None of us wishes to be thought of as an imitator or second-best. We want our business to be in the forefront of our target market’s mind — our products or services gaining an unfair share™ of the market.
Yet one of the biggest issues in today’s marketplace is oversaturation of products and services.
Think like a consumer for a moment. When you are offered with an option between two different brands, can you always figure out what makes them different — truly different? Why will one perform better than the other? Why is one more expensive than the other? Why should you invest in one over the other?
You do not want to work too hard to figure out these answers, and you especially do not want to make your buyer work too hard to figure this out for your business’ products or services, either. Your solution differentiators should be spelled out in a clear, compelling way that makes it an easy choice for your buyer.
While many may think their product or service is clearly differentiated, their key selling proposition may not be as obvious to those on the outside. And what some brands say differentiate their solutions may not make them as different as they think.
When you are thinking about what differentiates your business’ products and services, consider these four attributes that can set your brand up to be different — and to stand out — in the mind of your buyer:
Differentiator 1: Uniqueness
There is no surer way to differentiate your product or service than if it is truly unique from others in your industry. Maybe you’ve approached solving a problem in an entirely new way or are a pioneer in a new industry. Own that!
But do not fret if your solution is not completely unique. Dig for that one thing about it that is different. Perhaps your business model increases your unique factor. Or your packaging or distribution. Dig deep and find that one thing that makes your product truly unique from your competition.
Take the Dollar Shave Club. There are dozens of razors in the marketplace for men to consider. There are ergonomically crafted options, electric options, high-tech options and on and on. The Dollar Shave Club offers a choice from three blade types, which are then shipped on a monthly basis at a low cost from $3 to $9 a month. And while there is not anything spectacular about the actual razors, the company has simplified male grooming again — and it is committed to such simplification for the target audience that it even delivers the razors to its customers right to their doors on a recurring basis. Even with unremarkable products, there is no doubt the Dollar Shave Club stands out from its competition in its unique business model strategy and memorable marketing.
Differentiator 2: Value
What value does your solution offer to your buyer? Remember to focus on your target buyer, because your solution will not be and should not be right for everyone. Why is your solution perfect for this buyer? What pains does it solve? How does it serve them?
Consider if the value you provide is more than the price you are charging. If it is and if that value is obvious to your target, then your buyer will more readily opt for your solution over a competitor’s.
Whole Foods is a top-tier national grocery store that offers wholesome foods often with a big price tag. Why do its customers spend so much more for this wholesome food? Why does this grocer stand above its competition? Because of its perceived value. Its customers want to eat healthier, support greener practices and buy into that localized feel (although this chain has stores all over). Whole Foods has done well to embrace how it makes grocery shopping different from traditional options, and it has done even better by showing its value through every facet of its marketing and store experience.
Differentiator 3: Proof
Once you have pinpointed your business’ value proposition and unique selling proposition, you need to provide your buyer with the proof. You can do this in a number of ways. Maybe you have client value stories you can share with your buyer — or testimonials that tout your value and uniqueness. Or maybe you can let your buyer demo your product or service to see the proof for themselves. Regardless, without proving to your buyer that your product or service would truly be better for their needs, you’ll fail to convert leads to sales.
Verizon Wireless says it has better coverage than the other top cell phone brands. The phone company uses statistics and data maps to back up their claims that their coverage spans far and wide across the United States, filling the map with red, while its counterparts fail to paint their maps near as well. While that proof is good, in order for it to truly achieve the trust of its target audience, it must deliver with a product that performs as well as it says it does. With Verizon’s widespread use, many are saying, “I can hear you now.”
Differentiator 4: Memorableness
Quickly — name a soft drink. Now name a fast food restaurant. Now a luxury car brand. These brands you just thought of have done something right — they have become memorable to you. Because there are dozens of soft drink choices and numerous fast food restaurants and a handful of luxury cars. But you thought of those three brands first, before the rest. How can you ensure your target market recalls your solution before the rest?
It starts with relevant and consistent messaging and branding that speaks to your buyer, and that your buyer wants to stand behind. Try to employ storytelling elements or let them know that you understand their pains. And depending on your solution, make sure your message and values serve your target audience at every stage of the buying journey — from your website to any printed materials to actually interfacing with your employees and solution. I will reiterate again, too, consistency is important here, so your buyers come to know you and trust you.
We all know what it is like to miss a car in our blind spot or to fear the worst when the wind is blowing and the tree above your house is swaying. AllState Mayhem connects with its audience by playing up these common pains. And albeit, the marketing is over the top and humorous, through its stories and connections — and the humor helps, too — it remains in the minds of its target long after they have seen the communication. AllState is different because it protects us from Mayhem like him, and it is Mayhem like him that helps us remember that.
While we covered four consumer-oriented (B2C) examples of service differentiation, the same concepts apply for sales to corporate accounts (B2B). The buyers in both scenarios exhibit similar behaviors and share the same pain points, wants and needs.
Have you discovered the four differentiating attributes of your solution? Contact us if you want to talk more about how you can gain your unfair share™.