Most people who have gone through a marketing course in school have heard the term Unique Selling Proposition, and have been told that being unique is the trick to having a brand stand out from its competition. Don’t get me wrong, standing out is never a bad thing! But the Unique Selling Proposition falls short in one key area: anything that is truly unique can be replicated.
If you do anything that is specifically unique, you`ll eventually catch the eye of someone who can do the same thing cheaper, faster or better, and suddenly, there goes your market share. What is dramatically more effective than being unique is to have an uncommon offering, or doing something others are doing, in a way that others are not.
Think about it this way: Coca Cola, at the end of the day, has a very similar product to other off-brand cola products, that you can buy for significantly less. While their offerings are similar, there is a big difference in their execution, or the way they position themselves in the marketplace.
Coke doesn’t say “we make the best cola.” Instead, it markets itself by saying that it is synonymous with happiness. Coca Cola has uncovered its Inside Advantage: if they connect their brand with everything to do with celebration, when people want to celebrate, they’ll reach for a Coke.
Why Should I Unearth My Inside Advantage:
According to Robert Bloom’s bestselling book “Inside Advantage”, understanding your Inside Advantage will help you come up with three key things for you businesses’ vision:
- What is your purpose?
How do you add value to people’s lives? Helping is better than selling. When you help people, they will automatically buy from you.
- What is your mission?
Why do you do what you do? When customers connect with your mission, they will flock to you over your competition.
- What are your core values?
You should hire and fire accordingly. When your company’s values are clear, employees can maintain your brand image.
At the end of the day it comes down to one key thing, and Sally Hogshead said it best: Different is better than better. What drives Coke’s products is not the fact that their products taste a bit better than the knock-offs, but instead the fact that they are seen as different. Different is a good thing. Different is something you can develop into an Inside Advantage.
Do you want your brand to be the giant Coca Cola, or the no-name brand? If you’re like me, and you agree that it would be better to stand out, you need to uncover your Inside Advantage.
The information below is based on a two-part webinar series delivered by Paul Tobey of Training Business Pros.
To access the Webinar Archive and stay in the know on the most cutting-edge digital marketing methods, join the Training Business Pros Gold Membership.
Very often companies do not know what makes them special in the marketplace. There are thousands of training companies in Toronto alone, so for us to grow beyond the competition, we had to discover what exactly makes us different. The same goes for your business. In order to establish your brand as a leader in your industry, you have to understand what sets you apart. In order to do that, you will want to:
1. Clearly define your core customer.
2. Be able to state with absolute clarity what you actually do.
3. Understand how you do what you do in an “uncommon way.”
4. Create a series of imaginative events to garner even greater attention.
Discovering your Inside Advantage is an ongoing process. Even if you think you have established exactly what it is you do, you will want to reconsider it with fresh eyes a few weeks or months down the road.
After a lengthy analysis of our own company, and a process that took us more than six months, we came up with the following statement as our Inside Advantage:
We help established businesses adopt proven digital marketing solutions.
That was the Inside Advantage statement that came out of working on four key exercises, which we’ll guide you through now:
1. Who Do You Serve?
First, create a vivid picture in your head of who your customers are and create a list. List the kinds of customers who you share with your competitors. Include in your list your prospects, not just your favourite type of client, but any customers that come to mind. These are customers that you currently have, or customers that you would like to have customer that you have not yet acquired.
We started with this list:
- Established businesses
- People who need new online marketing systems
- Service companies
- Event Planners
- Information peddlers
- Direct to consumer
- Public Speakers
Once you have a list, and have started to whittle it down a bit in your mind, create a vivid picture in your head of who your most valuable customer is, and keep this virtual person clearly in your mind. Add these potential customers that are very much like or similar to your current most important customers.
You’re going to want to carefully examine your list to circle the targets that best represent your current customers and the potential customers you’d like to recruit in the next few years. Be realistic but also remain enthusiastically ambitious.
