Ask any marketing consultant about the concept of standing apart, and they will offer you a million different ways to do it. But the concept of being unique, especially in a very competitive business world, becomes even harder. To differentiate yourself, you’ve got to focus on a number of key factors. What does it really take?
Understand Who Your Real Competitors Are
Companies like Ignitedigital.com specialize in competitive analysis and can give you the starting blocks to understand what is actually out there. It sounds obvious, but if you want to be different from the crowd, you’ve got to know what the crowd looks like. But the big problem with this is you think that you’ve got to cast the net wide. The reality is that if you want to differentiate yourself, you’ve got to adapt to changes, and this means adopting emerging technologies and introducing new processes. When you reinvent yourself, you are naturally differentiating who you are.
Never Underestimate Customer Service
You must treat your customers like they are the most important thing, even if you are not in the business of serving people. Every customer or client has an expectation of the service you will bring, and if you give them poor service, you will go down in their estimations. If you do not provide good customer service, you are more than likely to be deemed incompetent. Just be nice to customers, and it will go a long way.
It’s such a little thing, but you would be surprised as to how many businesses operate with a cloak and dagger approach. Honesty is not just the best policy, it is the policy that should underpin everything. An article on Entrepreneur.com shows the importance of honesty so well, but it is so crucial to be honest, whether you cannot deliver your products by a certain date, or you missed on a bid. If you lie, it will come back to bite you in the end. One of the most common ways businesses are being dishonest is not sharing bad news. It’s important that you share bad news because your customers will respect you. When you admit mistakes, but also work to fix them, you are going to build better relationships in the long run. Customers prefer businesses that will own up to what they have done wrong, and work to correct them. In fact, customer relationships can be stronger in light of a mistake, just as long as it is handled well.
Focus on the Guarantee
If you can offer a guarantee, and you are confident enough in your business to stand behind it completely, why don’t you guarantee it? This is not just a fantastic way to show off your business, but it’s an integral component of an effective marketing message. Adding this to your marketing shows prospects and customers that you care about their satisfaction. But of course, you’ve got to prove this to customers. Standing out from your competitors is not easy, and if you are looking to gain an unfair advantage, the advantage is in being completely different from everyone else.