The differentiation trade-off and marketing to values

One of the most common requests I get from clients is, “how can I differentiate my business/product/service/offer?”

The trade-off is clear. You can escape commodity-pricing and increase the flow of new and repeat business by being clearly and compellingly different. But part of being different is being willing to turn away, sometimes even offend, those who do not match the new vibe your business puts off.

The more different you purport to be, the more important congruence becomes. This means the promises you make in your marketing, the experience people have when they arrive in your office, the staff they interact with … literally every touchpoint between your customers or clients and your business must match.

For a simple example, consider the jarring experience of making an appointment with a realtor who held herself out to be an expert in luxury homes and the luxury market … and she then picks you up in a Yugo. That is lack of congruence. (Note, it may not be “fair” … but it is how it is.)

With a good knowledge of the market, the answers about “how” to differentiate come easily. It’s the willingness to say “no” to the clients who don’t fit the new differentiation that is tough (for the client).

Anyway, here a great example of clearly a differentiated marketing message from a Berkely, California dentist.

From his site:

Imagine a Berkeley dentist’s office that embodies the kind of innovative thinking synonymous with Berkeley.
Imagine a dental environment reminiscent of a yoga studio or your best friend’s living room — a wellness spa designed for your comfort.
Imagine experiencing eco-dentistry™, the pioneering approach that values the planet and your well-being.
Imagine receiving a healing foot massage and listening to meditative music while your teeth are lovingly cleaned.
Imagine seeing your smile miraculously transformed with leading edge techniques, natural-looking materials, and artist-quality restorations.
This is not a dream: we are transcendentist® and Dr. Fred Pockrass.

Check out the Transcendentist, Dr. Fred Pockrass. Nice job.

P.S. There is a second, and probably more important lesson here. If you read the above description, you’ll notice that he is clearly marketing to values. Not to features and benefits (traditional marketing and copywriting). Do it right, and marketing to values is an order of magnitude more powerful than the old stuff. Interested? Let me know in the comments and I’ll write about it in a future post.

{ 75 comments… read them below or add one }

1 My Happy Tel July 16, 2010 at 6:07 am

I don't think most people have values when it comes to marketing besides make money and make sales, so this was a refreshing read.

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2 Joomla May 11, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Great post!

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3 Criar site April 27, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Great post, I didn't know about these differentiations, thanks

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4 Anonymous March 11, 2010 at 7:11 am

While all the marketing media coming to the unlimited world of internet marketing. So, Why not Dental marketing? To be updated with latest technical marketing, It must be dental internet marketing.

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5 itaquera January 11, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Great article, I learned a lot!

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6 Anonymous December 31, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Great stuff dude.. I was really impressed.

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7 Anonymous December 10, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Michael, you’ve done it again. Very well explained. I really admire the way you express your thoughts and share it to others.

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8 Anonymous October 24, 2009 at 5:14 am

Thanks a lot Michael for sharing this handy and informative article with us because without any market knowledge, no one can run their business efficiently.

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9 voyant August 25, 2009 at 2:16 pm

very interesting and instructif.Merci much.

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10 chance August 25, 2009 at 1:16 pm

I have found tons of great stuff on your blog! thank youy Michael

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11 voyante August 25, 2009 at 10:43 am

Great review Michael!!!!

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12 portal August 25, 2009 at 8:10 am

thanks good article

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13 voyant August 20, 2009 at 1:49 pm

thanks Michael, your article is very well I learned a lot.

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14 voyance August 6, 2009 at 12:54 pm

I also learned a lot of things, thanks Michael

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15 Anonymous August 6, 2009 at 2:54 am

I also learned a lot of things, thanks Michael

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16 Anonymous June 25, 2009 at 9:11 pm

It’s different and it’s innovative but we are the only one around promoting eco friendly coffee drinking.

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17 Anonymous June 15, 2009 at 12:52 am

This is a great post. Thanks Michael for sharing this post. I enjoyed reading it and i also learned a lot of things.

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18 Louise Blog June 14, 2009 at 10:08 am

Very helpful information.  I have found tons of great stuff on this blog!

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19 Anonymous May 28, 2009 at 8:10 pm

Thanks,this is great article on aggresive marketing.

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20 Anonymous January 9, 2009 at 11:00 am

I think especially with social media that there is a trade off between value and marketing. Specifically for sites that were designed for the user. Stumble Upon is a perfect example, the “old school” users hate anything that is corporate.

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21 Framingham Landscapi January 9, 2009 at 1:00 am

I think especially with social media that there is a trade off between value and marketing. Specifically for sites that were designed for the user. Stumble Upon is a perfect example, the “old school” users hate anything that is corporate.

