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Home » How to sell a physical notebook for 12x the price (Positioning case study)

How to sell a physical notebook for 12x the price (Positioning case study)

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Yesterday Steven Bartlett, entrepreneur and host of Europe’s biggest podcast, The Diary of a CEO, announced a new product.

It’s a… physical notebook.

Or is it?

Not really, or not only.

I love how they positioned it.

They knew that, in order to create something different (and charge premium for it), they needed to change how people think about the whole product category.

In short The Diary is the combination of a pre-structured notebook you can journal on and an app + guided life/business coaching.

What they did was putting together the physical and the digital, using a system.

Now this is alchemy.

This way they’re able to charge $50 per “notebook”, when a normal one with the same quality would cost $3 to $5.

Positioning of this kind is very powerful.

And they didn’t even have to reinvent the wheel.

Here’s how I would deconstruct it if they were my client:

  • Target audience: they already have a huge list through their massively popular podcast. Either business owners, wantrepreneurs, agency owners or freelancers. They are all interested in business and self improvement because those are the topics covered on the podcast. Hence: awareness, sophistication are very high. $50 is a very low barrier to entry as they just need to cross one stage of awareness (product aware) to get sold.
  • Competition: there are physical journals and there are journal apps. But nothing that combines them. That’s why their value prop is a great differentiator “The world’s first diary that coaches you back.” Maybe using “journal” rather than diary would have attracted a few more people but I understand they might want to align with the podcast’s brand.
  • Differentiators: It’s a fresh “new” take on an already validated concept and audience, what better differentiator would you need?
  • Claims/benefits: They’re all about guidance, accountability, feedback and even metrics. There’s also the high touch benefit, they (supposedly) have in house coaches – including Steven himself – to help you. We’ll see once they get more proof, how they use it on the site.
  • Belief sequence: What do prospects need to believe before buying into this? Well, they need to first understand how the product works. With any “new” type product, understanding leads to believing. Then they have to believe that they will stick to it and that it will be easy. And easier than other stuff they already tried (probably a ton). This is what I would address on the site.
  • Brand personality: This is where the huge brand they established comes into play. Steven who’s the face of it, is all about integrity, honesty, openness, vulnerability, empathy… but also about being smart and constantly wanting to get better and optimize. It’s a perfect fit.
  • Authority and support: They have a built-in audience and credibility. And most people will visit their site from the podcast. This is pretty much an afterthought for them.

Of course I would run some research and put all of it together only after speaking with customers and real prospects.

But as you would expect, they’re doing everything pretty well.

And I love the angle they took with it.

Maybe you can make your positioning stronger too? How can you use the idea of “combining systems” to get to something truly unique?

You can use these points as a template to get to your positioning statement, too.

They’re the basis for my Positioning Formula™️ document.

Need help to figure it all out?

Get in touch.

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