As Seth Godin says “In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failing. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” Wise words from a wise man, and that’s why on today’s episode we’re talking all about how to make your business stand out from the crowd so you don’t get lost in a noisy and crowded marketplace.
The Game Has Changed
The game has indeed changed. And being remarkable is the new reliable. Where customers used to want consistency and standard features they now favour interesting and unique.
Where once a “one size fits all” mentality prevailed it is quickly being replaced by a customized approach tailored to each individual buyers wants and needs. To succeed and thrive in today’s hyper competitive world of marketing the name of the game is now to stand out, or risk disappearing into the abyss.
To do this there is one key marketing term that every business owner, entrepreneur, and marketer must know in order to get the best results possible out of their marketing and their business; differentiation.
At the time of recording this there are 28 million small businesses in the United States alone.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that’s a whole lot of businesses. So with 28 million small businesses in the US alone, do you think “fitting in” is going to be a viable, profitable, and long-lasting strategy?
Didn’t think so.
Deficient Differentiation (Being The Same)
When it comes to standing out amongst your competitors the scary thing is that more often than not, on closer examination many businesses unique selling propositions or key points of being different aren’t unique at all, but pretty much or even exactly the same as everyone else’s. The wording may be spun slightly differently or they might use a different synonym or two, but the end result is the same. A standard, boring, bland, USP that does little to encourage customer action, and even less to differentiate the business from their competitors.
Deficient differentiation can be born of fear, resistance to change, or uncertainty in a businesses true value to its customers, but the end result is always the same; a business that looks the same, sounds the same, and does the same as everybody else. When your business is a commodity you get commodity treatment and can only charge commodity prices. When you’re business is one of a kind, you get to set your own rules - which I’m sure you’ll agree is a lot more fun.
Defective Differentiation (Being Different In A Pointless Way)
Another trap businesses fall into on their path to carving out their own unique place in the market is defective differentiation. Defective differentiation is being different, but in a way that doesn’t actually matter to your customers. The key here is in identifying what factors, traits, or benefits your target market actually wants, and then shifting your attention that way. Dominos did it with their “30 minutes or less” guarantee, a USP that actually mattered to their customers and instantly positioned them as the leaders in fast pizza. This worked because speed was something that really mattered to their customers, and they managed to carve out their place in the market around that. FedEx chose a similar speed focused USP with “When it absolutely, positively, has to get there overnight”.
But what if you’re in a market that doesn’t value speed as highly as other qualities? For example, luxury goods are rarely sold with 24 hour flash sales or other speed related promotions. Not because speed doesn’t matter to their customers, but because it isn’t prized as highly as other things on the list, like quality, perception, and in some cases, value.
Being different is great, just make sure you’re being different in a way that actually matters to your customers.
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