One of the biggest challenges for businesses in any market or industry is answering the question “What makes YOU different?”
Customers today have more access than ever to information on products and services, which makes it even more important to develop a unique selling proposition for your business.
Do you know your businesses differentiating factor? In this post we’ll take a look at some of the best ways to tell, and provide you with tips on how to discover it if you don’t.
What Exactly Do We Mean by Differentiating Factor?
This can also be referred to as unique selling point or unique value proposition. Essentially, it’s what makes your business, product, or service unique and separates it from the competition. Take the pizza industry for example. There are many companies with different unique value propositions that consumers can choose from depending on their specific needs or desires. Domino’s initially branded themselves not as the best quality pizza, but the one with the guaranteed fastest delivery. Pizza Hut, on the other hand, let consumers know that it was all about “family night” and tailored its offerings to families ordering pizza to share together. Little Ceasar’s “Pizza Pizza” campaign let customers know that their unique proposition was being able to buy two pizzas at an extremely low price compared to the competition. One of the most successful recent differentiating campaigns was Papa John’s “Better Ingredients, Better Pizza” value proposition. None of the other competitors were focusing on them being the only ones to use the best quality ingredients, and Papa John’s saw this as a huge opportunity eventually leveraging it with great success.
This is exactly how you determine a differentiating factor, by recognizing what it is you can provide (and most importantly deliver on), that nobody else in the marketplace is talking about. That’s how you find your niche and therefore your unique selling proposition.
How Do You Create Your Differentiating Factor?
First off, you’ll want to determine your strengths and weaknesses in the marketplace against the competition. Don’t just look at what makes you different, but also make a comparison of similarities. On a larger scale, do a full competitive analysis to see where you stand in the overall marketplace. Ask yourself questions like “Why am I in this business?” and “What exactly am I trying to accomplish?” This dovetails into what types of solutions you’re offering to your target market and the most important question, “What can I offer that NOBODY else is talking about?”
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and try to comprehend their perspective. This can include gathering information outside of your business if necessary—in the form of surveys or focus groups. You’ll want to outline what your customers’ potential motivations and specific needs are for your solution. Determine who exactly needs your product or service and why?
In our pizza example, you would want to find out why customers buy from, not only you, but the competition. Is it delivery speed, size of the pizza, quality of ingredients etc.? This will allow you to clear your mind of any preconceived notions and develop your unique selling proposition honestly and organically.
Tell Your Story!
One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is thinking that they have nothing that sets them apart from the competition. But don’t forget that you do have a unique story to tell both as a business and an individual, and you’d be missing a huge opportunity by not sharing that with your customers. In fact, some of the best ad campaigns tell stories, and it’s human nature to love hearing a good one. People are more interested than you think in what happened with your business, how you got to where you are, and what made you successful. They’re often looking for clues to their own success through your story. That’s why Zimmer always stresses to clients: Just tell your story! Nine times out of ten, the Zimmer creative department can find that golden nugget that differentiates your business through the story, and create an awesome campaign based off that.
So now you know the importance of developing a unique selling proposition for your business, no matter what industry it’s in. By analyzing who you are, where you stand in the market, and simply being unafraid of telling your story, you’ll be well along the path to setting yourself apart.