Jul. 2015

Differentiation for Success

If your industry is in a competitive equilibrium, the death of your business won’t matter to the world; some other undifferentiated competitor will always be ready to take your place.

-Peter Thiel

This is a simple concept. If your marketing, website and pitchbook can have your logo removed and replaced with a competitor’s, and the marketing can still work just as well for them, you are in a competitive equilibrium.

The world relies on brand loyalty and unfair advantage. Ask any successful firm what they do that their competition cannot, and watch the cream rise to the top. Chances are that their clientele knows these differentiators, as does their referral network.

People do not purchase or invest based solely on the benefit and feature war that most firms want to wage. For example, in side by side feature sets, the iPhone and Androids are not that different. In fact, most long/short equity, long-only fixed income, Wealth Managers, software, magazines, real estate investments, Mutual Funds, insurance companies, breweries, ETF Issuers, TV networks, pharmaceuticals, and fashion designers can be humbled when creating a side-by-side features table.

The key is to understand the dominant buying motive of your prospect set. Understand the nuances of your target segments. Identify what makes your firm, product, investment process or offering different in the minds of the people who hire you.

Pulling that out, defining it and then communicating it as your own distinctive qualities simply is no small task. That is why it is a key service of firms like ours; as we create acquisition programs, this segment of work (partnered with data) creates real success.


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