How to Establish Your Point of Differentiation

September 11, 2018 Abby Herman

No matter what industry you’re in, it’s likely saturated with a lot of people doing something similar to you and probably even calling themselves by the same title.

Your job as the expert in your field is to establish your point of differentiation–what makes you different from the other designers, coaches, strategists and consultants out there. That’s what every business has to do, no matter the size, in order to sell its products and services.

Most of the time, it’s all about the branding and knowing what kind of brand you want to have.

What kind of brand should you have?

The marketplace needs the Payless, DSW and Nordstrom’s of shoe stores. There are different consumers out there, and they’re all looking for something different. A $10, $50 and $300 pair of shoes are all shoes. But what type of shoe do you want to be?

You can choose to be a $10 pair of shoes and sell a lot of shoes to a lot of different customers, or you can be a $300 pair of shoes and sell fewer shoes to a select group of customers.

My tip? If you’re looking at small business, you don’t really want to be a $10 pair of shoes. It’s much easier to market to fewer people and charge higher rates.

But if you’re going to be that $300 shoe, what’s making you $300? What value are you offering that’s worth the $300? (My answer? A lot!)

How to determine what makes YOU special

  • Do you work only in a specific industry (and are, therefore, an expert in that industry)?
  • Does your style of working or the product you produce appeal to a very specific type of audience?

Whether you’re conscious of it or not, you have a certain person or business type you really like working with. Break down the characteristics of that person to create a customer profile. This helps you start to identify what it is that this ideal customer is looking for in someone in your industry, which helps you market to that person in the right way.

And when you’re marketing to the person you want to work with? You save your limited time and resources to only do those marketing activities that attract that perfect customer.

Make sure that customer knows what’s different about you, what makes you a better choice than someone else in your industry. If the way you work makes what you do more of a boutique service, include that in your marketing messages.

Think about it this way. Payless is not marketing to people who live on Lombard Street in San Francisco or on Martha’s Vineyard. Its customers simply aren’t there. Just like Nordstrom’s isn’t going to market to faithful Walmart shoppers.

If you serve high-end clients who have met a certain revenue threshold, you are not the Payless (or likely even DSW) of your industry. But when you try to market to everyone, your point of differentiation gets lost and you stop appealing to the customers you want.

It’s much more efficient to sell a specific product or service to a specific customer who has specific characteristics. Know what you’re selling and who you’re selling to so you can market what makes you different and special to the right audience.

Are you looking to build and grow your business? Find out how to do it right with my free masterclass, 3 Ways to Build Your Business!