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Marketing Viewpoint by Ruth Winett

How To Stand Out in a Crowded Marketplace

Being different in a meaningful way.

Your bank offers great products and service, but the bank across the street does, too. When other companies offer products or services that are like yours, your company must find a way to differentiate itself. However, the way in which you differentiate must mean something to your customers, and it must not cut into your long-term profits.

Who Are You? Who Are Your Customers?

“A value proposition specifies what makes the company’s product or service attractive, why a customer should purchase it, and how the value of the product or service is differentiated from similar offerings.” Farmers Insurance’s slogan is “We know a thing or two because we have seen a thing or two and covered it.” A Farmers Insurance’s ad portrays one such disaster--a moose pushing a swing set through a car window.

Then, consider your target market and your competition. Who will buy your product or service, and what segment within your target market most needs your offering? What are your competition’s strengths compared with your strengths?

What Makes Your Company Attractive? Do You Stand Out?

Companies compete in various ways, depending on their industries, values, and strengths, for example:

Product: Higher quality offerings; more advanced technology; a bigger selection; or special features/functions.

Service: Competitively priced service or free service; friendly, qualified technicians who solve customers’ problems; and comprehensive online help.

Price: Competitive prices; affordable financing; reasonable shipping/return rates. Extremely low prices ultimately affect a company’s profitability.

Advantageous relationships: Solid customer relationships that encourage repeat business and/or referrals, strong industry relationships. A reliable supply chain that prevents stockouts.

Marketing: Marketing messages that address customers’ real needs and that bolster the company’s reputation. Consistent marketing messages across all channels.

The Bottom Line

Regardless of how your company differentiates itself, you must have a realistic long-term strategy. For example, competing with low prices is not usually profitable in the long-term. Also, your strategy and marketing approach must be appropriate for the offering and for your target market. Panache or flair may sell collectors’ watches, but not industrial parts. Launching an expensive ad campaign may differentiate you, but it will not compensate for offering a poor product or providing poor service. Finally, how you introduce an innovative product, such as the first smart phones, is different from how you differentiate a mature product from competitive products.

Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year!


Actionable Business Insights

Copyright ©12/23 Ruth Winett. All rights reserved.

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