In a competitive environment it is vital that potential users are clear about why they should choose you above anyone else. This applies whether you are selling a product, service or indeed attracting funding. Differentiation is key in a crowded arena but often you are so busy working in the business that these questions don’t get asked, so when I first start talking to an organisation one of the first things I do is to get them to ask questions that very often they assume they already know the answers to.
Often the questions will relate to the organisation as a whole and sometimes they are product/service related. Here then are the 17 questions you should ask yourself when thinking about differentiation. I have made them product based but they can easily be adapted to an organisational basis.
1. What is the present position of product or service?
2. Where do we want it to be in the future? (Give yourself a time period)
3. What opportunities are there in the next 2 years and why?
4. Do we need to make changes to the product or service beyond its current strengths/positioning to take advantage of these opportunities?
5. What are the greatest threats?
6. Can we control these threats? If so, how?
7. Does the product or service offer something better than the competitors?
8. How does the customer benefit?
9. When someone buys the product or service what are the top three reasons they give?
10. What are the top three objections given by for not using the product or service?
11. What percentage of next year’s revenue is expected from new vs. existing customers?
12. What are the characteristics of our ideal customer? (Market segment, size of organisation, job position, motivators, internal and external influencers, buying habits, factors in buying decisions, social media, associations, publications, trade shows.)
13. Who are our key competitors?
14. Who is our competition targeting?
15. How do we want to be seen relative to the competition?
16. What is the typical sales process for our product/service?
17. What are the values and personality we want to project for the product or service?
David Hassell - DLH Marketing
David has worked in advertising and marketing services for 30 years both client and agency side. Having worked with local, national and muliti-national clients, he set up DLH Marketing to help small organisations, owner managed businesses and those organisations without in-house marketing.