Digital Marketing with the Five Box Positioning Model

by Jay Joyce, President/Chief Digital Officer - May 08, 2019

We really enjoy when the perfect world of digital and traditional marketing collide in the most on-point manner. Digital marketers go crazy all day with posts, PPC and content. They're all yelling louder and louder to gain traction and attention for their clients and brands. Are there any secrets to better marketing? Yes, at least one. It's called the 5 Box Positioning Model. And it should be a strong part of any client's marketing foundation to create better magic behind the digital mayhem.

So, how do you create better market positioning? How do you communicate effectively with the right customers who will benefit from your product or service? Strong positioning addresses beliefs, value and action that you want your customers to notice and engage. So often in the hurried pace of digital marketing, new and novice marketers forget the positioning for a product, service or brand. This is the beauty of having a traditional marketing tool shape the digital marketing message.

Using Positioning in Digital Marketing

Positioning a brand, product or service is the much-needed platform for any type of marketing. In its simplest definition, positioning is communicating the unique benefits of your products to your target audience so they can differentiate your product from competitors.

Basically, positioning happens in the mind of the consumer. The result of good positioning is your product being called to mind first when a customer needs or wants what you market. And positioning should be the required platform in a noisy and competitive digital marketing space. In really good market positioning, a company makes a claim and then gives the audience reasons to believe the claim.

How to Begin with 5 Box Positioning

First identify the segment of the market that needs or wants your product. The more you know about your customer, the better. How old are they? Where do they live? What are their attitudes and beliefs toward similar products? When you figure out what your customer wants or needs, then you can craft a “Value Proposition” that succinctly describes the benefit of your product. (More on that later). All of this customer data is at your fingertips through Google products and your own company research.

And positioning is a lot easier than it sounds – especially if you use the Five Box Positioning Model.

5 Five Box digital marketing positioning model from The Idea People digital agency in Charlotte, NC.

The Five Box Positioning Model

The Five Box Positioning Model helps you organize the process of identifying and changing your audience’s perceptions and guiding them toward your company’s desired outcome – buying your product. Each box plays an important role in the process.

1.) Current Belief Box

The top left box is the Current Belief of your customer. This is what your customers currently believe is relevant to your service or product. For example, if your company sells luxury leather iPhone cases, then a current belief of your target customer could be, “My current iPhone case is cheap, it's cracked and it's scratched. I hate it.”

2.) Current Action

The Current Action is what your customer is doing based on their belief. For the luxury leather iPhone case example, the current action could be something like, “I use cheap plastic iPhone cases that crack, scratch and break too often and I’m fed up!”

3.) Value Proposition - the Silver Lining of PositioningDigital marketing positioning boxes from digital marketing agency The Idea People in Charlotte, NC.

In the middle of the diagram is the Value Proposition. This is the claim or statement that your company makes that will influence your customer’s perceptions and cause them to act. A Value Proposition should persuasively tell the potential customer how they benefit from using the product. It is the most important part of your marketing strategy, and should be the central message in everything your company does.

In our example of iPhone cases, one obvious benefit is that the company’s luxury leather iPhone cases function and look better than cheaper ones. However, the most persuasive benefit is often psychological. These leather iPhone cases are a luxury item, a status symbol, and the customer who purchases one will feel sophisticated and important. So the Value Proposition will be, “Our luxury leather iPhone cases work better than cheap cases, won’t crack, and will complement your iPhone as a status symbol.”

4. Reasons to Believe

Your Value Proposition should be as persuasive and informed as possible. People can be stubborn and will not change their habits without a good reason. That is why your Value Proposition should be backed up with “Reasons to Believe” your company’s claim. For example, the luxury leather iPhone case company can discuss the meticulous way the cases are crafted, or show a comparison test between your case and the competitors’ and even convey the psychological benefit that the case makes you feel like a VIP.

5.) Desired Belief

The Value Proposition connects the Current Belief to the Desired Belief. The Desired Belief is the attitude you want the customer to have about your product after they hear your message. In this example, the Desired Belief would be, “A luxury leather iPhone case looks and works better and makes me feel like a VIP.”

6.) Desired Action

This leads to the Desired Action, which in this example is, “I will buy a luxury leather iPhone case from your company.”

Digital marketing with the 5 Box Positioning Model from agency The Idea People in Charlotte, NC.

Positioning your product is the difference between being an industry leader and an “also-ran”. The more you understand your product, your target customers, and your market strategy, the more successful your digital marketing program will be.

To learn more and to see how our experience can help build your presence online while super-targeting your ideal customer, call Jay Joyce at 704-398-4437 or email

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