Creating Singular Customer Value

In the technology sector, we're always looking for what's next. It must be different, disruptive, and truly better, and it must solve a real problem. Obsoleting your product is certainly common in the technology businesses. Intel and others have been doing it since the mid-1970s.

How a product is made can differentiate it. Is it made a new way? Is it made the traditional way? These days, it had better be made in an environmentally sustainable manner. Perhaps your very greenness is a difference. Where your product is made can also be a distinction. Being an expert or a specialist narrows the brand focus and can help you carve out an effective niche in the mind of the market. Duracell accomplished this in the battery market as the alkaline specialist against the generalist Eveready. I'm sure you can think of others.

Its not just about products
Market position is a perceived customer value. If your brand is already leading in some way, don't be bashful. Claim it, unless a competitor already has. Two brands cannot claim the same position.

The unique value may be in sales, technology, or science. Perhaps your speed of distribution makes you a leader. FedEx won in its market on speed. Discovering a new place to be a leader or valuably different is the essence of effective marketing strategy.

Just don't try being more than one thing to your market. People can't remember more than one attribute or value connected to a brand. Sometimes geographical or cultural factors require a brand to take a different position in one place versus another. You may be a leader in one part of the world and an unknown or newcomer elsewhere. Adapt.

Bigness may be a liability in some sectors. Small is still preferable in some high-touch industries, including professional services. Simple is attractive to customers. Is your brand simple to engage with? Compare how easy it is to your competitors. That may be an option.

Lastly, get the CEO's buy-in on the positioning message. “That's the only person who can consistently keep everyone focused on the same message.” Thank you, Jack Trout! I highly recommend that anyone working on differentiating a brand read Jack's Differentiate Or Die and put it to work in nailing your difference.

How is your brand at expressing a clear, singular customer value?

7 comments on “Creating Singular Customer Value

  1. Ariella
    August 2, 2012

    You're absolutely right. If you can't differentiate yourself, then you don't give the customer a reason to choose you.

  2. Ford Kanzler
    August 2, 2012

    Ariella – Amazing how few marketers get this simple truth. instead they throw a dozen or more things at customers to remember, often just mimicing industry buzzwords.

    What tech brands have you found that clearly and simply express their competitive differentiation? Some good examples are out there along with the many that fail.

  3. Ariella
    August 3, 2012

    Open Forum featured an explanation of differentiation in the fitness industry. And, as if you haven't heard about content marketing already, the founder of the company explains that content is key: “Almost all of our traffic is driven from social networks because we're writing specifically for certain communities-thinking from the very beginning of our editorial process about how to make our content relevant, shareable and awesome.” 

  4. Ford Kanzler
    August 3, 2012

    That more marketers are discovering that creating informative content helps grow business and customer engagement is wonderful but not new. I object to alledged new media pundits or digerati who think they're discovering a new form of promotion and giving it a new name like “Content Marketing.” Sorry, do a little research. Gaining target audience or community attention by producing valuable content has been going on well before many of these “digital marketeres” were born. For more on this go to:

    Today's online reality is, if you've got a web site, you're in the publishing business. The good news is that publishing and producing informative content written, audio or video, is easier and less costly than ever. Kind of like desktop publishing was in the mid-80's. Similarly, marketeres have a lot to learn about how to effectively apply all these new, affordable tools. There's lots of junk content being rapidly produced just as there was (and still is) with desktop publishing. Quite often its well worth it hiring pros who can do it right the first time. A lot like NOT photographing your own wedding.

  5. Ariella
    August 3, 2012

    @Ford I couldn't agree with you more! I'm so tired of hearing about it as if it's a new discovery. It's only a new discovery to certain people who seem oblivious to the fact that brands used content marketing way before the internet even came into existence. It's only that the web makes it easier for content to travel via sharing on social media. Rather than clip newspapers, people can hit the like, tweet, +, or whatever share button appears above or below the piece. 

    Now as for your line on NOT photographing your own wedding, that reminds me of a photographer (one among a few I know of) who did content marketing by writing about photography in local newspapers. He included that he intended to carry a camera to his own wedding. As far as I know, he never did get married.

  6. Ford Kanzler
    August 3, 2012

    He may have been a photography pro and he may have intended on taking a camera to his wedding but it sounds like he didn't really never intend on getting married.

    Suggest that doing brain surgery on yourself may come under the same heading. One of those occasions when skiled, experienced, professional help is worth the investment.

  7. Ariella
    August 3, 2012

    Quite so. I'm also in contact with a videographer who had the sense to outsource when the videotaping for her family affairs. 

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