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Differentiate or Die!

Apr 3, 2008
You Need to Find Your Unique Selling Position (USP) in order to Reach Your Greatest Success. I'm sure you don't mean it, but you may be confusing customers with your advertising. Your customers have so many choices in almost every product classification. When they're shopping for a service or product its normal for them to have even thousands of alternatives.

Think I'm crazy? Just search the Internet for everyday products and look at the number of search results. It's possible to have alternatives in the millions.

Isn't that how it should be? You're bound to like it if you're the consumer. But those of us who make a living marketing products and services will find it a challenge. What is a marketer to do in order to survive?

Your Advertising Must Set You Apart from Your Competitors. Your advertising must tell your prospect that you're different from the competition. In a meeting with a client the other day, we turned to the yellow pages for their product category and there was a vivid example of how NOT to do advertising.

There were pages upon pages of ads. They all had one thing in common. They were so much the same that you could have substituted one company name for another without changing the ad in the slightest.

My client found this depressing, but I was thrilled! Why? She had a great opportunity to differentiate her business. Whoever differentiates will win the business battle!

Without Clear Differences--Price is the Deciding Factor. What do you think happens when consumers are barraged with choices and do not perceive any difference between one supplier and another? They evaluate and make their purchase decision based on the one thing they can measure--price! When there is no other point of differentiation, price becomes the deciding factor. That's not good for you and it's not even the best for your customer--especially if you're in a business where your value is best realized when you have an on-going relationship with your customer. Customers who come to you for the best price will leave you just as quickly as they find a better price. It's like being the fastest gun in the West. No matter how fast you are, there's always someone faster. Don't play that game. It's better to differentiate.

You can command higher prices through differentiation. Companies who effectively differentiate themselves from their competitors can demand higher prices for their products or services. The lowest price is not always the winner. Think about this for a minute. You don't always buy the lowest price. Even if you're the world's biggest cheapskate you can differentiate between bruised and fresh vegetables and you'll pay the higher price for the fresh produce. Right?

Aren't your customers just the same? Yes. Obviously, you must be charging a reasonable price, but if you have established an important difference in your business, customers will pay extra to receive that benefit.

If you want more sales, better customers and higher profits, just find the important attribute which makes you different from you competitors. Then make certain you're telling your potential customers about it.
About the Author
The author, Craig Mecham, is the owner of The Mecham Company The Mecham Company, a marketing consulting firm. With 25 years experience in Business to Business Marketing and communications, Mr. Mecham advises under performing businesses.
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