How do you stand apart from the competition?
In my last article, I talked about the importance of difference. We discussed why many differences those in the print industry tout mean nothing to buyers. And we learned three important ways to check if your difference will work or not.
Understanding this theory is important. But sometimes it’s much easier to see things in practice. So that’s why I’m going to share five examples of differences that you might apply to your company.
Here it goes:
- Market specialization
One way to show difference is to show how you understand a particular market. For example, you might specialize in serving a particular type of business. Even better, you might do this in your local area. Remember, these don’t have to be the only type of customer that you serve. But they are the ones you focus on when you are talking to prospect in the same sector.
- Unique processes
Do you have a specific process that you have developed? This can be a great way to stand apart from the competition. For instance you might have a specific checklist that makes sure web-to-print projects go correctly. As long as your prospect understands how you use this to do things differently from the competition you have a powerful difference.
- Unusual products
A number of printers have very unusual finishing processes, or create unusual products. This can be an effective way to show difference to prospects. However, be aware that, if the product or process becomes more popular, you may have to create a new difference. This type of difference is more of a first mover advantage.
Previous results can also make you stand out. For example, you can be remembered as the printer that creates 27% higher ROI for catalogue mailings.
- Strange ideas
I once came across a printer that included the company hamster mascot on all its publicity. The hamster became a real hit. Lots of buyers wanted to know more about it, and how it was doing. There was even some discussion about hosting a hamster cam! Sometimes the oddest things can make you stand out and engage buyers.
So can hamsters really help you sell print?
Remember, your difference is often a branding exercise. Buyers want a reason to put their preferred supplier above the competition. The difference helps with this.
In reality, it can be hard to be truly different. But applying some of these ideas will let you stand out from the competition.
How do you put difference into action?
- Sit down as a team and brainstorm some ideas for creating differentiation. Use the five ideas in this article as a starting point.
- Run your favourite differences against the three check words in my last article. Do they work against all three checks?
- Road test your differences with some current customers. What do they think?
If you run all three exercises successfully, you will be well on the way to truly standing apart from the competition.
Editor’s Note: This article was part of a two-post series on creating value through differentiation:
- How to Differentiate Yourself (and Make Money Doing it)
- 5 Ways To Make Your Company Stand Out To Prospects
PS If you’d like more practical ideas on how to engage with today’s buyers, download my free e-book “Ten Common Print Selling Errors and What To Do About Them”. You’ll also receive my regular “Views from the print buyer” bulletin, full of ideas on how to sell print effectively.