Top 5 Most Common Competition Differentiators

top 5 competitor differentiatorsWhat makes you different from your competitor? Simple question that yields some pretty generic answers that seem to be repeated regardless of what industry you are in. It is more than identifying your niche as repeating what customers hear from a myriad of industries is a bit confusing and gets drowned out. Will they remember that you are telling them that you are the best and only choice because you do what thousands and thousands of other businesses say that they do? I do not think so. Why? There is not really a difference. Nothing stands out. If customers have a bad experience with your company or offering and publish their thoughts online then it is clear that your product/service or customer service is not good and business may decline. Although ever be at a restaurant that has the worst service but is at capacity with a line out the door every night? They obviously have clearly defined what sets them apart from the competition despite having bad service. Here we can see that the restaurant nearby can say that they have the best service but they are wasting their time as the line out the door at the other restaurant shows that it is not a factor.

When you are thinking about what you do better than anyone else, think of what will resonate with customers and what they will associate with you that the competition cannot claim as their own. A greater focus is being placed on features that are useful and valued by consumers that will make their lives easier, better and solves their problems. What features can you feature that will make customers notice and most of all trust you to buy and talk about you to their friends, family, network? If your one thing/differentiator is too common, you can be overlooked as you are not telling anyone anything about you/your company.

Top 5 Most Common Competition Differentiators

1. Exceptional Customer Service. This may be true given your industry and size of your company but Zappos has exceptional customer service so is yours better than theirs? Will people think of your business when they hear or read anywhere “exceptional customer service?”

2. Lowest Prices. Your competitor can lower their price by $.01 and suddenly they have the best prices.

3. Prompt Response (within 24 hours). Your competitor can respond within 1 hour.  All you are saying is that when a customer needs a quick response, you are not available.

4. Best Selection/Offering. If your competitor is offering the exact same products how are yours better? What happens if they start selling something that is the known to be better?

5.We Care About Our Customers. So every other business does not care about making money as customers equals money/increased revenue. All businesses care about their customers in some capacity. This makes you no different than any business.

In todays marketplace, business owners do not only have to say we are better than the competition and that is their message. It is more than proving it as you can prove that this is better, faster, stronger but it is what the consumer believes and needs/wants.  While they may believe they may not need. In the case of cell phones, a phone may have coverage in 5000 cities across the world but for the mom who has 2 dropped calls a day driving across town while shuffling the children to practice, she would rather have a phone that works in her city and not 5000 others. Learn what your customer is willing to believe but be sure that your differentiator aligns with their wants and needs. That is a stronger relationship that you can build to create brand loyalty as you are speaking to them instead of at them. What makes you different is memorable and the competition is eliminated in the mind of the consumer. You may have 20 offerings but stick to the one thing that will get you noticed as if there is too much to take in, you will be overlooked.

Have any more to add?

photo credit: Mara86

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  • Isha Edwards, Brand Mktg. Mgr.

    Thanks for bringing this point to light Suzanne.

    Offering a quality product or the best selection at a great price via prompt, genuine service is definitely not a competition differentiator. In fact, those offerings amount to a company’s “reasonable service” (the least that can be done for patrons). True differentiation happens in the space beyond standard and is best defined during the brand (story creation and imaging) process.

    Generic and broad is never as good as specific and narrow. The more narrow a company's story, the more likely product offerings will be distinctly different from the competition. It follows that being distinctly different increases brand value, which is a good return on investment.

  • Isha

    You are right – it is reasonable service that is expected or even demanded and not something that a company should point out as a differentiator. When we think of companies that have made themselves stand out I go to Starbucks who ignored small medium and large and created a new way for people to order their coffee sizes. That is a differentiator which of course that is a big brand and a small company may or may not be able to make such a splash of change but that is an example of what a differentiator is.

    I so agree with the narrow company story as that is where you break down what you have to offer that is so different from others as if not what value do you offer to your customers if you cannot narrowly define why they should buy from you.

    Suzanne

  • Marco Monfils

    Excellent article, thanks.

    Lowest price does not a brand make, in fact anything price/position related smacks of commodity marketing in my view. So yes, we are aligned.

    Maybe the term commodity marketing is a bit generous on my part …. and commodity sales would be a more fitting term.

    Lowest price = commodity business…

    • I agree, ‘Lowest price does not a brand make, in fact anything price/position related smacks of commodity marketing in my view. So yes, we are aligned.’

  • Marco Monfils

    Excellent article, thanks.

    Lowest price does not a brand make, in fact anything price/position related smacks of commodity marketing in my view. So yes, we are aligned.

    Maybe the term commodity marketing is a bit generous on my part …. and commodity sales would be a more fitting term.

    Lowest price = commodity business…

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