Avoiding "Me Too" Marketing with a
by Marcia Yudkin
When I was probing a client on what made his business
special, he replied, "Actually, I'm just like everyone
else. What's wrong with that? I'll just be another burger
But with a "me too" presentation and no distinctiveness,
your firm becomes harder to remember, harder to recommend
and difficult to market in a focused way. Why create such
Instead, select something appealing for customers around
which to create your identity. Possibilities are endless.
Your key differentiator might be:
Personality (humorous, friendly, frank, drill-sergeant
disciplinarian, motherly, non-judgmental). Don't assume
that what appeals to you most also appeals most to your
target market. For instance, while you might enjoy
associating with individuals who have a joke for every
occasion, many clients might not like this quality in a
surgeon, an accountant or a fitness trainer.
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On the other
hand, since personality transplants haven't been perfected
yet, the image for your firm should more or less match the
people working in it. Even so, everyone has more than one
side or tendency, and the idea here is to choose a quality
that sets you apart from competitors and has attracting
power for your target market.
Values (respect for tradition, pet-friendly, honesty
above all). A friend owns a bed-and-breakfast inn that
serves only organic food. This appeals to people who hold
certain beliefs about what is good to eat and who prefer
not to compromise those beliefs while traveling. Likewise,
you might be selling office supplies but set yourself apart
from the pack by letting it be known that you donate excess
or discontinued inventory to a local homeless shelter.
Specialization (burgers for meat lovers or for dieters).
Folks who like juicy, tasty hamburgers will go out of their
way for yours if you explain how yours differ from those at
fast-food joints. If you're a financial advisor, working
primarily with women, or with women business owners, or
with widows increases the interest of members of those
groups in doing business with you.
Price (lowest, highest, depending on results).
Price-consciousness doesn't always favor bargains. Some
people shopping for gifts or service providers prefer
top-drawer pricing because it implies quality, prestige or
Relationship (constant contact, distant but on-call).
You can stand apart from competitors by being the one who
proactively checks in with clients and returns all phone
calls within an hour. Or you can set yourself up as the
expert who will never schmooze or go out to lunch with
clients, but work hard to save their neck when trouble
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Experience (first in Philadelphia, new and fresh, in
business since 1886). Years ago, when I asked an
Memphis-based communications consultant what distinguished
her from competitors, she had a terrific answer: "There
are people here who understand technology, but they don't
know Memphis. Mine is the only communications firm that
understands technology and knows Memphis inside out - I've
been here for 25 years."
Method of working (speedy, methodical, creative). I'm
not just another marketing consultant, since I emphasize
that my forte is creative marketing. If you're a web
designer, perhaps your specialty is impossible deadlines -
or slower production but a guarantee of no bugginess and no
When you're just another burger place, you're a replaceable
commodity, enduring mediocre sales and having to fight for
new and repeat business. With a distinct identity, there's
a compelling reason for your ideal clients to hire you
rather than those #&%$@* competitors.
Copyright 2002 Marcia Yudkin.
All rights reserved.
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