From simply being better than your competitors to analyzing a competitor analysis, here are 15 answers to the question, “What are your best tips for how to differentiate your business from competitors in the market?”
- Provide a Better Offer
- Build Brand Identity and Loyalty via Innovation
- Offer Exceptional Customer Service
- Identify Your Audience Pain Point to Develop Your Pleasure Point
- Develop a Unique Brand Identity
- Be Controversial
- Share Your Vulnerability
- Allow Customer Needs to Drive Your Product Development
- Use a Play On Words
- Grow a Brand that Lives Its Purpose
- Counter the Market Leader
- Partner With Other Businesses
- Create a Unique Value Proposition
- Focus on Customer Experience
- Conduct a Strong Competitor Analysis
Provide a Better Offer
Yes, you can differentiate based on tone, voice, and general branding. But the most powerful way to stand out from the crowd is to provide an offer that is far better and more interesting than anyone else in your market.
For example, if everyone is selling refrigerators for $650 and is asking you to pay upfront and get the product immediately, you can take a different approach.
Sell the fridge for $750 but split the payments up over 12 months. Additionally, you throw in a few relevant freebies like one year of free repairs (not a manufacturer’s warranty), spatulas, a nonstick frying pan, a cooking training program, etc.
The value, when everything is said and done, goes above and beyond the $750 they’re paying, and your competitors can’t compete.
Word will spread. That’s the best form of differentiation.
Daniel Ndukwu, CMO and Co-founder, DoxFlowy
Build Brand Identity and Loyalty Via Innovation
Innovation is a highly effective way for businesses to establish their brand identity and create customer loyalty.
Customers who associate a brand with innovative technology and unique solutions are more likely to remain loyal and recommend the products to their peers. It is important to remember that innovative features should always align with the target audience’s needs and preferences.
By understanding the customer’s needs and preferences (through conducting market research on your customers) and designing products accordingly, businesses can ensure that their innovative features are valuable, relevant, and effective at differentiating their products from those of key competitors.
David Watkins, Director of Product Management, EthOS
Offer Exceptional Customer Service
One of the best tips for differentiating your business from competitors in the market is to focus on providing exceptional customer service. While products and services are important, customers often remember how they were treated by a business more than anything else. If you go above and beyond to provide excellent customer service, you create a positive reputation for your business that sets you apart from competitors.
Great customer service can involve a variety of strategies, such as responding promptly to customer inquiries, addressing complaints or concerns in a timely and effective manner, and offering personalized recommendations or solutions based on each customer’s unique needs. You can also consider implementing loyalty programs, referral incentives, or other promotions that encourage repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals.
Mike Stuzzi, Founder
Identify Your Audience Pain Point to Develop Your Pleasure Point
In my years of experience in marketing, I’ve learned that it’s one of the first things that matter before you start any kind of business. It helps you stay ahead of the curve and make yourself memorable in your prospects’ minds.
We at our digital marketing agency always start with 1:1 sessions with our prospects to understand their audience, their needs, their pain points, and what makes them tick. Then, we get into competitor analysis to understand what services they offer, what is their pricing model, how they tackle their target audience’s queries, etc.
On top of that, we also like to do what we call Review Analysis, where we analyze our competitors’ customers’ sentiments using reviews they left on Google, Yelp, etc. This helps us further develop strategies and come up with unique offers which we can use to differentiate them from competitors.
Sangeeta Kumar, Vice President of Marketing, Healthcare DMS
Develop a Unique Brand Identity
My best tip for differentiating your business from competitors in the market is to focus on developing a unique brand identity. Your brand is the face of your business, and it should convey your values, personality, and mission in a way that resonates with your target audience.
By creating a distinctive brand that stands out from the crowd, you can attract customers who share your values and are drawn to your unique offerings. For example, for every pair of shoes sold, TOMS donates a pair to a child in need.
This can help you build a loyal following and differentiate your business from competitors who may offer similar products or services. To develop a strong brand identity, consider working with a branding expert to create a cohesive visual identity, messaging strategy, and brand voice that aligns with your business goals and values. This can help you create a strong emotional connection with your target audience and stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Ram Thakur, Founder, Solution Suggest
My best tip for how to differentiate your business from competitors in the market is to be controversial. Take an opinion or stance on a topic that your competitors may disagree with, and use that to stand out and make your business memorable.
This will grab the attention of your customers and make them think about your business differently. Taking a stand on certain topics will also give you the opportunity to engage with customers and build meaningful relationships with them.
Jaya Iyer, Marketing Assistant, Teranga Digital Marketing
Share Your Vulnerability
In an automated, AI-flooded world, we all crave human relationships. Our clients want to know the person behind the brand—and they want to know that person sees them and understands what they’re going through.
But scalable companies can only build relationships with some clients. The next best thing? Vulnerability.
I’ve worked with dozens of entrepreneurs to build their personal brands, and so many get this wrong. They only want to share the Instagrammable version of their lives.
