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    5 Replies Latest reply on Jun 30, 2008 3:47 PM by telmob

    The Big Idea - How to Differentiate Your Business

    rontowns25 Adventurer
      To succeed in business takes more than a good product or service.
      The Internet has revolutionized the way that we do business and the way
      customers evaluate with whom they will do business. The landscape is extremely
      competitive with many products and services competing in the same space. To be
      heard above the clamor of a cluttered marketplace, you must have a "big
      idea" - a concept or a hook that makes you stand apart from everyone else.

      Your big idea does not even have to be new; you can take an
      existing concept and position it in a different way. For a real world example,
      consider the diet book market. There is nothing at all new about dieting but
      each new diet success takes an old concept and adds a different twist that makes
      it appear to be revolutionary.

      The big idea really distills down to differentiation. Listed below
      are a few tips for being a rebel in a "me too" world and reaping the rewards
      from your big idea.

      • Give them the Fish. We often hear that if you give \\ a man a fish, he'll eat for a day, but teach him to fish and he'll eat for \\ a lifetime. That advice however does not apply to how you approach your \\ market. In today's time starved world, people are looking for the package, \\ the instant solution. So, don't teach them, give them the fish! Your \\ customers need to grasp your big idea immediately. Cater to their laziness \\ and you will stand out from the crowd.
      • Differentiate by being \\ specific. \\ Time management experts share that if you start a meeting at 9:03 AM \\ rather than 9:00 AM everyone will remember and be on time. In starting off \\ the hour, it is more specific and thus more memorable. The same is true in \\ marketing your product or service. Specificity will bring you greater \\ results and will stand out from generic promises. In example, "33 Days to \\ Riches" is more specific than "Great \\ Ways to Make Money". Consider the success of \\ "Eight Minute Abs." Would it have been as successful if named "Sixty \\ Minute Abs"?
      • Do the Opposite. Doing the opposite of the \\ masses gives you the opportunity to differentiate your business and create \\ a niche that you can dominate. If you simply follow the well trodden path \\ of the masses and become a "me too" product you will find greater \\ competition and less profits. However, by seeking to go in a different \\ direction, you create the path and open new avenues of success.
      • Move the Application. Take a concept or hook from \\ somewhere else and use it in a new way. You can look outside of your \\ industry and take successful concepts and use it in a new way for your \\ business. Many businesses fall into the trap of being myopic. They view \\ what their competitors are doing to measure their success. They stay \\ within their own industry, often even reluctant to hire employees from \\ outside of the industry. In this way you miss out on great ideas that can \\ help you differentiate your business.
      Thoughts? Comments? Pushback?

        • Re: The Big Idea - How to Differentiate Your Business
          WineLover Newbie
          I couldn't agree with you more. I really like your idea on catering to their laziness. We are such an instant society and we all think we are always busy, which I don't believe to be true. However, perception is reality and making it quicker and easier for customers can be a real differentiator. My wife and I just bought a small wine retail store. She has years of experience in cosmetics retail and I spent many years in wireless management. We are learning very quickly that location is not the only key to retail success. We are brainstorming on how to differentiate ourselves and we think it's all about service. We have been door knocking and calling local businesses to introduce ourselves. A majority of people are blown away that we have taken the time to call them to introduce ourselves. While it's not the most efficient marketing program, we think it's effective.
          • Re: The Big Idea - How to Differentiate Your Business
            RickFelten Adventurer
            rontowns25, I disagree with most of what you say.

            Most of your suggestions seem to be variants of other 'me too' approaches in the marketplace. Companies fall into the trap of thinking that differentiation is: "I'm different because I..." The real differentiation is when you show the consumer what is different for them, not why your company is just 'different.'

            Teach people to fish. It works. If you just give them the fish, they will see it as a commodity & will shop for the lowest price fish. You may not get the business next time they need a fish! Show them that your product/service gives them the way to fish (assuming it is a great product) and they will be loyal customers.

            Be Specific. OK, I like it! I may even unabashedly copy it although it is really just a spin-off of the original "1 Minute Manager" theme. That was different!

            Opposite. This misses a tremendous market, that is, what everyone wants in the product. If everyone wants a blue left-handed monkey wrench, you will only capture the very small market for red right-handed monkey wrenches by being different. Show them a new use for the blue left-handed monkey wrench & you have a winner.

            Move the Application/Repositioning. Aren't people sick of the many spin-offs of the "Got Milk?" ad? It can work, but only with limited utility.

            What is truly different...thus when we show the consumer how our products impact them in a different way; not how smart we are by doing the same old thing in a different way. Big Ideas are very short lived in the marketplace. They smack of 'gimmick' and after the sale, people still feel empty as they search for that Instant Gratification.

            Instant Gratification I call it IG can make money, but in the long run people want satisfaction. Satisfaction comes from understanding the true need and delivering a product/service that people can participate & grow in the final result.

              • Re: The Big Idea - How to Differentiate Your Business
                Iwrite Pioneer

                I think it really comes down to understanding that the customers you are trying to speak to are human beings - talk to the person, listen to them, find out what it is they need and how you meet that need.

                There is no one formula that will meet everyone's need. But if we start by realizing that emotions and feelings factor into a lot of decisions customers/clients make then we might create better messages.

                Sometimes it feels like we make it complicated to attempt to justify what we do, when we should appreciate the power of keeping it simple and honest.

                Just my thoughts. I may be wrong.
              • Re: The Big Idea - How to Differentiate Your Business
                telmob Newbie
                Very nice.

                You are absolutely right. Thank you for the tips ;)