September 30, 2015
Business Cut Through – What it Takes to Stand Out
Competition is everywhere. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, what business you run, there will always be a plethora of other businesses just like or similar to yours. Customers are also becoming more and more savvy to this, particularly when it comes to reviewing and comparing the options that are available at their fingertips. With more competition and highly meticulous shoppers, what can you do to stand out?
There are three common themes that come up when looking at successful cut-through businesses. These are 1) companies that have a unique value proposition 2) they deliver on their promise and 3) they market their product or service extremely well.
Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
A unique value proposition is a promise to bring value to the customer through the product’s features or service. It usually is represented in the form of a statement or statements that summarise the reason(s) why the product and/or service is valuable and special – aka why customers should purchase it. Below are some essential questions to ask when identifying and articulating (often forgotten!) your UVP.
- Who is your target market? – The value proposition should be aimed at meeting the needs of certain or specific groups of people within an industry.
- What needs will your product/service satisfy? – The product or service is designed to meet a specific need of the customer.
- Who are your competitors and what do they offer? – The product or service should be different, ideally better in specific areas, than those offered by the competitor.
Sometimes, the UVP is mistaken for a slogan. What it really looks like is a blurb or set of points that clearly communicate the value of the product/service/brand. Examples of compelling one line UVPs are below.
“One for one- With every product you purchase, TOMS will help a person in need. One for One.”
“Your life’s work- For everything you do, Evernote is the workplace to get it done.”
“Skype keeps the world talking. Call, message and share whatever you want for free.”
“Elegantly simple email marketing- Campaign monitor makes it radically easy to create, send and measure the impact of your email marketing campaigns.”
Execute your Promise
The thing about a UVP is that it doesn’t really mean anything unless you deliver. Below are the three most important things to aim for when carrying out your promise.
- Quality– There is no doubt that quality is high on the list of the things customers look for in products. Quality goods and services (relative to the price point) satisfy customers and encourage them to become loyal to your business.
- Value for Money- Whether or not the economy is thriving or takes a downturn; one thing that is constant is the desire of customers to get bang for their buck. Customers want to know that their hard earned money will be worth it regardless of the price.
- Customer Service– People like to hear and feel that they are important. Having a customer-centric business is one of the most powerful ways of generating word-of-mouth, a free and most effective marketing tool. Your product may not be the best but if your customer service is superb, it can be enough to keep them coming back.
Market it Well
So you have a compelling UVP and you execute your promise to a T, but without marketing your product/ service, you may well disappear into the background and even worse, be forgotten. To ensure that your product/service stays top-of-mind with your customers, consider these marketing strategies.
- Consistent Branding– It is important to display consistent branding across all marketing channels. The purpose of which is to differentiate from competitors, increase customer recognition, and reinforce brand identity.
- Establish an Effective Online Presence- More and more market studies show that digital marketing can no longer be ignored by small businesses. A study conducted by Google and Shopper Science found that shoppers are most likely to switch from ‘undecided’ to ‘decided’ while researching online. To have an effective online presence it’s about determining the where, when and how your customers look for information and then presenting them with the right ‘what’ regarding your product or service information at those critical research points.
- Collaborate with Influencers- Influencers are individuals who have the ability to affect the actions or behaviours of people. Since these influencers are viewed by people as credible sources of information, the tendency is to listen to their suggestions and opinions. Collaborating with influencers can potentially increase brand awareness and transfer credibility if you’re in a particularly difficult market to crack.
With the myriad of competition out there, there is a level of thought and effort necessary to ensure that your product or service cuts through the clutter. First, you must determine your unique value proposition by asking who your customer is, what the problem your product will solve and how this will be achieved. Second, you must deliver on your promise remembering to give importance to quality, customer service and value for money. Lastly, you must come up with an excellent marketing strategy that includes consistent branding with a clear message, an effective and considered approach to your online presence and the ability to leverage the influence of others for increased product/service value and brand reputation.
These are by no means exhaustive, but they offer a place to start! If there are any other approaches you or your business employ to ensure you stand out, please share them in the comments below.