Perhaps the most important marketing step any business can take is to discover a way to be different.


photo credit: bernat… via photopin cc

Different is doing something like no other. Different is creating your own category. Different is exceeding people’s chronically low expectations. Different is marketing in a way that makes people take notice.

Most of the time marketers seem to be in a race for sameness and this is what leads to low profits and that sinking feeling that somehow your business is stuck.

Now, if I’ve got your attention let me add this.

If you want to build a truly fulfilling business you’ve got to be different and remarkable at the same time.

And here’s the tough part. You’re probably pretty remarkable already, but it’s just that you’re remarkable at something everyone else claims. I know you do better work and provide better service than anyone in your industry – heck, your existing clients know this too, but those are expectations that everyone can boast.

Testing different

Don’t believe me? Try this. Go to your top five competitors and copy the first bit of content you encounter on their website onto a blank document. Do the same for your own site. Now, on this document, black out the names or any reference to the name of the business represented.

Take a look at what remains. Can you tell one from another? Can you even identify your business on this page anymore? Feeling brave? Pass this around the office and see how your staff does. Pass this to your best customers and see how they do.

Experience tells me that this should cement once and for all the opportunity that exists for your business to take a different path.

Stop paying attention to your competitors it will only lead to making you look the same.

Finding different

The source of your best different strategy is your customers.

I know you know what sets you apart from the pack, but your customers know what sets you apart in the ways that matter to them.

Sure, they love your great experience and knowledge, but what they really love is that you call them back immediately when they have a question.

Of course they love your wide selection of products, but what they really love is that you remember their name and what they bought the last time them came in.

The craftsmanship of your carpenters is second to none, but the fact that they clean up the job site every day is what rocks your customer’s world.

Sit down with your best customers and find out what they think you do that’s different. Listen for stories about times you did something different. Those stories are your key to carving out your difference. Take that gift and don’t ever be like everyone else again.

Making it remarkable

When you make a decision to be different, and that decision is fueled by the real world validation of your customers, then you simply take that knowledge and make fortifying that difference and turning it into the thing that makes your business remarkable your primary business objective.

Don’t shy away from your difference. Don’t think it’s too small or too odd or too unimportant sounding.

Make it your core message, make it the filter for every business decision and build business processes steeped in highlighting that difference.

If your people clean up the job site better than anyone else then show and tell the world and know that others will value that difference. Make that the thing your business is remarkable at doing.

If you remember a customer when they return to your store then build your entire business around that simple feeling of warmth that your business embodies. Make that the thing your business is remarkable at doing.

If you just happen to think it’s polite to quickly return calls and answer your customer’s concerns then broadcast that difference and build a company culture around what others might see as extreme customer attention. Make that the thing your business is remarkable at doing.

Now, let me give you the real payoff.

Companies that are different, that essentially have no competition for what they do in a remarkable way, charge a premium for what they do.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • brentmkelly

    John, great insight on such a simple, yet overlooked idea on how to stand out. it’s amazing how many businesses want to look and act like everyone else. Thanks.

  • Its a scary prospect to try and be different, you don’t want to alienate your audience but then you need to stand out to survive. We will be trying it.

  • Thing

    Would you rather have 50% of the world hate you and 50% of the world love you, or 100% of the world not care? Take the time to be different. Polarize the people, either they love you or they hate you and realize that 50% of the market is always better than 0%

  • Love this exercise of pasting your competitors’ copy into a word doc and playing the match game. Differentiation is very the first thing I work on with my marketing clients. There’s always something that makes you different, but it takes careful thinking to identify it and courage to talk about it.

  • Michael Bian

    Absolutely brilliant and simple post. I agree “The source of best different strategy is the customers.”


    Love it – both different and remarkable at the same time! That’s exactly what we aim for at the Coach Approach, and why we continue to use a 2-person team to facilitate our corporate training workshops … it’s part of our trademark difference. Clients love the variety of the presenter’s styles and say consistently that this contributes to the remarkable value they receive 🙂

  • SR_MouldTech

    Thanks for a good read.

    Please review :
    Appreciate your support.