Four Levels of Marketplace Distinction

In my last post, Purpose & the P&L, I alluded to how demand creation and the Attraction model are partially forged, and challenged a few universally accepted words and terms that have become not only prevalent but are often at the root of poor PRG performance.

Let’s begin.

  1. Strengths. Similar to armpits, most companies say they have these, and all of them usually stink.  In my keynote addresses, I’ll often ask senior leaders to share what they believe makes their companies special – the main reasons why customers choose them vs. the competition.  Without fail, they most often declare the same 10 “strengths” …

People – Tenure – Culture – Technology – Service – Brand – Reputation – Certifications – Locations  – Product Selection

None of the aforementioned claims are scarce, exclusive or treasured assets that drive significant marketplace separation, especially in the customers’ eyes.  That, my friends, is how to earn an unenviable address in Samenessville, where well intending businesses go to die.

  1. Differentiation. See #1 because they’re the exact same thing.  Therefore please – please – do a business owner a favor and ask them to stop saying differentiation exists when all that’s really there is sameness, or worse, vapor.  Sean’s Primary Theorem: The only reason the sales organization exists is because demand does not.
  1. Competitive Advantage (C.A.). While hard to prove, if C.A. is in fact evident, it often has a finite shelf life, usually six to nine months at best because someone else will copy it.  And when technology is the C.A., it should be ten times better (at a minimum) than the status quo, or risk a much shorter shelf life.  Either way, the value proposition is living on borrowed time.
  1. Unprecedented Value. Ah, finally: Demand Creation! Attraction!  When Chief Value Designers become expert at “seeing what others miss” (I’m looking at you, founder/owner/CEO), an obsession usually develops that eventually becomes “unprecedented” value – the Holy Grail of demand creators worldwide.  Beyond rote innovation, what we seek are “new truths” that can disrupt entire industries.

Moral of the story:  If your customer promise is not rooted in unprecedented value – the purpose-driven kind – then how can an organization truly matter to a village of passionate “dream customers” whose lives should be worse without you?  And, like purpose, unprecedented value should be felt, not told.  Last, please consider that if your offering has to be sold or marketed, then it’s not good enough.

NOTE:  If you’d like to learn more on this topic, please refer to Chapter 4 in Clean Slate, available now.

Available now!

Why leadership should trash their current business model, reject popular sales advice, operate like a startup, and leverage the new rules for prosperity to achieve explosive profitable revenue growth (PRG).