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22 Anonymous December 23, 2008 at 7:08 am

Great explanation of the trade-offs!

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23 Anonymous December 22, 2008 at 9:08 pm

Great explanation of the trade-offs!

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24 Anonymous December 14, 2008 at 4:23 pm

I think it’s a good information for businessman. Please keep it up.

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25 Anonymous December 14, 2008 at 6:23 am

I think it’s a good information for businessman. Please keep it up.

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26 Anonymous December 7, 2008 at 10:10 pm

Good information on setting your product apart.  Hope to see more posts soon.

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27 Anonymous December 7, 2008 at 10:04 pm

Excellent post. Thanks for sharing it with community.

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28 Anonymous December 7, 2008 at 12:10 pm

Good information on setting your product apart.  Hope to see more posts soon.

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29 Anonymous December 7, 2008 at 12:04 pm

Excellent post. Thanks for sharing it with community.

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30 Anonymous December 1, 2008 at 2:12 am

Travel is a great prospect for you to calm down and take pleasure in traveling.

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31 Anonymous November 30, 2008 at 4:12 pm

Travel is a great prospect for you to calm down and take pleasure in traveling.

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32 Anonymous November 28, 2008 at 8:47 am

Differentiation is what makes one person successful and the next bankrupt.  You must have a product or service that is better, cheaper, or more friendly than the next guy.  Sometimes a higher price for a premium product or service works.  Other times a great price on a good product works.  One aspect of your business must stand out though so do what is best for you and your product or service.

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33 Anonymous November 27, 2008 at 10:47 pm

Differentiation is what makes one person successful and the next bankrupt.  You must have a product or service that is better, cheaper, or more friendly than the next guy.  Sometimes a higher price for a premium product or service works.  Other times a great price on a good product works.  One aspect of your business must stand out though so do what is best for you and your product or service.

Reply

34 Anonymous November 18, 2008 at 12:43 am

Michael, you’ve done it again. Very well explained. I really admire the way you express your thoughts and share it to others.

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35 Anonymous November 17, 2008 at 2:43 pm

Michael, you’ve done it again. Very well explained. I really admire the way you express your thoughts and share it to others.

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36 Anonymous November 16, 2008 at 6:49 pm

I’m agree with Dr. Pockrass . Thank you for give us information about business.

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37 Anonymous November 16, 2008 at 8:49 am

I’m agree with Dr. Pockrass . Thank you for give us information about business.

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38 Anonymous November 15, 2008 at 4:37 pm

I agree with Dr. Pockras argument and thanks Michael to review an important article. And have a great dimension.

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39 Anonymous November 15, 2008 at 6:37 am

I agree with Dr. Pockras argument and thanks Michael to review an important article. And have a great dimension.

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40 Anonymous November 11, 2008 at 6:44 pm

Hi Michael, You do the great job. Thanks for sharing with us.

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41 Anonymous November 11, 2008 at 8:44 am

Hi Michael, You do the great job. Thanks for sharing with us.

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42 Anonymous October 30, 2008 at 7:03 pm

Yeah excellent one about invest. Thanks for sharing.

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43 Anonymous October 30, 2008 at 2:52 pm

Excellent post Michaeal.. how did your campaign turn out? I hope it was successful

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44 Anonymous October 30, 2008 at 9:03 am

Yeah excellent one about invest. Thanks for sharing.

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45 Anonymous October 30, 2008 at 4:52 am

Excellent post Michaeal.. how did your campaign turn out? I hope it was successful

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46 Anonymous October 23, 2008 at 6:47 pm

Its good to see.Specially about the marketing values.

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47 Anonymous October 23, 2008 at 8:47 am

Its good to see.Specially about the marketing values.

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48 Anonymous October 12, 2008 at 6:43 am

Excellent post Michasel, we appreciate you sharing the info and I think business will be going in a new direction in the next 10 years.

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49 Anonymous September 29, 2008 at 3:54 pm

Thanks for your great post.
I have some new ideas for my business now :D

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50 Anonymous September 23, 2008 at 6:28 pm

Right direction is always prefer for good marketing. Thanks Michael to share a great article. I have learn many technique.

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51 Anonymous September 23, 2008 at 8:28 am

Right direction is always prefer for good marketing. Thanks Michael to share a great article. I have learn many technique.

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52 Anonymous September 21, 2008 at 5:35 pm

I agree in some points that Dr. Pockrass does point out in his explanation. But we know trade off is always there. Anyhow, the best part is to analysis and i am glad to read the points of this discussion.

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53 Anonymous September 21, 2008 at 7:35 am

I agree in some points that Dr. Pockrass does point out in his explanation. But we know trade off is always there. Anyhow, the best part is to analysis and i am glad to read the points of this discussion.

