Be more than potluck.
The summer is officially here. It's the time for parades, picnics, and BBQs... and the ever-popular phrase "What can I bring?"
Commodity or resource is the question to ask as you position yourself, both are viable business models, however many small business can level the playing field with the "bigger players" by positioning their company as a resource not a common "commodity." What are you bringing to the party that no one else does?
Commodity or Resource?
Consider these key areas when defining your company as a resource--
Pricing and Value- Do research on the price ranges and value features for your product versus the competitor(s.)
Target Market and Customer Definition
- High priced or bargain? First Class or Coach, it's always a choice.
- What options for features and benefits are present to improve customer acceptance and company profitability?
- What options for pricing versus value are present to improve customer acceptance and company profitability?
- Evaluate all possible markets, then identify your best market to target. Not all markets appreciate the extra value received from a company positioned as a resource. I know it is hard to say you need to compete against a large chain or box store, but there are customers out there that value and pay for trust, credibility, service, relevance and reliability... Target market evaluation should be on the qualities of the market more than their circumstances. Once you have defined your target:
- What are these customer's needs?
- What is my target market's buying process? Do they need a long time to make up their mind or tons of information to decide or...?
- Will customers expect to use my product or service all the time, some of the time, only once?
- Do they buy based on price, service, features, performance, relationship, lifestyle, product name (brand) or...S?
- Can you answer the number one customer question "What's in it for ME (them)?"
- What is the full range of product and service features that may be of interest to customers? Prioritize those interests from highest to lowest.
- How do these features benefit my customers? Benefit is the important key to reaching your customer. Remember the "what's in it for me" rule.
- How will it change, improve or enhance their lives?
- Is my product or service easy to learn and use?
- Does it meet cost targets and have clearly defined quality standards?
- Will my customer find value and/or enjoy my product or service?
- Are there other options available that offer customers a range of choices?
- Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of competitive offerings in meeting the customer needs discovered in the proceeding two areas. Often it is the emotional connection that differentiates you from your competition. Strive to create positive customer beliefs. List what makes your company different and support your position. Is it your company or product skills, features, expertise, price, responsiveness, innovation, design, eco-friendly, energy saving, etc.
What makes you different?
+ Your Competitor's Relevant Positions
+Your Most Unique Positions
Keep the distinctions uncovered in these four areas in mind as you create your marketing messages. Communicate the value and the benefits of your product. What market position, product promises and company commitments can you nurture in the minds of customers to create positive customer beliefs?
Positive customer beliefs create brand loyalty and build lasting relationships. To create a lasting brand name you must say more to the consumer than your company and product features in your marketing messages. The loyalty developed through careful planning and consistency of your company message creates strong customer preference and can command premium pricing.
An example of customer loyalty and premium pricing is Apple Computer. The "Think Different" tagline is a powerful market statement about whom Apple Computer is trying to attract. Creating a clear sense of separation from "the others" is what you accomplish when you understand your uniqueness and present to your target market a consistent attitude, message and promise.
What are you bringing to the party that no one else does?