Building a viable marketing strategy has two critical components: identifying your ideal target market and creating a unique core difference. Many business owners think that the key is simply to be better than your competition. But, being better than the competition is an expectation.
And while it’s important to strive to be the best in your field because it will make for happy customers, it’s not compelling enough to create the same buzz that being different generates.
Customer Service is NOT a Differentiator
Talking about providing quality customer service is important, but that too is really an expectation of every business. And it’s certainly not a point of differentiation that you can use as a central marketing message. If you don’t make it obvious and communicate relentlessly about what makes you different, people don’t know what else they should be asking about and they’ll simply evaluate you based on price.
I think businesses are finally starting to grasp that customer service is not a point of differentiation. No one will stand up and say they provide terrible customer service. And the same holds true for your level of knowledge in your industry, your integrity, and the fact that you deliver on-time. I’ve recently completed some business audits for several local businesses, and, in a number of cases, when I asked about how they were different than the competition, I had business owners tell me that their knowledge was what made them different. Those individuals went on to tell me that they work hard for their clients and that they’ve earned their trust. I’m not disputing that these points might be true. I am, however, saying that not one of your competitors is ever going to say they need to hone up on their facts or that they’re not always truthful, or they deliver late. No one in your industry is going to communicate those kinds of things, so they’re not useful as points of differentiation.
Build a Client Experience
Your unique difference is really about creating an experience that people will talk about. People don’t talk about the basic things that they expect out of an organization they do business with – they talk about the extraordinary things that you do. Help yourself out of the rut of commodity with every other company that is saying the same thing and build a client experience that your customers will tell others about. Think about how every point of contact from your company builds an experience and start to think about unique ways to make yourself memorable with each touch point. Help yourself out of the rut of commodity with every other company that is saying the same thing and build a client experience that your customers will tell other about.
Stay tuned for some upcoming posts that will provide some tips on building a true client experience.