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Does the Internet allow more differentiation?

If you are a marketer, you can’t ignore differentiation. Differentiation is not just about a difference from the competition–it’s a difference that your customers care about. Without some kind of differentiation, marketers don’t have much to talk about. And talk they do, every kind of advertising is based on some kind of marketing message–most about differentiation. But how does the Internet change the way marketers discuss differentiation? Does the Internet allow more differentiation? Read on.

The biggest difference between digital marketing and other kinds of marketing is that with digital, you have unlimited space. You can always write one more paragraph on a page. You can add one more click to the story. You never run out of time or space, as long as you can hold someone’s attention.

The Internet gives you a way to tell your story in more depth.

For many products, this is a gift from God. Complex products that could never be explained in marketing materials can now be fully described. That means that no matter what aspect of a product that a customer might be interested in, the story can be there. Just about any differentiator can be explained.

And it’s not just complex products. Even simple products might possess differentiators that only a few care about: Scotts Tissue disintegrates in septic tanks. It will never make the commercial, but it is an important feature to some people. Online, you have the room to tell them.

And if this technique seems a bit lengthy and wordy to you, it doesn’t have to be. Whether it is behavioral targeting, Web site personalization, or other methods, all that differentiator verbosity can be distilled into the one that matters. Technology doesn’t quite fulfill that promise today, but wait. It will be here soon.

So, don’t be afraid to tell your story. To segment to the smallest segments that are profitable. Because each segment has a differentiator they are waiting to see. All you have to do is show it to them.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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