The 5 Components of Awesome Marketing Positioning with April Dunford

How do you cut through the clutter when launching a new product? What can you say that hasn’t been said before? How do you stand out from your competitors who also claim to have equally innovative and valuable solutions?

April Dunford has the secret sauce. As a positioning consultant for growth-stage start-ups and large organizations, she teaches a practical positioning methodology that makes a product’s value shine.

After 25 years in various Vice President, Marketing roles for a variety of start-ups, April decided to tackle a gap she saw in almost every organization she worked with: positioning – the most important foundational component of any marketing plan or campaign.

We talked with her about her positioning methodology that makes a product’s “awesomeness obvious”.

What is positioning? 

Positioning defines how your product is a leader at delivering something that a well-defined set of customers cares a lot about. It is NOT your messaging, a tagline or your brand story. Positioning is context-setting for a product. It’s a bit like the opening scene of a movie that gets your oriented in the story. Put simply, positioning defines what market you intend to win and why you deserve to win it.

How is positioning different than storytelling? 

All great stories have inputs. To create a great product story, you need to know exactly who your best target customer is, what the competition is, and how you win against them. Positioning defines the inputs to a great product story, so you need to work on positioning first. I see a lot of companies make the mistake of trying to use a storytelling framework or exercise to try to determine positioning. You might get a great story that way, but it won't necessarily be a story that is true and helps you beat your competitors in the market.

How do companies get their positioning right?

I’ve developed a positioning methodology that works through five components and this is the approach I teach in my consulting practice and write about in my book, Obviously Awesome. Here are the five key considerations:


  1. Competitive Alternatives – What would your customers do if you didn’t exist? How are they solving the problem today? What other solution did they look at before they chose yours? This can be direct competitors or spreadsheets, manual processes or “do nothing.”
  2. Differentiated Features or Capabilities - What capabilities or features does your product have that the competitors do not? What can you do that they can’t?
  3. Value for customers – For each of the differentiated features you listed, ask yourself “So What?” for customers. What value do your unique features deliver to customers?
  4. Target Customer Segmentation – What customers care the most about your value and why? What are the characteristics of a target customer that makes them a better fit for what you can deliver?
  5. Market Category – Your ideal market category makes your value obvious to your best fit customers. What is the context you can weave around your product to make it obviously awesome?


What will your SAAS North NOW keynote focus on?

I am going to talk about the three different types of competitors: hoards, giants and ghosts. I’ll reveal who they are, why they are dangerous and how to beat each one with strategic product positioning.

To learn more about April Dunford or to order her book Obviously Awesome, visit

Don’t miss April’s keynote presentation at the SAAS NORTH NOW virtual conference, September 9 – 10, 2020. Buy your tickets today!