How to Differentiate Your Brand in Today’s Market

August 14, 2014   /   by  Diane Callihan

Examples to Help You Stand Out From the Crowd

In today’s market, competition is stiff. It’s hard to stand out. What used to be key differentiators, like personalized customer service or high quality products, doesn’t impress buyers anymore. Everybody “cares about their customers”. It’s not a differentiator.

If you want to differentiate your brand from the the competition, it’s going to take a bit more effort than that. You’ve got to dig deep.

It’s not an easy thing to do though, and it’s even harder to explain. So, rather than give a list of generic advice, I thought it would be better to provide some real examples - starting with my business.

The Digital Marketing Industry is Brutal

Sometimes, I don’t know if a more competitive industry exists!

Since 2008, it seems that everyone has become a digital marketing expert, from giant ad agencies and public relations firms, to web designers and web developers across the globe. We’re contending with everyone – and it can be tough.

One reason is because not everyone needs our services. Client opportunities are slim.

And with today’s growing technology, many of our would-be clients are able to purchase web services for next to nothing. The Internet is packed full of $10 web design templates, $7 web hosting fees, and an endless number of free content management systems and plugins.

So what ends up happening is a lot of firms are competing for the same business, which tempts many of us to lower our prices.

But we all know competing on price is a fool’s game. You’ll never win, even if you pick up a new client. So, we don’t play it.

Instead, we focus on these seven characteristics that set us above the rest:

  1. Experienced Project Team – We don’t bloat our team with sales people, VP’s or interns. We just hire experts. Our most junior level staff has 12 years of experience, and together we have a track record of digital success demonstrated through client testimonials, case studies and a diverse digital marketing portfolio.
  2. Lead with Creative – Our creative work is pixel-perfect and award-winning material, but that’s only half the story. As artists, we approach problems with a fresh perspective. We live in a world where anything is possible, and our solutions reflect that same level of flexibility and ingenuity.
  3. Proven Strategies, Not Shiny Objects – Even though we’re creative types, we’re level headed. We don’t get caught up in the next best thing, whether it’s a tactic or a tool. That means we don’t follow marketing trends and we certainly don’t sell marketing tools – not our own, and not someone else’s. That allows us to give unbiased advice based on proven strategies.
  4. Third Party Integration Experts – Since we aren’t tool specific, we’ve spent the last 8 years integrating with almost every CMS, CRM, e-commerce, e-mail, and marketing automation tool available. While other agencies have been selling and supporting their own proprietary systems, we’ve been building solutions around industry leading software.
  5. No Outsourcing – And we’ve achieved all of this without outsourcing. Traditional ad agencies outsource development services, while web companies outsource creative and front-end development services. We outsource nothing.
  6. No Retainers – We don’t lock our clients into long-term contracts. Instead, we bill based on project work. That means we have to earn our money, month after month. And if we want a new project, well then, we better make somebody happy. The hustle keeps us hungry, pushing the limits and focused on results.
  7. 86 Change Orders – We understand two important things about the digital world: it’s always changing, and time is of the essence. That means we have to respond quickly to make changes and try new things. We won’t slow you down with senseless change orders. Instead, flexibility is built into our project costs so we can keep on moving and shaking.

These are the characteristics that make our digital agency different from the rest. And as you can see, we don’t really mention that we have great customer service, stay within budgets, meet deadlines, adhere to web best practices or exceed expectations.

Yes, those things make us great – but they don’t make us different. That’s because most every other agency claims the same thing too.

A differentiator is something that only your business can claim.

So go ahead. Tell me what makes your business different in the comments below.

Diane Callihan

Diane Callihan

With more than 20 years of experience writing for some of the country’s top brands, Diane helped to shape Roger West’s content strategy, lead generation, and PR efforts as Director of Marketing. She currently serves as President of Callihan Content Creation.