No potluck for you

Happy 232nd birthday (2008) to all our U.S. readers! And a Happy pseudo-Friday—I know, it’s Thursday but this week, it’s my Friday. There is only 123 days left until election day… let’s remember this 4th the true meaning of WE THE PEOPLE and resolve to make a difference. Okay, off the soapbox…

The summer is officially here. It’s the time for parades, picnics, and BBQs… and the ever-popular phrase “What can I bring?”

Be more than potluck.

To carve out a distinct place in the market it is important to be more than just bologna (a commodity.) Present your company as a resource. Consider these key areas when defining your company as a resource:

  1. Product definition– What is the full range of product and service features that may be of interest to customers? Prioritize those interests from highest to lowest.
    How do these features benefit your customers? How will it change, improve or enhance their lives?
    Is it easy to learn and use, does it meet cost targets and have clearly defined quality standards?
    Consider if your product is enjoyable for your customers?
    Are there product options available that offer customers a range of choices? (Options can be an inexpensive solution to meet their needs and capture maximum value for the product.)
  2. Target Market and Customer Definition– Evaluate all possible markets then identify your best market to target. What are these customer’s needs and buying process?
    Will customers expect to use my product or service all the time, some of the time, only once?
    Do they buy based on price, service, features, performance, relationship, lifestyle or product name (brand)?
    Can you answer the number one customer question “What’s in it for ME?”
  3. Competitor Analysis– Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of competitive offerings in meeting the customer needs discovered in the proceeding three areas. Often it is the emotional connection that differentiates you from your competition. Strive to create positive customer beliefs. List what makes your company different and support your position. Is it your company or product skills, features, expertise, price, etc.

            What makes you different?
                + Your Competitor’s Relevant Positions
                + Your Most Unique Positions
                   Result: Difference

  1. Pricing and Value– Do research on the price ranges for your product. High priced or bargain? First Class or Coach, it’s always a choice. What options for pricing are present to improve customer acceptance and company profitability?  Download our Difference Discovery Matrix.

Keep the distinctions uncovered in these four areas in mind as you create your marketing messages. Communicate the value and the benefits of your product. What market position, product promises and company commitments can you nurture in the minds of customers to create positive customer beliefs?

Positive customer beliefs create brand loyalty and build lasting relationships. To create a lasting brand name you must say more to the consumer than your company and product features in your marketing messages. The loyalty developed through careful planning and consistency of your company message creates strong customer preference and can command premium pricing.

An example of customer loyalty and premium pricing is Apple Computer. The “Think Different” tagline is a powerful market statement about whom Apple Computer is trying to attract. Creating a clear sense of separation from “the others” is what you accomplish when you understand your uniqueness and present to your target market a consistent attitude, message and promise.

What are you bringing to the party that no one else does?

Have a great day in whatever your adventure,
To Success! To Life!
Sharon

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  1. Amethyst Susan

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