A family is out on a weekend afternoon and wants to stop in to get some lunch. There are many fast food options to choose from, but most are greasy and low in nutrients. Then, there is the “eat fresh” sign at the local Subway. Although the actual content of the food may not end up being more nutritious, Subway has differentiated themselves from other fast food options with their “fresh” food message. As of this 2014 study, Subway is the third most valuable fast food brand in the world, only second to Starbucks and McDonald’s.
Is your company unique in offering a one of a kind product or service? According to a recent survey, if you think so, you are not alone. However, only 8% of companies are actually achieving product differentiation in the eyes of the customer. There is a large disconnect, with 80% of companies believing they are making themselves stand out. So, how do you go from thinking your business is different, to actually standing out from the rest? Properly differentiating your business is the key to making that impact. How do you do that?
Keep It Simple
The most successful businesses, differentiate themselves in a simple way. The window of opportunity to catch a customer’s attention, and attract them to your product, is very small. The offer must be easy to understand and grasp instantaneously. Companies who are great examples of this are Google and Dominos.
- When search engines were first emerging and competing for users, Google showed up with a very simplistic design. When users opened the page you saw “Google” and a search box. This simplicity along made them different and customers liked it.
- Secondly, let’s look to the pizza market. Dominos offers “delivery in 30 minutes or the pizza is free”. Simple, to the point, and great for hungry pizza eaters.
By coming up with a strategy that will set yourself apart in a simple and helpful way, you can effectively differentiate your company.
Identify your clients and prospects
When you shoot an arrow, can you hit 3 targets at once? Maybe you can try shooting 3 arrows, but the likelihood hitting 3 targets is slim. When doing business, it works similarly, as you cannot please everyone with your product. Identify the optimal audience who is profitable and focus your efforts on tailoring unique features or services to them.
For example, wealthy clients may go for a unique feature of a product without their primary concern being cost, such as Coach purses. It is that uniqueness that counts for them, so when others are making the same product and lowering the prices,you can sell the same product with a unique feature and maintain your price. The opposite may be the case as well.
Make your products praiseworthy
As a business, you should always analyze your goods and how they compare with others in the market. There are two things to consider and control, the perception and the reality. You want to deliver on both to create sustainable growth. Customers are looking for whatever will excite them as they purchase their goods; therefore you need to create an attractive perception of your products. They also want to go home and be happy with their purchase a day, a week and a month later. For this, it is important that your product really is good, and you are investing in the right places to meet your target audience’s needs.
Let’s look at Google again. They attracted users with their simple page design that was minimalistic and to the point. In addition, they backed that with ever-improving algorithms to actually offer high quality search results.
When you start up a business, it’s very important to note that your clients will need support from you. A study found 89% of customers do business with another provider after one negative customer experience. For this reason, you need to have a proper customer care team in place. Ensure your customers are treated with utmost respect by your staff. All their questions and worries should be answered in an appropriate way and as soon as they emerge. Many businesses strive to deliver customer care, but again the customer’s perception is what matters in the end, and each positive interaction will differentiate your company.
The days of attracting customers with slogans like “The Best Pizza in the World” no longer hold much ground. In order to really stand out in this competitive market, your business needs real life reviews. People want to know the truth, based on facts. Therefore, using testimonials from real customers and statistics from studies of your business will hold more ground in customer’s eyes. For example, “When looking for the best search engine, look no further than Google providing results to 68% of online seekers”. Facts are powerful to customers.
Proper differentiation will make a difference in this crowded and competitive market. Keep these tips in mind to successfully do so, and join the 8% of businesses getting through to their target audience. From there, watch the profits grow.