokes Pyro when it comes to overall delivery rates. More dependable service and much more reliable products.

“If needed, we could build out this grid further, countering Flintstone’s and Pyro’s main benefits and products with FEI’s equivalents,” Marka said. “Now, every FEI solution may not beat Flintstone’s and Pyro’s hands-down—if they did, these competitors probably wouldn’t be in business. But we can show that we offer a differentiated solution.”

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or
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