The slightly scary way to differentiate your business

Being safe makes it difficult to really differentiate yourself from your competitors. You might have to do something a little scary to position your business in a meaningful and memorable way. Nervous? Good! You should be…

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Often when I ask clients, “what differentiates you from your competition?” They’ll say something like, “We provide better service.”

Now that’s admirable, but not really memorable. And it’s kind of a bit bland and wishy-washy, actually.

So do you want to be able to answer that question better? Let’s have a look at that today.

G’day, I’m Jason Foss.

So how do we take your generic “we provide better service” point of difference and make it something really meaningful and memorable to your customers?

Today we’re going to go through a pretty famous example of the technique that I’m going to go through. And at the end, there’ll be a challenge as well, so stick around and make sure you take part in that.

So the famous, well it’s famous if you’re old enough, example we’re gonna look at today is Domino’s pizza, their “pizza delivered 30 minutes or it’s free” offer.

This is a really good example of drilling down and getting very specific about what your point of difference is. And that’s really the main technique we’re looking at, drilling down and being really specific.

So I don’t know exactly what happened in Domino’s boardroom, but we’ll just imagine we’re a fly on the wall and they’re sitting around the table there, figuring out what makes them different from their competition; why would somebody choose them? And they start where a lot of businesses start with is oh, you know, we just provide better service. So at that point in time, we can start kicking that idea around.

What does better service actually mean to their customers, to your customers?

Now, in the pizza delivery business, better service becomes fast, fast delivery. You know, if you’ve ordered a pizza, you don’t really wanna sit around and be waiting for it forever. So in practical terms, providing better service means delivering it faster.

Now, straight away, once you be a bit more specific with what “better service” actually means to your customer, you’ve got something more meaningful and better straight up.

But Domino’s, didn’t really stop there, did they?

They then wrapped a guarantee or a risk reversal around that: pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free.

Now that whole campaign and offer was not without its issues, but it’s a really good example of being really specific about drilling down and being really specific about what that high-level thing means at the coalface to your customer. I mean, that one was such a good example that even years after they’ve stopped running it, we still remember it. And it really decimated their rivals, it really put a big gap between them and everybody else.

So here’s my challenge to you: pick a high-level idea or a high-level concept that you believe you’re different or better than your competition in.

It could be quality of service, or service. It could be quality of your product, it could be your staff, it could be your location, it could be your price. It could be, you know, a bunch of different potential high-level things.

Pick one of those and then drill down, like what does mean to our customer?

What would you need to do really specifically to make your customer believe that that were true?

Bonus points if you manage to come up with some kind of guarantee or risk reversal on the odd chance that you can’t deliver on that.

Now, you might get somewhere that’s a little bit scary with this, and that’s a good place to be because if that’s where you are, your competition is unlikely to follow you there.

If you haven’t got to a place that scares you a little bit, go deeper, be more specific, be braver.

And when you get to a point that makes you a little bit nervous, that makes you twitch a little, you might have gone far enough. You might have just landed on a winning point of difference, something that will really make your customers pay attention.

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