How to Differentiate Your Product in a Competitive Market

I’m an event marketer. Before launching a new conference, we vet the product idea. We examine what competitors exist in the industry, areas we can differentiate ourselves and how to make our product better than the rest.  After thorough research and analysis, the decision is made if it’s a go or no-go.

I urge you to do the same.

There’s no need to go through the agony of getting buried by the competition. What I’m not saying is give up. What I am saying is do your research and find a way to differentiate your product or service strategically.

Know your audience. Learn their mindset, where their focus is and what type of product attributes would be most significant to their purchasing decision. While some are focused on the big picture and the next gen of the product, others are paying attention to the facts, details, statistical analysis or thought leadership behind the product.

Clearly define your USP. Does your product provide a ‘unique’ benefit to the customer? Each promotion must make a proposition to the consumer. This proposition must be so strong, it can move the masses. *Note: Some of the weaker USPs are price (almost anyone can lower their prices, but it’s not going to be long-term successful), quality and creativity both can be manipulated and considered ‘puffery’ by the industry. It’s easy for companies to promote a better quality or use creative advertising, but if there’s no substance behind those words, they can fall flat quickly.

Specialize in your market. Become a leader.  Showing you are an expert in your field, is the strongest way to build credibility and make your product appear to be better than all the rest. If you’re constantly putting out blog posts around the topic of your product, sharing on social media, have a large following – your customers and potential customers will see this as leadership. You’ve built a sense of trust and confidence, that if you know this much about a certain topic, you’ll know what’s best for them.

Own your attribute.  Every aspect of your communications should reflect your difference – your advertising, brochures, web site, sales pitch, etc.  You can never over-promote your unique attribute. Trust me.

Be the preferred provider. Promote “87% of the marketing prefers my product over the competition” only if you have the data to back it up.  Or try selling with industry stats, e.g. “65% of attendees prefer a conference held at a resort vs. a convention center”- so our events are exclusively at resort locations. Also, social proof is your strongest marketing tool. If you have customer testimonials, share them! And share them everywhere, on your web site, social media, email marketing, etc.

But be careful…

Launching a product or service can be exhausting. It’s easy to forget your original plan. Often companies will use all their resources to get a product off the ground, but lose sight of their ‘uniqueness’.

Two byproducts of growth can be ‘distraction’ and ‘overextending the product lines’. Reference Jerry Maguire’s famous ‘mission statement’ manifesto. Less clients, more attention to the ones you have (amongst many other themes).

Take that idea and apply it here. While it’s nice to see growth, without focused attention on your differentiator, you’re more than likely to fizzle out in the long run. The competition will catch up and make your product better. All while you were busy moving in other directions.

Growth isn’t bad, if managed correctly. Just pay attention, monitor your progress and be willing to realign your strategy when necessary.

In Conclusion

Put thought and strategy into your Unique Selling Points. These are the key to selling your product. And if you don’t do it, someone else will come along, take your idea and make it even better. Know your audience, find your unique selling point and push that idea throughout your entire marketing campaign. Make it your company motto. Just do it.

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