Thursday, 01 March 2018 14:50

Focus on Your Points of Differentiation

There are numerous reasons to focus on differentiation in your company’s marketing efforts. The most important reason might be that this strategy facilitates a better understanding in your customer’s mind of exactly how your business differs from what appears to be a crowded field of similar product offerings.

We believe that continuously working on positioning to clarify why we are different and why hardwood lumber buyers should consider doing business with us is extremely important. We feel this not only enhances the awareness of our brand, it can also Differentiaton help communicate the differences between us and the other hardwood suppliers.

Differentiation in marketing can take a variety of forms. Here are a few areas we have found are worth focusing on.

Product Differentiation - This is differentiation at its most basic. Products can be differentiated in various ways such as form, function, performance, and durability to name a few areas. For us this it means developing differentiated hardwood products based on sawing techniques, sorting criteria, or even delivery programs. The principle message here is to identify how your offering is different and superior. Then work on messaging those points to the market and ensure your company delivers on that differentiation.

Customer Experience Differentiation - Increasingly, businesses differentiate themselves by stressing the quality of the customer experience. In general, it means doing what you can to deliver the most satisfying experience possible for your customers. This might require a very close look at every customer touch-point, from ease of navigation on the business website to product delivery and personalized service after a sale is made.  

If this approach seems promising, it’s a good idea to immerse yourself in how a customer typically interacts with (and benefits from) their experience with your company. This might reveal new ways in which to feature the true quality of your customer service approach.

Differentiate by Communicating Benefits - Some businesses err in their sales and marketing efforts by overemphasizing features, rather than benefits. Sometimes it is helpful to remember that at the bottom of virtually every potential transaction is the customer’s sense of “What’s in it for me?” You can boast about all of your product’s bells and whistles, but lacking a clear understanding of how this benefits the customer, your efforts may fall flat.

In a crowded industry with hundreds of suppliers, like the hardwood lumber industry, it’s important to constantly look at ways in which you can set your business apart. Many buyers believe our products are commodities.  White oak from one supplier can sometimes be similar to white oak from another. It is important for us to invest the time and effort necessary to differentiate why our customer base should consider doing business with us. Perhaps it is the same for you.

In what other ways do you try to differentiate? We look forward to hearing from you.

Brett Del Prince
Baillie Lumber
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