July 12, 2008

Market Positioning - Be Unique

In a previous post, I mentioned that It's Hard to Market Crap. To succeed, do you just do the opposite? Do you market something really good instead?  It's a start, but the reality isn't so simple.

Marketing an extremely good product or service is just the starting point of marketing. That alone doesn't get the job done. For example, Silicon Valley is littered with the carcasses of companies that created great products.

The marketing challenge is more complicated. Your company, products and services have to stand out by not only being good, but by being extremely unique too. The concept of unique market positioning was popularized by Jack Trout and Al Ries in their classic marketing book Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

Offering something unique works for a number of reasons, all good:

1) When your company is unique, it's much easier for existing customers to remember to buy from your company, so uniqueness improves repeat purchases.

2) When your company offers something unique, you make it much easier for your customers to tell their friends about it, so uniqueness improves referral attempts.

3) When you offer something unique, you make it much more likely that the people who hear about your company from your happy customers will remember what their friends told them, so uniqueness improves successful referrals.

4) When you make a unique offer to your marketplace, you make it easy for prospective buyers to consider you. If you're just one of a dozen companies that all look the same, it's a dime a dozen. There's no need to seek your company out. 

But if you offer something very different, a buyer feels like there's something they need to look into further. They have to turn off what I call "Automated Rejection Mode."  Uniqueness forces the buyer to turn off autopilot and take a real look at what you have to offer.

5) When you offer something unique and easy to understand, you encourage nonindustry referrals, such as from your stock broker, barber, neighbors, college classmates, and the countless people you've met in your life who aren't really in your industry, but are likely to know buyers who are.

A unique, and extremely simple, message about what you do makes it easier for these outsiders to refer to your company. Try doing that with some "me too" messages that are overly complicated by gobbledygook. It doesn't work. Try describing what your company does to your mother-in-law, who tells her neighbor, who tells a friend that's a potential prospect for your company, and see if that prospect calls you.  If so,  you likely have a clear, and unique message. Otherwise you don't.

Stay tuned for my next post where I'll explain how you create something unique to offer your marketplace when you're just one of many very similar competitors.





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Filed under Positioning by Victor Cheng

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