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Differentiation and Positioning

Participating Solution Provider

Differentiation and Positioning


The other night, I was out at my favorite Sushi restaurant. We go there quite regularly because both my son and I are in love with their rolls, especially their Signature Dynamite Roll.


Being the marketer I am, I couldn’t help but notice as the little boats floated around with various dishes, that others must share our passion. The boats were full of our favorite rolls.


Yet oddly enough, the sign outside, promoted their excellent service. Now don’t get me wrong, their service is second to none! But the problem with boasting quality and service is that these are EXPECTATIONS, not DIFFERENTIATIONS.


So if you had a sign that was limited to just a few words, what would you highlight about YOUR company? In other words what makes you TRULY different.


Having done many surveys for my clients asking their customers this very pointed questions, I can tell you this. 9 times out of 10 it is in the little things. So how can you find out what makes you remarkable?


Ask Your Clients

No one can articulate your strengths better than your clients. Ask them why they chose you in the first place. Ask them why they continue to do business with you. Ask them how they would explain why you’re great to others. The scariest thing we can do is assume we know what makes us special.


Identify Industry Frustrations Here’s an eye-opener and a very humbling experience. Ask people (and your clients) what frustrates them about people in your industry. If they remain incredibly polite, then take yourself out of the equation and ask them what frustrates them about your competitors. If you are great at probing and uncovering the root of an issue, you will find ways to turn this frustration into a strong differentiation. Let me give you an example. A lawyer for a large company here in Calgary asked his clients why they enjoyed doing business with him. He heard over and over again, that they felt he kept them in the loop.


Interestingly enough, one of the major frustrations people have with lawyers in general, is this feeling that they aren’t telling them the whole story. Now this may have come out in various ways. Like I don’t trust them, or their service is poor. It takes further questioning to uncover the root of the distrust and poor service to realize it’s a communication issue. This lawyer had identified a “little thing” that made him VERY different in the eyes of his potential clients. 


So go forth and discover what makes you TRULY different. It is one of the least expensive ways to gain an edge on your competitors.

Cidnee is a sought after speaker on small business marketing, online marketing and content marketing.

Her style is very warm, fun, informative and simple to digest.

She has spoken at a variety of conferences including women events, travel and tourism symposiums, trade and association conferences, municipal events, and of course marketing conferences.

Having pretty much grown up on a microphone (she started in Elementary school), Cidnee loves to inspire business owners and marketing professionals to embrace the sometimes daunting and always changing marketing strategies and tactics.

With over 20 years of marketing experience there is very little she can’t talk about and she strives to always make the talk relevant to her audience.
Participating Solution Provider

Re: Differentiation and Positioning

Such an important idea for small businesses. One of my favorite books on the subject is Differentiate or Die by Jack Trout. It's an excellent guide to all the different ways a business can differentiate itself or particular products or services from the competition. As you point out it has to be more than general statements about service and quality. 


It's one of the essential keys to becoming a bigger busines, isn't it? Thanks for the post.

Speak Well and Sell