As we continue our series on developing your marketing message, we turn our attention to what makes you unique. Your business’s values and principles are essential to your marketing communication. In this article, you will identify strategies to distinguish you and your offerings from your competitors and communicate these benefits to an overcrowded marketplace.
In a crowded marketplace, you are not merely marketing products and services but promoting your uniqueness. Therefore, instead of directly competing with other enterprises, it is preferable to find ways to differentiate yourself and cater to customers’ problems in novel ways. This applies to all businesses and is vital when you sell the same products as your competitors.
Before composing your marketing messages, you must define a unique value proposition that sets you apart from the competition.
You have a unique set of personal and professional values that can potentially set you apart and differentiate your business. This defines your character and personality, which also plays a crucial role in shaping how your target customers perceive you.
Your communication style reflects your warmth, friendliness, and openness if that’s your personality. However, if you’re targeting other businesses or are part of a professional field, you may need to adopt a more formal tone. By doing so, you can tailor your language to the needs of your ideal customers.
Your beliefs and values can significantly affect how you approach business and what you offer in your value proposition.
As an example, if you are passionate about the environment, you may have chosen to only sell products that can be recycled. Similarly, if your beliefs align with veganism, you are unlikely to promote meat products to potential customers.
It’s crucial to clearly understand how you want to be perceived, as this plays a significant role in shaping your brand or product and creating a great value proposition.
Although you may have realized this previously, it’s important to review your values, just as you would with customer profiles.
These values impact the products or services you offer and the language you will use in marketing to your target audience.
They should be front and center of your mind while composing your marketing message.
Taking the time to reiterate your values is beneficial:
Your values should be apparent in your marketing and align with your ideal customer’s values.
Now that we know who you are, you should focus on what you’re selling instead of your rivals.
Simultaneously working on marketing messages for multiple products or services may get confusing. It’s sensible to revise one, see how that works in the marketplace, and then tackle the next.
Think about your marketing goals for the next three months and determine which product or service will help you reach those goals.
For example, if you want to start a new service, it makes sense to focus on that.
But if you have a product that used to sell well but hasn’t in a while, and you want to boost it, you might relaunch it with a new marketing message.
Once you have made your decision, evaluate how your business values and personality align with your choice.
Although your intention is not to compete head-to-head, it is imperative to be aware of your competitors and their strategies.
Research your closest competitors, including their target audience, pricing, and marketing tactics. Even if you have examined them previously, it is crucial to gather up-to-date details.
Take note of their key messages, terminology, and concepts to differentiate yourself and avoid sounding generic.
Compare their offers to yours and identify how your clients will benefit by choosing to buy from you.
“Ideally, a product differentiation strategy should demonstrate that the product can do everything the competing choices can but with an additional benefit that is exclusive to that product.” (https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/product_differentiation.asp)
To uncover what sets you apart, you must identify what you do that no one else does to address the specific needs of your target customer uniquely and effectively.
The Investopedia article referred to above suggests there are three main types of product differentiation being:
When asked what differentiates firms from competitors, a standard answer is “our service”. So, if that’s what everyone says, how can you demonstrate how your service is superior? One option is to offer a guarantee. You can also use testimonials from existing customers.
Another potential option is to ‘package’ your product or service to make it unique and move you to ‘problem solver’ rather than just a vendor. Let’s use an old analogy: someone buying a drill actually wants the hole. So the hardware store could package in an instruction sheet on the proper process to drill a hole.
Now this is simplistic, and in today’s world, people can just google “how to drill a hole”, but you get the idea. Brainstorm how you might include a unique feature that sets you apart from similar products on the market.
Adding features or extras that your target market perceives as value without spending much money can give you an edge. For example, consider adding small personal touches to your products that won’t cost you much but will make them more appealing to buyers.
Your unique selling proposition (UVP) or unique value proposition (UVP) is a statement about how your business differs from your competitors, how you can better meet your customers’ needs and why they should buy from you instead of anyone else.
Wikipedia describes it like this: “A unique selling proposition (USP) refers to the unique benefit exhibited by a company, service, product or brand that enables it to stand out from competitors. The unique selling proposition must be a feature that highlights product benefits that are meaningful to consumers. USP focuses on explicit claims of uniqueness involving an objectively verifiable product attribute or benefit-in-use.”
Before crafting marketing messages, defining and confirming your USP is essential. Here is a template that can help you create a USP:
Our company (name) provides (product/service) to (target audience) who are struggling with (pain point) by offering (benefits/differentiators).
‘Delightful Deli‘ serves fresh, organic sandwiches and salads to busy professionals who crave wholesome meals without the time to prepare them. Our ingredients are locally sourced and sustainably grown, making every bite delicious and guilt-free.
Other articles in this series:
How to Create a Compelling Marketing Message
Match Your Marketing Message to Your Target Market
Crafting an Effective Marketing Message for Your Small Business
10 Reasons Your Marketing Message Is Not Working and How to Fix It
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