It pains me to have to tell clients the bad news. But I frequently have to deliver bad news.
They call me in, asking me why their digital marketing isn’t working and all-too-often one of the problems is lack of differentiation. It’s not even simply that their products are not differentiated, but often I find that they don’t even know what differentiation really is.
Clients tell me that their products are differentiated. They then go on to list all the ways that their products are different from their competitors’ products. And being different is part of being differentiated–but only part.
Face it. Every product is different from every other product if you ask the people who make it. They can always tell you how it is better.
I like to tease my children they are unique, just like everyone else. And your products are unique, just like everyone else’s. That doesn’t mean your products are differentiated.
Differentiation is much more than mere difference. Differentiation is a difference that your market will pay for.
Differentiation has always been important, but never more so than with the advent of digital marketing. Digital marketing puts every product the same distance from your market. They are all out there.
Too often, marketers want to appeal to everyone. They want reach. They want mass appeal. But that makes sense only after you have already hit it big. Then your marketing segmentation can be “anyone with a neck.” But before then, it is much better to dominate a small segment than to sell a little bit into every segment–especially when you market online.
Online, if you dominate a small segment, you suddenly know the topics of your content marketing. You know your search keywords. You know your messages. You know what to say to your audience because you know what they want to know.
Don’t settle for mere difference. Differentiation is what really leads to success.
About Mike Moran
Mike Moran has a unique blend of marketing and technology skills that he applies to raise return on investment for large marketing programs. Mike is a former IBM Distinguished Engineer and the Senior Strategist at Converseon, a leading social consultancy. Mike is the author of two books on digital marketing, an instructor at several leading universities, as well as a Senior Fellow at the Society of New Communications Research.