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.