Friday, August 26, 2011

I Hope You Are Different

And not just because of price.

Pat Mcgraw:

Differentiation: Things to think about when brushing your teeth

Posted: 12 Aug 2011 06:30 AM PDT

product differentiation

You ever pay attention to the toothpaste aisle at your local grocery or drug store? You have toothpaste that whitens teeth. Toothpaste that is for sensitive teeth and gums. Toothpaste that’s organic and ‘green’. Toothpaste for kids. Toothpaste for…well, you get the point.

Ever wonder why? Because it’s important to differentiate your product so that the customer can buy what’s best for their own unique needs.

So, what makes your company different? How are your products and services uniquely valuable to the customer?

And how do you clearly, consistently, concisely deliver that information to potential and current customers so that they could tell me, right now, why they should buy from you?

If your answer includes price – you’re screwed. There are too many idiots out there in the world that will race you to bankruptcy by slashing the prices with the belief that if it takes $10 to make and they sell it for $1, then can make up the loss on volume.

There is the plumber that offers 24/7 service with a guaranteed response time for ‘Premiere’ customers. Becoming a ‘Premiere’ customer, you have to spend a certain amount of money or you can pay a special fee.

And there is the clothing store that serves women executives and provides them with a personal shopper that makes recommendations on new apparel and brings the clothing to the client’s office instead of making the client come into the store. (They will also open after hours, by appointment, in order to accommodate the client.)

For me, I guarantee satisfaction. And

How do you decide how to differentiate your business, products and services?

First, talk to your customers, if you have any. If you don’t, talk to potential customers. Ask them about their needs, their wants, their current solution providers… because at the end of the conversation, you need to have a pretty good idea of what is in demand and, ideally, unmet.

Second, the look at the competition and see who offers what and how it is offered. You do this because, sometimes, customers are not aware of what’s out there in the market and differentiating your business is so important, you don’t want to miss anything.

Third, know your strengths and weaknesses – and build off your strengths. Remember, if your audience wants 24/7 service, you have to be able to deliver. If you can’t, find another way to differentiate your business/products or find another audience or acquire the resources necessary to turn that weakness into a strength.

Finally, make sure your clearly, concisely, continuously communicate your point of differentiation to the market – you want to own that space. Yes, that may mean that some business will go elsewhere but you made this decision based on the market demand so don’t focus on the few, focus on the many.

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