How To Make Your Business Unique
(You Don't Have A Choice)
by Tom Egelhoff
If you took high school physics you probably learned that two objects can't occupy the same space at the same time. Well, the same is true in business marketing. No two companies can occupy the same perception in the customers mind at the same time. We're not talking about a physical presence, but an image that comes into the customers mind when they think of your business.
If I were to ask 10 different customers where to find the lowest price , or highest quality or most selection for women's clothing I would get 10 different answers for each niche. Each customer might have a different perception of what low price or highest quality is. But each customer will usually only have one answer per niche.
Here are some back niches a business can occupy. Is your business among them?
Low price/low quality - If you have the lowest prices, you can talk quality all you want but, you are going to have an uphill climb to convince the customer. We are suspicious of low prices. Does the phrase, "What's the catch." ring a bell. There is nothing wrong with having competitive prices for comparable products. Most businesses that profess to consistently have the lowest prices simply match competitors prices. Many name brand products will not allow a company to sell their products below a certain price. They don't want to be perceived as cheap.
Top of the Line, Highest Price/Best Quality - Rolls Royce, Rolex. Top of the line products not only have a perception of high quality but can also be prestigious. Also keep in mind high price can carry the perception that its overpriced. Does, "You pay more for the name.", ring a bell? It's much easier to justify a higher price by pointing out the quality than trying to justify the lower price.
Large Selection - Go to any big name department store, JC Pennys, Nordstroms, and compare the size of the women's clothing department to the men's clothing department. The women's section is always three to four times larger than the men's. Why? Women demand selection. It's fashion suicide for a woman to be caught at a social function wearing the same outfit as someone else. Men really don't care if someone else has the same tie. Do your customers demand selection? If so, how does your selection compare to your competition? Keep in mind selection doesn't always mean inventory. One flower shop may carry exotic flowers while another shop doesn't. The shop with the exotics has a larger selection with one flower than the shop that has none.
Service - Ask any major retail chain who has the best customer service and chances are they will say Nordstrom's. They are the team to beat in retail customer service. In small towns, family and small business can usually offer better individual customer service than national chains.
Friendly - Small businesses usually excel in this area. Large businesses have more restrictions and rules than small businesses. Small businesses can get to know their customers by name. Workers in small businesses have more of a sense of ownership in their job then large faceless corporations.
Convenient - We hate to go out of the way for things. We pick things up on the way home from work. We shop, eat, buy gas where it's easiest. We seldom go out of our way to go to a specific business if another is more convenient.
So, which of the six does your business coincide with? I know what you're thinking, "We do all of the above." You can't occupy all the positions at the same time. Only one position will be dominant in the minds of the customers.
You Don't Have A Choice
Unless you are a brand new business, your customers already have a perception of your business. It may be right or wrong but they have it.
The point is, if you don't do anything your customers will pigeon-hole you along with your competition. You don't have a choice. They may not do it the way you want, but they will do it. Doesn't it make more sense to find the strongest niche and promote it and establish your uniqueness with your customers?
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Based in Bozeman, MT, Tom Egelhoff is the author of How To Market, Advertise & Promote Your Business Or Service In A Small Town, and The Small Town Advertising Handbook: How To Say More And Spend Less. He is also a seminar and workshop presenter and trainer. He may be reached at 888-550-6100 or PO Box 271, Bozeman, MT 59771-0271
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