Great Moments In Marketing: Ries, Trout & Positioning

Derrick DayeAugust 24, 20072 min

The term ‘Positioning‘ was coined in 1969 by Al Ries and Jack Trout in the paper “Positioning is a game people play in today’s me-too market place” in the publication Industrial Marketing. It was then expanded into their ground-breaking first book, “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind“.

Positioning is something (perception) that happens in the minds of the target market. It is the aggregate perception the market has of a particular company, product or service in relation to their perceptions of the competitors in the same category. It will happen whether or not a company’s management is proactive, reactive or passive about the on-going process of evolving a position. But a company can positively influence the perceptions through enlightened strategic actions.

In marketing, positioning has come to mean the process by which marketers try to create an image or identity in the minds of their target market for its product, brand, or organization. It is the ‘relative competitive comparison’ their product occupies in a given market as perceived by the target market.

Re-positioning involves changing the identity of a product, relative to the identity of competing products, in the collective minds of the target market.

De-positioning involves attempting to change the identity of competing products, relative to the identity of your own product, in the collective minds of the target market.


  • Trout, J., (1969) “”Positioning” is a game people play in today’s me-too market place”, Industrial Marketing, Vol.54, No.6, (June 1969), pp.51-55.
  • Ries, A. and Trout,J. (1981) Positioning, The battle for your mind, Warner Books – McGraw-Hill Inc., New York, 1981

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  • Chris

    August 30, 2007 at 7:25 am

    Excellent blog, I like the quote on positioning by Ries and Trout.

    It is interesting to think that every product, brand, service, politcal party and country are positioned in consumers minds.


  • A-V Anttiroiko

    January 17, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Great crystallisation of positioning.

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