Focus on your highest priority targets. You’re not looking for a laundry list of various customer types, but rather a specific individual or company who you would love to become your core customer.
Our Core Clients Were:
- Established businesses
- People who need new online marketing systems
- Small-Medium Enterprise
From that point choose two or three words that accurately describe them. Try to avoid generic ways of characterizing these people or businesses. Then settle on a brief description that you like the best. You may at first come up with several descriptions and then refine them down to just one.
Try to define your customer based on their demographic. You’ll want to describe what they need, what they want, desire, demand or even prefer. We’re trying to find clear words that express what the company or individual is looking for in context of what it is we do for them. Use that to choose an action word, such as we: help, serve, give, provide etc.
Matthew: We empower or help educators engage their students and improve academic outcomes.
Ron: We help brides to be look their very best for their big day.
Rosemary: We help established discrete manufacturers manage their operations efficiently.
Luci: We help sellers in Toronto sell their homes fast and with the best terms possible.
Simone: We help people get rid of pain and establish a proven program to remain pain-free.
The biggest suggestion we had from there was to ensure you had a complete picture in mind. “People” is very general. Only by considering the real demographics of these “people” will you be able to identify your Inside Advantage. Make sure when determining your “who” that every word is meaningful and necessary. You must edit where required to keep it brief and contextually sound. Ensure you have a lot of clarity.
To Understand Your Who, Consider:
- Is there a specific age group you serve?
- Do you skew male or female?
- What is the financial status of your core client?
Ask yourself: is it simple? Or is it too complex for even my own target audience to understand? If they don’t understand your messaging, they won’t be able to identify themselves in it. Answering any of these questions would improve your ability to break into that market.
2. What Do You Do?
Begin with a thorough review of the “who” that you described in part one.
Next (and this is really important) do not start drafting the entire description of your uncommon offering right away. Make a list of all the potential offerings that you have in your business. This is not just your favourites, and certainly not those you wish you had, or want to have in the future. Your list must be realistic as well as comprehensive.
For example, we provide:
- Advanced digital marketing training.
- Deep Dive Implementation.
- Lead Capture and Conversion.
- Digital Marketing and Sales Certification.
- Adwords and Facebook Ads management.
- Online membership program for marketing information.
- Infusionsoft training and implementation.
- Private consulting and coaching.
- Live stream video facility.
- Rent our facility to other presenters and training companies.
- Templatized speaker training. Psychology. Suggestology.
- Publish and distribute books.
- Lead capture campaigns.
- Produce live events (e.g. Ultimate Wealth Weekend).
You will want to ask yourself these six questions about each of these offerings that made your short list:
- Is it already owned, in whole or in part, by a competitor? Eliminate any option that is not uncommon.
- Is it discrete? Is it really different from the others on your list or is it saying the same thing in another way? Eliminate all potential duplications.
- Could one of the things in your list be combined with another thing on the list to make a single more powerful offering? However, you shouldn’t make the mistake of creating a combined offer that is more complex and less clear. You want to eliminate potential offerings that are not compelling enough to stand alone.
- Will it stand the test of time or is its appeal based on something that is trendy or short-lived? You must eliminate any offering that will not stand the test of time.
- Of the remaining options, which offer will enable you to deliver the most meaningful and beneficial experience at every customer touch point?
- Of the options that remain is there one that absolutely gives the supreme emotional assurance to your most valued customers?
The goal is to find one which allows you to keep customers loyal to your company. If so this is very likely your “uncommon offering” and ultimately your Inside Advantage.
Here Are Some Examples of “Who” and “What” Statements:
- West Coast Golf Products Retailer: Our core client is an affluent, avid golfer who constantly seeks a better golfing experience. Their what statement is expert advice, customized assistance, and a passion for helping clients improve their game.
- A Global Technology Provider: Our core client is a global business enterprise that seeks the expert advice of a technology provider that understands its business. We provide trusting partnership that ensures operational efficiency and valuable intelligence from its customer’s technology investment.
