In today’s “look-alike” marketplace, business owners must find a way to differentiate. An interesting logo, tag line or mission statement simply won’t cut it. What makes you different
If you promise something different and then give everyone the same experience they know from past exposure, you’ll compete on price only. If you don’t think and act differently, you’ll behave your way into commoditization.
Commoditization is the process by which something becomes undifferentiated and buyers of goods and services reduce their buying decision to the lowest common denominator—price.
Here are a handful of principles to guide you in de-commoditizing your business:
DON’T – distance yourself from the customer and their own business needs, missing the key things a customer sees as valued and beneficial to them.
DO - focus on customer success. Reach beyond the traditional definition of a product or service to find unique benefits that boost a client’s success in their own interests. Immerse yourself in your customers’ environments to REALLY understand what they want. Uncovering the unmet needs is what will differentiate you from the flock.
DON’T – use your job title, professional designation or industry description to distinguish yourself from the competition. “I’m a Lawyer, CPA, Doctor, Engineer, Plumber, Real Estate Agent.” By defining yourself through your industry or designation, you are firmly commoditizing yourself by lumping yourself together with other poor perceptions of your industry.
DO – create a unique message to vividly, and accurately, describe what you do in a compelling way. Are you, for example, “a doctor” or could you be an “integrative health professional, deeply focused on identifying the root causes of disease and removing interference within the body such that the body can naturally heal without the over reliance on medications and surgical procedures?” Which would stimulate you to have further conversation and exploration?
DON’T – communicate value on price or key business performance indicators alone.
DO - communicate value by connecting your offer to both emotional AND business drivers. People make buying decisions on emotion and then filter with logic. Make certain that you are staying connected to the emotional needs of your best clients.
DON’T - use the identical industry metrics. If everyone measures the exact same thing, eventually everyone begins changing their product or service delivery in ways that do the exact same thing.
DO - set metrics based on your strategy, culture and what the customer really wants. Metrics should highlight opportunities for innovation.
DON’T - have the exact same target audience as everyone else in your industry. You know your company is following the flock when you have the same touch points, same metrics and same audience as your competitors. How can you drive the flock in another direction?
DO - look at what people want and less at who people are. The same people want different things from experiences depending upon the situation they find themselves in. Know the situations; know what they want in those situations and target those things.
Escaping commoditization requires a shift in your thinking and the way you look at relationships. If you don’t want to be another commodity, you need to develop relationships, and, you won’t develop meaningful relationships if you’re just another “professional copy”.
Demonstrate your desire to earn the business and the loyalty of your client both as a business client and as a friend. Friends care about the deeply satisfying emotional rewards and other results that arise from interacting with people who truly care about them and their interests.