I hear a lot of small business owners (especially photographers) talking about how many competitors they have. As far as being a professional photographer, everyone who owns a nice digital camera is really capable of calling himself a professional. So it’s tempting to compete on price.
I was watching a show on CNBC late at night this weekend about the history of Coca-Cola. Having worked several years in marketing for Coca-Cola Enterprises, I am always fascinated by the marketing savvy of this company. I had forgotten that when Coke first started, everyone was blatantly copying them. There was even one brand called Coca-Nola who even copied the swoosh under the logo. So what did Coca-Cola do? They found a way to differentiate themselves from all of these knock-offs. Their response was not to bad mouth the competition but to push themselves to be better. The challenged their design team to create a bottle so unique that people could identify it in the dark. Coca-Cola realized over 100 years ago, that in order for them to survive and stay ahead of all of the copycats, they had to differentiate themselves. What are YOU doing to differentiate yourself?
Here are a few marketing ideas to get you thinking:
– Product. Think about offering a product that is more difficult to create, more expensive to purchase or more challenging to knock-off. The easier something is to create, the easier it is to copy. Put your efforts in making your products better and the clients who love what you do will be thrilled.
– Packaging. How is your product packaged? Do you deliver your products in a generic manila envelope? Like the Coca-Cola bottle, your packaging is part of your product. If you don’t differentiate it, you haven’t created the value necessary to charge what your products are worth.
– Experience. Are you creating an experience that your clients adore? We are in a tight economy but people will still spend their money if they are thrilled with the experience. If you give an experience unlike anything your clients can get anywhere else, they will be as loyal as a golden retriever. Look at what the folks at Disney have done.