Have a Different Product
One way to
be different is to make your product different, like Volkswagen did. When
American manufacturers were making big, slick cars with V8s, VW
was making an ugly small car with a small four cylinder engine. Your product can be bigger, smaller, shaped differently, or have extra
features. It could have different packaging. Your service can be
faster, better hours, better quality, more economical, or
whatever. Just different.
Your New Market
Making your product
different may also make it more expensive. You may have created a
new market position, or moved from a crowded one to one with
little or no competition. Being different could mean you don't
have to be the cheapest guy on the block. You might actually be
able to make a good profit on something. If your different
product sells for the same price as the "un-different"
ones, your sales might increase.
The Times, They
"And the first
one now/Will later be last/For the times they are a-changin'."
The words of Bob Dylan are true in marketing. If
your product starts taking sales away from your competitors, they
may eventually start doing what you are doing, and you may lose
your market position.
When you have
something different, hit the market hard and fast before you have
competition. Use e-mail and other media to get the word out. Get
established in the consumers' minds as the market leader before
you have to fight for it.
The ideal way to be
different is to have something your competitors cannot easily
duplicate, like having a patent, or having special manufacturing
equipment that they do not have and cannot easily acquire. While
McDonalds was frying hamburgers, Burger King advertised that
theirs were grilled, not fried. McDonalds could not change the
way they cooked very easily. Don't think that your competitors
will sit still if you start taking their customers. But don't do
what Coca Cola did.
Probably the worst
thing you can do, is to take a product that is different and make
it like your competitor's. This is what Coca Cola did when they
came out with New Coke. They took their extraordinarily
popular product and made it taste more like Pepsi, because they
were losing market share to Pepsi. Doing so gave their loyal
customers, who like Coke more than Pepsi, the choice of either
drinking Pepsi, or drinking something that tasted like Pepsi. New
Coke backfired and Coca Cola had to put the original Coke back on
the market (now called "Classic").
I Like You
Because You're Different
If you make changes
in your products or service, you may lose some customers, but you
potentially can gain many new ones. I only use one brand of many
products, and have only one supplier of many services I use, so
the one I perceive as better is the one I use. Do things that
will differentiate you product or service from the others, and
appeal the those who like what you promote.
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