If you’re wondering why being able to differentiate is important then;
Be a customer for just one moment…..
There is endless choice, more than any other time in history and most solutions look identical to the outsider.
Now return to being a supplier……
Short of going on a price slashing exercise and destroying your margins to the point of collapse, differentiation is the only way to gain market share.
Everything will become a commodity eventually so you must differentiate to avoid being commoditised and price led.
You Need To Differentiate In Order To Become The Right Choice For Your Customer
Faced with choosing between a number of different options the only way a customer can make a decision is to understand why its different from the rest and more importantly what it does for them specifically that other choices cannot.
There are lots of reasons that customers will buy and even the simplest of products can be differentiated, just look at how organic food or fair trade has reinvented food choice again and how a new shaving revolution seems to be launched every year by the market leader.
Why Is Differentiation Difficult When Its Not
Customers make decisions in different ways, like in sales, auditory, visual and kinaesthetic and other styles.
There are misconceptions that you cannot differentiate certain things or that its already protected by some kind of patent so doesn’t need differentiating
- That quality or customer focus is differentiation when its not, its just expected.
- That creativity creates differentiation when for the most part it just creates confusion.
- That price is a differentiating factor when only mass economies of scale allow you to win on this bases which only few posses.
- That breadth of lines can differentiate but it just creates more complexity and required massive infrastructure and support to make it work.
So How Do You Differentiate In A Way That Works
Differentiation, like marketing and selling requires both science and art.
First you need to understand your market and where you and your competitors fit into the space from your customers perception and current market trends.
Determine true differentiating factors which are usually anything but product features; like being first, being a leader, being synonymous with a specific characteristic, having heritage, developing a speciality, being the preferred choice, manufacturing or servicing in a specific way, being last or just being hot or new.
Build a case for your difference by providing evidence that supports your case. You can’t just say a thing and expect it to be accepted as customer are not only swamped with choice but they are also very sceptical about what they see and hear, so you need to prove it.
Get it into the public domain and fast. Its no secret, and the longer you keep it under lock and key the less chance it has of actually working for you. Your communication must reflect your difference whether its on your website, in your brochures, on business cards or in videos it most support the very essence of your differentiation and build continuity.
So will you dare to be different and differentiate, and if so I dare you to tell us how your difference ?