- A Non-Profit Social Services Organization: We serve elementary school teachers up to the highest echelons of those that make decisions for learning products. Their what is: We create K-6 education software that helps with reading and math skills.
3. How Do You Do What You Do?
Your “how” statement is the persuasive strategy that will convince your core customer to buy your uncommon offering versus all other competitive offerings.
Here is what you will want to do to develop your “how” statement.
- You really should begin by reviewing your “who” and “what” statements from the first part of this strategy session and identify any sort of questions that come to mind.
- Don’t try to immediately draft up a persuasive strategy to sell to your customers. Instead put your core customer and uncommon offering statements right in front of you and really consider them.
- Look at each and every word of those two statements. Before you move on, you might tweak a word or two to be crystal clear. This is an ongoing process, which requires a good deal of revision.
- If you’ve done a truly great job on your “who” and your “what” statements, the idea for “how” may become immediately apparent, but in most cases it will take some real thinking and time to come up with a positive solution for this particular statement.
- “How” is all about taking some kind of action. That action will connect your “what” and your “who.” Every “how” statement must begin with a verb. For example: Own, capture, give, originate, create, transform, establish, demonstrate… etc.
Two of the main questions that relate to your “how” are:
- Is it a concept or methodology that you will enable you to sell your “what” to your “who?”
- Ask anyone who is involved with your company, whether that’s a salesperson, a marketer or even a subcontractor, whether they feel confident that this strategy will work and if it is a message they can consistently deliver.
Consider These How Statements:
Full Service IT Company: Improve business processes with full-service selling, implementation, servicing and support of ERP.
Surveying Company: Conduct and publish a comprehensive survey of our community’s changing needs every two years.
West Coast Golf Products Retailer: Helping golfing enthusiasts achieve and reach their individual goals.
A Prominent Wealth Management Firm: Demonstrate the value of our services to clients and those that influence them, to earn their loyalty and advocacy with prospective clients.
A Non-Profit Social Services Organization: Helping educators improve student’s math and reading skills via a powerful tracking system.
4: OWN IT!
This is a series of imaginative acts that will celebrate your uncommon offering and make it well known to your core customer. Remember: Different is better than better.
Some of the things that we have developed for our “own it.”
- A fully backlit 100% HD live stream facility.
- A series of 22 min. high-level, professionally produced videos with engaging and state-of-the-art content.
- Our training is 100% geared towards engaging the audience and making learning fun.
- We host an annual event called Ultimate Wealth Weekend where we bring high-level speakers in to talk about what’s working in the current marketplace.
Imaginative acts will require that you risk something. You have to put something out there into the world, and there are always risks with putting it out there, but I guarantee you this: you will never regret the risks you take. You’ll only regret the ones you do not.
Matthew talks about one of their competitors called Study Island, and how they set themselves apart with an “own it” event. They held a contest where they asked teachers to decorate their classroom in an island theme and take pictures that were shared on social media.
Why Invest Time In Uncovering Your Inside Advantage?
It is only by uncovering what makes you different from your closest competition that you will be able to capture a greater market share. If you want your business to scale up, you need a secure foundation upon which to build.
If you want assistance with uncovering your own Inside Advantage, you may want to consider our Sales Funnel Implementation, where we work with your team to uncover what it is you do better than anyone else, and help you integrate that into your marketing.
For more content like this, delivered in a live, engaging webinar format, join our Training Business Pros Gold Membership, where we offer you 2 group coaching calls a month with our team of digital marketing experts, high value information and discounts on our live training courses. Find out more.
Remember that at the end of the day, no matter what your product or service is, your Inside Advantage is what will make your company profitable. If you want to succeed, build upon the notes you’ve taken today. Revisit the information on a regular basis until you’ve honed in on what sets you apart. You will be stunned when you discover how effective it is in increasing your brand’s value.