This past Fourth July weekend provided an opportunity to dust off my well-worn copy of Jack Trout’s Differentiate or Die: Survival in Our Era of Killer Competition. I should do it more often. It is always refreshing to revisit the basic fundamentals of market positioning…and why competing only on price is a dangerous path that only a handful can take.
As independent retailers continue to battle among themselves as well as the “giants,” so many of their strategies continue to revolve around price.
But today price is transparent. We all know you have to be price competitive in your market. We preach it every day because price remains the most frequently mentioned store/supplier selection driver in every study we conduct.
But how can you distinguish your offering as a better choice for customers simply on price? Most cannot. You truly must differentiate……or die.
Differentiation should not be that difficult in a marketplace of sameness and similarity. We see so many “follow the leader” strategies. If it works for the leader, it should work for the follower.
But it doesn’t work out that way. Market leaders are the market leaders because they do differentiate from the norm. They know what their customers really want and deliver on that. Across any number of fronts (products, locations, service aspects, shopping experience, and on), they stand out and distinguish themselves as the better, or even best alternative. You can too.
Written by: Jim Robisch, Sr. Partner of The Farnsworth Group
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