For over 8 years I am in IT business. One of the hardest and most competitive business areas. In Poland is over 60 000 companies working in IT services. It is extremely hard to differentiate yourself with products you sell. So what can we do to differentiate our company if we sell the same products as the others?
Imagine that we all sell the same product, all companies as one the same. How would you compete? Is the price the only thing you can compete? The reality is not so far from that. Even if as an expert you see the difference for many customers a lot of products a the same and they compare them using the same criteria. Of course, you do not want to compete with the price as this will bring you to price war and soon we all will be earning pennies.
You can, of course, share your values, plant new trees in Amazonia or fight for woman rights. But which customer will tell you that will buy hardware from you for 50 000 euro because you are ECO company? Practice shows that money invested in brand marketing convert to sales only in a very limited way. There is much more to do with your brand recognition and things that will differentiate you from the other companies like yours.
It’s not just about being better. It’s about being different. YOU need to give people a reason to choose your business.
– Tom Abbott
If your company is in such situation you should reinvent your way to reach new customers and create totally new values of your company which will allow you to differentiate and keep high margins. I think that every company should focus on three main areas: brand awareness, unique services, and outstanding customer service. If your brand is not known and customers do not trust you even with the lowest price you won’t succeed. But if you have great brand recognition and you gained the trust of your customer they will buy even with a higher price than the market average.
Easy to say but much harder to do. As I mentioned many times in previous articles people are attacked with information and commercial from everywhere. To be noticed you need to do something different than your competition. Try to show your company from a different way – if you are running a serious business like a legal office or you are providing engineering service try to be funny and use different colors than customers would expect. According to Cisco research in near future, a great number of internet traffic will be from videos. Try to prepare for that and record short max 3 minutes videos. Remember that you have only 5 seconds to attract attention. If you don’t manage you can forget about it as engagement drops dramatically.
We live in social media times and a number of users is unbelievable. try to use as many as possible of them to build a huge customer base. Below you can find info about the number of monthly active users in 2016.
Here you can find full info-graphic prepared by Global Media Insight with more info about those media – LINK
Brand awareness is not enough to persuade the customer to change his current supplier. Brand awareness is only guaranteed for a customer that if he changes his mind he still will be working with known and trusted company. The first thing you should do is to check with your customer what needs do they have. How can you help them? The idea would be to create new products/ services where current products would be only part of full service. To create bundles which will stick customers to your company as they will be unique and changing those to other suppliers would take a lot of effort for customers. It is common to create bundles with similar products or complementary products. To be different think about creating totally different combinations.
One of Polish suppliers of energy added to their offer additional service of electric services 24h and general electronic service 24h. It was a great combination as I do not want to waste my time to look for an electrician when something goes wrong with power in my house or someone who will fix my washing machine. I just want to have it done. Think what is important for your customers and how you can help them with their issues. It is always more convenient for the customer to orders more service from one supplier and has only one point of contact in every important case.
It was topic of many of my articles but I will try to put it in a nutshell. You have to treat your customers as they are one of a kind. Remember that over 70% of customer experience is based how customer feels he is being treated. We are buying with our emotions. Show them real you and build long-term relationships. Loyal customers are more willing to buy even with higher price. Try to run rewards program or contact them directly via a social media channel. They will feel special to you.
People will forget what you said, people will forget wat you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
– Maya Angelou
Try to use multiple points of contact with your customers like social media, email, phone, live chat. Customers are willing to be in touch with brands and the faster the response is the bigger chance to convert opportunity to the customer. Sometimes customers can start chatting with you to change to the phone and finalize transaction using your website. This is an ideal connection of communication into one sales process.
You can not select only one of those. You can not make selective upgrades and wait for changes. You can not do the same all the time and expect different results. You need to differentiate your company from many other which do similar things. Give customers a reason to chose your company and you will see real benefits in business.