Unless it’s selling a pure commodity, every successful business has figured out a way to differentiate itself from its competition. That is, it has answered the question of, “how is my product or service different and therefore better, than everyone else’s and here’s why should you buy from me.” Much of the time, a business’s differentiation strategy is very direct: Wal-Mart differentiates itself with low prices and that’s about it. In other cases, the differentiation is more subtle: “Chevy Runs Deep” is meant to invoke a sense of history and tradition versus its competition.
Here’s an excellent example of differentiation close to our industry. This plumbing business has established itself as the expert (see last week’s post, Be the expert) on older homes. Now, my guess is that most experienced plumbing contractors can handle the challenges of an older home just fine. But, as a consumer, I may not know that. What makes this tactic even more effective is that this contractor is not located in a newly constructed suburb, but in an area where there are many older, classic homes. He’s matching his marketing to the market. As a consumer, if I need a plumbing contractor and I have an older home, I’d better call them. After all, I need an expert, not just any plumber.
As a water systems contractor, how are you differentiating yourself from your competition? The list of ways to do it is long. But, as a business owner, if you don’t, you’re just like everyone else.