Not Better, Just Different: Using Marketing to Stress Your Uniqueness

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Sometimes in business, you simply can’t be “better” than your competition...but you’re already different.

In order to appeal to a client that may prefer what makes you different over what makes your competition “better”, let’s examine the appeal of stressing your differences in your marketing content.

I know I’ve spoken about being a sewing machine repair guy in the past two posts, but the following scenario definitely ties into today’s subject. From time to time, people would come to hang out at my service desk to pick my brains while I fixed sewing machines. One day, while his wife was taking a sewing class, a gentleman came over to chat.

“Say, Ken — you’re a mechanic. You have no skin in the sales game. Can you tell me what is the best sewing machine I can buy?”

“Well, what kind of sewing are you planning on doing?”

“No, no, no — forget all that. What is the best sewing machine on the market? Which one can do it all? Is it that Bernina you’re working on right there?”

“It depends. Berninas are terrific garment machines, but if I was looking to piece a quilt, I’d go with a Pfaff.”

“But what is simply the best machine?”

“I won’t be able to answer that until you tell me what kind of sewing you plan on doing. You see, they’re all pretty good, but for certain functions, some are exceptional.”

And it’s true — certain companies would market their machines as the best quilt-making making machines. Some would claim to be the most affordable. Others would claim to be the best at sewing garments, some stressed embroidery capabilities and some would stress the toughness of their newest line of commercial machines.

I don’t recall anyone claiming to have the best all-around sewing machine for the best price. Why? Because that kind of marketing usually isn’t successful. No one wants a vehicle that can climb a rock face and be the fastest in a quarter-mile. Most consumers focus on what makes your product or service different.

“Better” is Subjective

If claiming to be “better” was a successful marketing strategy, marketing strategists would be out of the job. Everyone would simply claim to be better or perhaps even just the best.

When you do hear an advertisement uses the term “best”, it is usually always followed up with what specific area a product or service shines the most. Best price. Best quality. Best customer service. You can offer a better price, a better warranty, or a better customer experience, but offering each of those is still choosing to show how you’re different. Being “better” or even “the best” is purely subjective.

Lean Into Your Differences

If you’re in a field with lots of competition, trying to develop an effective marketing strategy can be tricky. Perhaps a larger company can provide a lower price. Perhaps a smaller company is more nimble and can provide a more customized experience. Finding what to hype about your business is key. Here is a good exercise for finding the direction of your marketing:

  • Create two lists.
  • On one side, list your main competition and their main value propositions — where they shine.
  • List your own business and all of your value propositions. Instead of just sticking with your main strengths, rack your brain for every value proposition you have.
  • Cross out every matching value proposition.

In the end, you will be left with your competition’s unique value propositions as well as your own. Don’t be troubled by your competition’s value propositions because you likely have many that they do not. In these, you have found what makes you different — value propositions you should consider stressing in your marketing. Lean into what makes you you

In Summary

Different people have different interests, preferences, and needs. What one person values another may not. Identifying, developing, and leveraging your unique value proposition or specialization in your marketing can help your business stand out from even the most established competition.

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