What you think makes you special, might not actually be what makes you special.
When we start working with any new business, we always start with the basics. What makes you special and who is your ideal customer? It’s not rocket science, but we’re all about making marketing understandable and straight forward. We’re always surprised by how many companies focus on the tactics like which key phrases they should be optimised for or how many likes they have of Facebook when they don’t have good answers for some of the basics.
Some recent examples of answers to ‘What makes you special?’ are:
“We’re a charity”
“We care about our customers.”
“Our product has 10 times more widgets than the competition.”
“We have 5 services under one roof.”
“We treat our clients like they’re part of our team.”
The truth is; NO ONE CARES.
It’s not a revelation to say that in marketing and sales, you have to focus on the benefits not the features. The above few statements are trying to do just that, they aren’t focusing on exactly what they do, but more on HOW they do it. However, in doing this, business owners can fall into an all too common trap of promoting what they think the customer cares about, without truly getting into their customers’ heads and focusing on the thing that matters the most to them.
You have to remember the golden rule; It’s not about you! The customer is the hero, it’s their story, you’re just trying to be part of it.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again - you have to Think Like Your Customer*.
Once you get into the head of your customer you’ll be able to understand how the thing that makes you special impacts them and you may even realise that what you thought made you special, isn’t the main reason clients love you.
The simplest way to understand this is to just ask them. From simple surveys, to a conversation following a meeting or visit, it’s very easy to get a customer to tell you why they buy from you.
In my Marketing Agency, I used to always promote the fact that we worked very closely with our clients. We had ‘SIDE BY SIDE’ written on the board room wall and we constantly encouraged our team to get under the skin of every business we worked with. During an exercise in refreshing our values, I asked some clients what it was they loved about us. The answers included; “You make us look good.”, “You come up with great ideas.”, “You really care about the results you get.”. Not one person said, because you treat our business like it’s your business. In reality, ‘Side By Side’ was a vehicle to deliver the results, the ideas and to make our clients look good. We were marketing what we perceived to be a benefit, but it was not actually the thing the clients were motivated by.
Let your customer decide what makes you special
Whilst being a non-for-profit is a commendable fact, in isolation, it has no real benefit to the client.
Now, when you say, “100% of our profit is used to improve the lives of those in need”, we’re listening.
If you state; “We don’t have shareholders, so we’re not driven by profit and can give you a great price,” you have our interest.
It’s absolutely crucial to properly understand what it is that the customer wants from your business. What are their values, needs, wants and purchase drivers.
Whilst having 10 times more widgets that the competition sounds fantastic, does it actually matter? How will the extra widgets impact the customers’ life? Do they actually need them? Why does caring about your customer benefit them? Is it something they actually want? We don’t mind that Amazon doesn’t really care about us, they give us cheap products with fast delivery, we don’t mind if they don’t remember our birthday (although they absolutely do).
Every business has that something that makes them special. It might not be a traditional ‘Unique Selling Point’, but usually it’s a combination of great things that when added together make you stand out from the crowd. Your goal has to be to understand that combination and then check that it genuinely provides a benefit to your ideal customer.
*If you need some help with this, check out our free eBook