Marketing Sense

A discussion of marketing tools and tactics with a common sense attitude

How to get MORE customers by giving them LESS.

Posted by Colin N. Clarke on March 22, 2010

In the ever competitive world of business, companies are constantly seeking bigger, better, faster, more. Trouble is, many companies lose focus while trying to attract more business and more customers. You can see the evidence bleeding from marketing materials every day.

While clamoring for more customers, some marketers make the grave mistake of trying to appeal to a wider audience by broadening their marketing message rather than zeroing in on what truly differentiates their business from the competition – all the while diluting their message and brand perception along the way.

You’ve seen and heard it before, “For all your [so and so] needs,” or the exhaustive list of specifications or services. What do you suppose sticks in the mind of the consumer when they are exposed to such generalizations? Absolutely nothing.

So what do you need to do to get your marketing message to stick? Find the “one thing” that sets you apart from the competition, zero in on it and make it the absolute focus of every aspect of your business. If you are a low-cost supplier selling low price, completely own the “low price” category in everything you do. If you believe your service differentiates your company, let “service” prove itself by being at the center of everything you do. Own the category so hard that no one else can duplicate what you do.

The key here is brand differentiation. Do one thing and do it well. Take Bobcat Company for example. Focused on providing the toughest, most reliable compact equipment and tools, everything they communicate is “tough and agile.” You will never see Bobcat market a BIG piece of equipment. Or how about Disney theme parks? Completely focused on “family fun” (When was the last time you saw Disney LIST all their theme park rides vs. Six Flags? You won’t!) And there are local examples all around you – the furniture company that has touted “best selection” for the past 20 years, the restaurant that serves “open pit steaks,” the broadcast station that is the “region’s new source.”

As a marketer, if you want to truly grow your business, broaden your appeal by differentiating your brand CLEARLY in the marketplace. Choose what sets you apart, then live, breathe and communicate it through everything you do. Don’t muddy your marketing materials with a mix of messages. Say ONE thing, say it loud and clear and say it often. By giving customers fewer things to process you’ll be giving them more information than ever before.

What local brands can you point to as great examples of clear brand differentiation? Or others that you think might be failing at differentiation? It’s always great to learn by observing others.


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