What is your sword in the stone?

Any marketing effort requires several basic components, not the least of which is a positioning strategy. Positioning means determining who you are selling your products or services to, then giving your offering a unique place, or position, in that person's mind. In other words, if our company lays claim to being "Montreal's cremation leader", it becomes difficult for another funeral home to make the same claim. There's a fundamental law of physics that says no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time and the law is true in marketing as well. Positioning is as simple as finding a hole in the marketplace that you are uniquely suited to fill.

There's also a corollary law of psychology that says we remember firsts but not also-rans. In other words, who was the second person to fly across the ocean? We know that Charles Lindbergh was the first, but who was second? The lesson to be learned in this situation is that it is easier to gain a "first position" by opening new territory than it is to knock someone else out of first place in an already established category. So where do you come in first? Author Sarah White and of course Jack Trout and Al Ries are experts in the field of positioning and offer many excellent books on the subject.

Another definition of positioning is the way you present your product or service that helps you stand out from the competition; it's about how you want your customers to remember you. There are three key components that make up your positioning strategy...

  • Features of your product / service and the benefit to consumers
  • Needs / desires of the target market
  • Positioning strategies in use by the competition

Following are some sample positioning strategies...

  • Product attributes
  • Price / quality / value
  • Against a competitor
  • Specific uses
  • Response to customers' needs
  • Product user / usage
  • Product superiority

Here is a ten step plan to develop your positioning strategy...

  • List the possible wants or needs this product can satisfy
  • List the competitors who vie for to satisfy those wants or needs
  • Find out why consumers buy
  • Identify the positions held by competitors
  • Find the unoccupied positions
  • Evaluate the gaps you've found
  • Choose a strategy
  • Adapt your marketing mix to the strategy
  • Design an advertising campaign to communicate positioning
  • Learn and grow... monitor the changes that take place as you promote your position

This is what we use at Mount Royal Commemorative Services as our sword in the stone...

The Mount Royal Difference

  • Because we are a non-profit company, your needs come first within a genuinely caring relationship and environment designed to accommodate your every requirement. We are able to put all of our energies and priorities where they belong; to serve you and your family in difficult times
  • Perpetual care is offered at all the gravesites within Mount Royal, which means that they are preserved for generations to come. True perpetuity means that the traditions and dignity of burial are preserved forever at your grave site and not disposed of at a later date, after a number of years, as is sometimes the case with other cemeteries in the area
  • Our independent status means that the owners of Mount Royal are property owners and the revenues generated are put back into the beautification of our properties which are based in Montreal
  • Mount Royal is the home of Canada's first crematorium established in 1901 which means that our experience is unsurpassed and that the cremation process will take place on site
  • Our "Growing through Grief" aftercare program is one of a kind in Montreal and is offered free of charge to our families as well as any other grieving individual, even if they did not use our services
  • We are Canada's premiere garden cemetery and have recently been designated a national historic site by the Canadian government and is a haven in the heart of the city for Montrealers to enjoy
  • Our 100% funeral pre-arrangement refund policy is unique in Montreal offering families a no strings attached opportunity to protect their families
  • Our professionally trained funeral directors and counsellors abide by the consumer protection laws in a "no pressure" approach which means integrity is our number one priority
  • Mount Royal has made a commitment to become an educational resource for Montrealers in order to demystify the funeral and cemetery profession and offers valuable information kits, seminars, and professional referrals on the topics of estate and financial planning as well as notarial wills
  • Mount Royal Cemetery is Montreal's longest operating cemetery, established on the mountain in 1852, offering a combination of stability and experience for your family at a time of need

Spend some time brainstorming ideas with your funeral home or cemetery employees and develop a unique selling proposition that will make your company stand out in the marketplace.

Good luck.