But in 2023, clients want more. They want the hard stuff. Where did you start? When did you mess up? What have you learned? Who are you?
The more open we are, the safer clients feel. And while that might not seem necessary for tech startups or e-commerce companies, remember that we all ask our clients to trust us with one of their most valuable assets—their information.
Customers are hungry for relationships. When we show them who we are—warts and all—we show them we’re a company they can trust.
Amanda Edgar, CEO and Certified Ghostwriter, DAS Author Services
Allow Customer Needs to Drive Your Product Development
As software developers operating in the Ed-Tech, HR-Tech, and AppSec industries, at Codific, we strongly believe that our products need to adapt to our clients’ needs and not the other way around. Because of this, we keep close contact with clients and respond quickly when receiving requests for new software features.
This gives us several advantages over our competitors. First, it improves our customer satisfaction, increasing our brand loyalty as customers know we will always aim to match their needs.
Second, it improves our word-of-mouth marketing, as our clients are more satisfied with our products and our customer service, helping to expand our client base. Last, it ensures that our competitive advantage is maintained over time.
By constantly receiving feedback from customers and improving our products based on it, we adapt to their changing needs, sustaining their preference for our offerings over competitors.
Nicolas Montauban, Growth Strategist, Codific
Use a Play on Words
Use language that people understand at a basic level, and incorporate it into your marketing. For example, my company focuses on documenting processes and operational flow. I used the word “lazy” in my marketing, but from an organized perspective.
This stands out a lot more to people and draws attention to the business. Bonus points if it’s words that are commonly searched in the industry and/or controversial, to an extent.
Adriana Richardson, Owner and CEO, The Lazy Millennial
Grow a Brand that Lives Its Purpose
Amazon is one of the best examples of brands that live up to their purpose. This customer-centric brand aimed to provide consumers with everything they wanted to buy online, and it did just that.
The company provides not only a wide selection of items to purchase but also a seamless shopping experience, from pricing to delivery.
What made Amazon stand out was its Prime memberships and voice assistants. With their continuous innovation, they have provided exceptional customer service that remains unmatched by competitors.
Becky Moore, Founder, Global Grasshopper
Counter the Market Leader
If the leader in the market sells itself as established and stable, position your business as fresh and agile. My funeral home marketing company has differentiated itself as a group of marketers with experience in the most competitive industries.
That differentiates us from the other companies that focus on their deep ties to the funeral industry and focus less on their marketing expertise. Where they zig, we zag, and that’s been great for our brand.
Temmo Kinoshita, Co-founder, Lindenwood Marketing
Partner With Other Businesses
Partnering with other businesses can be a great way to differentiate your business from competitors in the market. By doing this, you can offer complementary products or services. This can expand your customer base and provide additional value to your existing customers. This also helps to enhance your brand image.
David Bui, Director and Automotive Lead Specialist, Schmicko
Create a Unique Value Proposition
Identify and focus on your unique value proposition. This means understanding the specific benefits that your product or service provides to customers that your competitors do not offer or cannot match.
To develop your unique value proposition, you can start by analyzing your target market and their needs. Then, consider what sets your business apart from your competitors. This might include factors like superior product quality, faster delivery times, better customer service, or a unique approach to solving a particular problem.
Once you’ve identified your unique value proposition, be sure to communicate it clearly to your target audience through your marketing and branding efforts. This will help differentiate your business from competitors and attract customers who value what you offer. Remember to continually assess and adjust your value proposition as the market and customer needs change.
Harry Boxhall, Freelance SEO Consultant, Boxhall Marketing
Focus on Customer Experience
Providing a positive customer experience is crucial for the success of any business. Customers are not just looking for a product or service; they are looking for an experience. They want to feel valued and appreciated by the companies they choose to interact with. Therefore, focusing on customer experience is a powerful way to differentiate your business from competitors.
Ensuring that your customers have a positive experience from the moment they interact with your business until the end of their purchase journey is key, which involves taking care of their needs and wants, providing timely responses, and meeting or exceeding their expectations.
One way to enhance customer experience is through personalized service. Personalization involves understanding your customers’ needs, preferences, and behaviors and tailoring your offerings to meet their unique requirements.
Customers may forget what you said or did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
Veruska Anconitano, Multilingual SEO and Localization Consultant
Conduct a Strong Competitor Analysis
An essential tip for differentiating yourself from the market is to do outstanding competitor research, which allows you to identify opportunities. Through this method, you can also find product gaps in your competitors’ offerings.
You should first be asking yourself, “What are the leaders in the market doing that I’m not?” You might stumble upon some findings, such as their product offerings, content, engagements on their social media websites and website aesthetics, customer satisfaction levels and reviews, and SEO research to see what type of their content does best.
This is just a list to start, but you also want to figure out which are the most impactful parts of your business and the most influential ones in consumers’ purchasing decisions. Once these are identified, you will know which areas of your competitors’ presence to look into.
Aaron Winston, Strategy Director, Express Legal Funding