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Differentiation Strategy: The Art of Being Meaningfully Different

How to stand out in the marketplace, the art of the differentiation strategy and being different from others in a meaningful way, has been this month’s topic among clients and friends.  Many of our clients are in building, construction or a related field, an industry that’s changed over the past several years.  If your marketplace has changed, such that there are new competitors, different customers and different strengths for your own company, it’s time to take a fresh look at how you differentiate your company to stand out in a meaningful way for customers.

Where do you start?  Take on the challenge in four steps:

  1. Look at Your Strengths.  Ask your customers, as your colleagues, get outside help for perspective if you need to, but really get to know your strengths as a company?  What are you known for?  What’s the thing that you do better than most anyone else?  Write it down when you get the feedback.
  2. Look at Competitors’ Weaknesses.  Everyone has them (along with strengths).  Who are your biggest competitors?  What do they do best, and more importantly, what do they not do as well.  Establish a good understanding of the main competition you face, and what weaknesses they have.
  3. Look at What Customers Value.  What do your target customers value most?  Ask them, or survey them, to gain a deep understanding.
  4. Find Where These Steps Merge.  Look for what target customers value most, where it aligns with your strengths, and where those strengths beat the competition.

If you can establish that you provide what your customers value most, and the competition does not offer, you have the basis of a strong differentiation strategy.   Being different in a meaningful way is the key.

Are you refreshing your marketing plan? What discoveries have you made?

Leave me a comment – Maureen

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