STEP 1: RECOGNIZING YOU HAVE A PROBLEM
You are special. You know your product is better than the next guy’s. Your customers tell you. Yet, here you are, still struggling daily to attract new customers at the rate you think you ought to – especially with a product this fantastic – faster, friendlier, more reliable – maybe even groundbreaking. It just doesn’t make sense. Why can’t they see how special you truly are?
You, friend, are in need of some serious differentiation.
Product differentiation is one of the great marketing struggles, right up there with lack of brand awareness. It’s easy to describe the theory of differentiation: To distinguish a product from another to make it more attractive to your target market.
However, it is not so easy to figure out how to differentiate for the majority of products out there, especially for small to mid-size service businesses and consultancies. Take an advertising agency, like Actio Marketing, for instance. If you are a potential client on the hunt for a new agency resource, you have thousands to choose from. Most of those have stellar creative, compelling results, a few noteworthy awards, and a solid client list. How do you pick one that’s right for you? One of three things are likely to move you to engage us:
- Relationship or Referral (Trust)
- Focus – our areas of specialization
In fact, most of our clients picked us on all three counts. But what about the ones that got away? Were they unaware of us, or did we just not stand out to them as any different from the next agency down the street? Well, in our case, we are a budding new agency, and our greatest challenge is awareness, not differentiation.
But many companies have a difficult time knowing the answer to that. Here are the tell-tale signs you need to differentiate:
- You’re Stuck. You have been around for several years (5 or more) and you retain existing customers well, but you are not growing your customers base, or at a very modest rate.
- You’re Losing. You get in front of customers, but you aren’t closing a large percentage of the sales.
- You’re Comparing. You see your competitors’ claims, and you know, apples to apples, you have the same or better [fill in the blank] but customers don’t seem to embrace that fact.
The good news is, you are special. Every company is. Every product is. While it can be challenging to have the perspective to discover your unique difference(s), differentiating doesn’t need to be a convoluted, time-consuming process. In many cases, it can happen almost immediately.