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54 Anonymous September 13, 2008 at 10:27 pm

Great review Michael!!!!

I enjoy it so much, thanks to share this great article! this will help a lot to money maker.

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55 Anonymous September 13, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Great review Michael!!!!

I enjoy it so much, thanks to share this great article! this will help a lot to money maker.

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56 Anonymous September 5, 2008 at 4:56 am

Thanks for a great blog.  I really enjoy reading it.

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57 Anonymous September 4, 2008 at 6:56 pm

Thanks for a great blog.  I really enjoy reading it.

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58 Anonymous August 25, 2008 at 9:01 am

Just keep reading.  So many good articles!  Thanks!

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59 Anonymous August 24, 2008 at 11:01 pm

Just keep reading.  So many good articles!  Thanks!

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60 Anonymous August 24, 2008 at 8:02 am

wow, i learned from it a lot you are very smart gay, thank you!

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61 Anonymous August 19, 2008 at 5:07 pm

Differentiation is key.  If you can seperate yourself with a positive thing like top notch customer service, you may not even have to alienate anybody.

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62 Anonymous August 19, 2008 at 7:07 am

Differentiation is key.  If you can seperate yourself with a positive thing like top notch customer service, you may not even have to alienate anybody.

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63 Anonymous July 15, 2008 at 2:09 pm

Great post
I read it twice and enjoyed it !

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64 Anonymous July 15, 2008 at 4:09 am

Great post
I read it twice and enjoyed it !

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65 Anonymous June 26, 2008 at 9:40 pm

elizabeth – how did your campaign turn out? I hope it was successful

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66 Anonymous June 26, 2008 at 11:40 am

elizabeth – how did your campaign turn out? I hope it was successful

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67 Anonymous May 30, 2008 at 8:40 am

Cool. I just got into anime, any suggestions?

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68 Anonymous February 24, 2008 at 3:15 pm

Differentiation can be attained by studying your competitors and market.
Look what features that are not exist in competitors product and what features that can be accepted by public.
The prime law is to maintain high price/benefit ratio (value)
Of course, things are often not as simple as this.

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69 Anonymous February 24, 2008 at 5:15 am

Differentiation can be attained by studying your competitors and market.
Look what features that are not exist in competitors product and what features that can be accepted by public.
The prime law is to maintain high price/benefit ratio (value)
Of course, things are often not as simple as this.

Reply

70 Anonymous January 8, 2008 at 1:01 pm

Wow Michael!

Spot on in concept, and what an outstanding example!

Hurray for Decomoditization!

Cheers.

Scott

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71 Anonymous January 8, 2008 at 6:01 pm

Wow Michael!
Spot on in concept, and what an outstanding example!
Hurray for Decomoditization!
Cheers.
Scott

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72 Anonymous December 20, 2007 at 5:39 am

Two lessons worth noting. 

1. Anyone can do what Dr. Pockrass does to personalize his practice.

2. No one can copy Dr. Pokrass. 

To make this strategy work the entire practice must be a reflection of the practitioners values.

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73 Anonymous December 20, 2007 at 10:39 am

Two lessons worth noting. 
1. Anyone can do what Dr. Pockrass does to personalize his practice.
2. No one can copy Dr. Pokrass. 
To make this strategy work the entire practice must be a reflection of the practitioners values.

Reply

74 Anonymous December 16, 2007 at 3:31 am

We are a small coffee stand among many in WA and this was just the insight we needed to move forward with our thinkgreen movement.  It’s not the cheapest route but we believe people will appreciate our all organic coffee and food menu including recycled cups/ lids/ napkins/ everything will be sold with our planet in mind as well as the health of our customers.  It’s different and it’s innovative but we are the only one around promoting eco friendly coffee drinking.We are set to launch our new menu within the next 6 weeks and are counting on our customers loving the coffee while they are loving themselves and the environment.
Elizabeth
owner of the Mocha Lisa Cafe’

Reply

75 Anonymous December 15, 2007 at 5:31 pm

We are a small coffee stand among many in WA and this was just the insight we needed to move forward with our thinkgreen movement.  It’s not the cheapest route but we believe people will appreciate our all organic coffee and food menu including recycled cups/ lids/ napkins/ everything will be sold with our planet in mind as well as the health of our customers.  It’s different and it’s innovative but we are the only one around promoting eco friendly coffee drinking.We are set to launch our new menu within the next 6 weeks and are counting on our customers loving the coffee while they are loving themselves and the environment.
Elizabeth
owner of the Mocha Lisa Cafe’

Reply

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