University of Technology Sydney

21492 Competitive Positioning

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Business
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level: Undergraduate

Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject introduces the foundations and frameworks of marketing strategy particularly focused on the business models and offers predominantly found in Indigenous businesses. The subject demonstrates the choices organisations must make to achieve effective local competitive strategies and the analysis and problem-solving processes behind making the correct trade-offs. The principles and rationale behind the need for organisational orientations that combine resource- and market-based perspectives is examined. The imperative in today's markets for strong competitive positions is explored as are the dangers and results in terms of commoditisation and 'trying to be all things to all people' – the opposite of competitive strategy. Finally, the steps in developing and implementing competitive strategies using the most current methods is discussed and practiced.

Students have the opportunity to practice crafting each of the fundamental components of competitive positioning such as industry definition and competitor identification/analysis, industry driver mapping, needs-based segmentation, value proposition identification, capabilities identification and value mapping, and linking market opportunities with deliverables, key success factors and capabilities to determine not only positioning fit, but resource allocation and implementation action plans to bring strategies to life.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
1. Explain the rationale, need for and consequences of lacking strong competitive positioning
2. Define industry, competitive structure and implications thereof for their offers
3. Identify the different types and uses of segmentation and conduct effective needs-based segmentation
4. Identify and develop appropriate competitive positions for their offers
5. Demonstrate an understanding of relevant competitive positioning theories/concepts and their application to real world examples

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following program learning objectives:

  • Communicate information verbally and in written form for a business audience (2.1)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

Competitive Positioning deals with the processes of developing and implementing marketing strategies for products and services and how these processes can be managed to gain and sustain superior performance in the market place. The subject contributes to the course by developing skills in regards to analytical thinking, critical thinking, and creative problem solving in the context of developing marketing strategies.

This subject contributes to the development of the following graduate attribute:

  • Intellectual rigour and innovative problem solving

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject is presented in seminar format. Essential principles are presented and analysed and students are led through practical application exercises.

Content (topics)

  • Competitive positioning and why it matters
  • Guiding principles of crafting competitive positioning
  • Framing of competitive positioning projects
  • Environmental scanning and industry driver mapping
  • Effective segmentation
  • Industry definition and competitive identification/analysis
  • Internal capability/deliverable analysis
  • Competitive position identification and choice


Assessment task 1: Case Analysis (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

2 and 4

This addresses program learning objectives(s):


Weight: 30%

15 Page Limit

Assessment task 2: Project (Group)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1 and 3

Weight: 30%

15 Page Limit

Assessment task 3: Class Tests (Individual)*


This addresses subject learning objective(s):


Weight: 40%

*Note: Late submission of the assessment task will not be marked and awarded a mark of zero.

Minimum requirements

Students must achieve at least 50% of the subject’s total marks.

Recommended texts

Kotler P and Keller K L, 2016, Marketing Mangement, 15e, Pearson Education Ltd, Harlow

Available from the UTS Coop Bookshop in the following formats: Text book, or eText.



Burke S, 2011, Competitive Positioning Strength, Journal of Strategic Marketing, 19 (5) 421-428

Elliott, Rundle-Thiele, Waller, Smith, Eades, and Bentrott, (2018) Marketing, 4th edition, John Wiley & Sons, Brisbane.

Hooley G J, 2017 Marketing Strategy and Competitive Positioning, Pearson, Harlow

Melanie J, 2014, Positioning Theory & Strategic Communication, Routledge, London

Prasad A, 2011, The impact of non-market forces on Competitive Positioning, Journal of Management Research, 11(3), 131-137