Digital Marketing with the Five Box Positioning Model

by Bill McCown - Apr 02, 2015

We live in a world saturated with marketing. From billboards, to TV spots, to targeted social media posts, to telemarketers, sometimes it feels like we are inundated with marketing messages. So, how do you get your message out there? How do you communicate effectively with the customers who will benefit from your product? The answer is positioning.


“In order to have a successful digital marketing campaign, you must properly position your product.” Jay Joyce said, “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 a good or service. To do this, your company must make a claim and then give the audience reasons to believe your claim.

How to Get Started

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 desires or needs, then you can craft a “Value Proposition” that succinctly describes the benefit of your product. (More on that later).

Sound confusing? Well, it’s a lot easier than it sounds – especially if you use the Five Box Positioning Model.

Five Box Positioning Model - The Idea People Marketing Blog

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 is a different part of the process.

1.) Current Belief

The top left box is the Current Belief of your customer. This is what your customer believes that is relevant to your industry or product. For example, if your company sells luxury pens then the current belief of your target customer would be something like, “My current writing implement is cheap and inadequate and I want a nicer one.”

2.) Current Action

The Current Action is what your customer is doing based on their belief. For the luxury pen example, the current action could be something like, “I use cheap pens that don’t work or explode in my pocket and I’m fed up!”

3.) Value Proposition

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.

FancyPenIn our example of luxury pens, one obvious benefit is that our company’s pen writes better. However, the most persuasive benefit is often psychological. Our pen is a luxury item, a status symbol, and the customer who purchases our product will feel sophisticated and important. Thus, our Value Proposition will be, “Our pens work better than cheap pens, won’t leak, and are a status symbol.”

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, our luxury pen company can discuss the meticulous way the pens are crafted, or show a comparison test between our pen and the competitors’.

4.) Desired Belief

The Value Proposition and Reasons to Believe are what 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 pen writes better and makes me feel like an important executive.”

5.) Desired Action

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

Five Box Positioning Model Example - The Idea People Marketing Blog

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 marketing program will be.

As a digital marketing and web design company in Charlotte, The Idea People put great ideas into the foundation of every strategy that we implement. We have over twenty years of experience in all aspects of digital marketing, web design, social media, and software development.

To learn more and see how our ideas can help build your presence in the digital space, call Jay Joyce at 704-398-4437 or email

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