Answering the Biggest Question in Marketing

By Jack LaRue

"Why should I do business with you instead of somebody else?"
 
This might be the most important question in marketing, and the answer is one of the most useful tools in marketing - your differentiator. It's the one thing that sets your firm apart from all the others out there, an essential element that can set the direction of all your marketing and branding efforts. Does your firm have one?
 
When I ask firms whether they have a differentiator, most say they do. But unfortunately, almost everyone I talk to uses the same one: "We provide excellent customer service." This might have been a good differentiator at one time, but these days, so many firms use it that it has ceased to be effective.
 
The good news is that if everyone else is using the same positioning, it's easy for you to stand out. Just give a little thought to exactly what it is that allows you to offer such good customer service. Are you friendlier than most firms? More tech-savvy? Maybe you're particularly knowledgeable about tax issues. Or perhaps you specialize in a certain sized business or industry. Your choices are endless. Just find something that speaks more precisely to the expertise or personality of your firm.
 
One way to help decide on your firm's positioning is to imagine yourself at a networking event. You overhear someone talking about your firm. They say, "ABC Accounting Firm. Yes, they're the [blank] firm." Now, fill in the blank. What's the one thing, top of mind, that you want people to think about your firm? That's your differentiator.
 
An important thing to remember about your differentiator is that it essentially amounts to a promise between you and prospective customers. You want to make sure you're able to deliver on that promise after you get the business. So be sure that your differentiator makes a true, meaningful statement about the way you do business.
 
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About the author:
Jack LaRue is the senior vice president, myPay Solutions, at Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting.
 

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