What makes your product different from others?

What makes your product different? Differentiation is a potent weapon in the arsenal of a small business because they can rarely compete with big players on price. We look at how you can start this process before revealing a powerful marketing secret.

What we will cover

Whose shoes are you wearing?

It’s logical to want to improve your product to make it more appealing, but adding more features could be a waste of resources. A better strategy is to forge a deeper connection with your target customers. Focusing on your product will keep you trapped within your own perspective, whereas getting to know your potential buyers will put you in their world and guide you towards making smarter decisions.

What are their priorities? What problems do they need solving to make their lives easier or better? What attracts them to your product? What turns them off?

Don’t just focus on new customers. Make sure you collect (and read) feedback from existing ones. After all, you might be committing resources to adding the latest features to your product, when a simple design tweak would boost profits sooner by drastically reduce the number of returns.

How does your product stack up?

If you really want to know what makes your product different, you also need an accurate idea of the competition. How do you carry out this benchmarking, based on what you have just read?

We recommend a process of ’empathetic comparison’ with your competitors. What do we mean by that? Well, instead of comparing tables of features and product descriptions to discover what makes your product different, focus on working out how your competitor is going about solving customers’ problems.

First, type one of your main keywords into Google, and click on any relevant ads and the first one or two natural search results.

When you arrive at your competitor’s website, ask yourself (or even better, your team) the following questions:

  • Is there evidence that this business has empathy with customers about the problems they face?
  • Does the business’s USP directly address customers’ concerns?
  • How does the product provide the solution? What processes are in place?
  • Can you see any testimonials providing social proof of the product’s benefits?
  • Are there any accreditations on display? These trust marks provide an important role in reassuring buyers.
  • Does the website feel trustworthy? Think about the reasons why or why not.

Finally, ask yourself the question: why does this company do what they do? If you can’t find an answer, you have a path to the higher ground – even if you don’t yet know it.

The secret of differentiation

The secret of differentiation, as explained by Simon Sinek in his fascinating TED talk, is that a business’s success is not about the quality of their product. In fact, it’s not about what they do or how they do it at all. It’s about ‘why’ they do it. And their ‘why’ has to map on to the customer’s ‘why’, forming an empathic connection between the two.

Sinek explains how human behaviour is chiefly driven by the primitive limbic system – aka the emotional brain. This deals with our basic motivations, such as pleasure, pain, hunger and sex, and it doesn’t use language.

However, we can connect with this part of the brain through the power of storytelling. The brands that have mastered this approach, have learnt how to make their customers the stars of the show, with their product as the catalyst to their success.

Sinek uses Apple as an example of a powerful storytelling brand. But how did Apple get to be that good? It is no coincidence that Apple really began to take off when Steve Jobs returned there from Pixar with the ambition to become ‘the next storyteller‘ for the generation to come.

Revise or advertise?

With all you’ve read so far, we reckon you might want to make some changes to how you present your offering.

This is a good point to talk about landing pages. If you currently don’t use landing pages in your marketing process, we recommend reading our article on how to write landing pages that convert.

Combine the information there with what you’ve discovered about what makes your product different to turn your landing pages into the effective storytelling tools they should be. In fact, revising your landing pages could have a more positive impact on sales than increasing your advertising activity.

And remember: always emphasise your ‘why’ above your ‘what’ and ‘how’, because that is the real secret to making every one of your products and services stand out to those who matter – the end user.

For most small businesses, the above, combined with the gamble of a well-managed advertising campaign via google ads can be enough to revolutionise lead generation and massively impact sales. Are you sick of doing the same thing and getting the same results?

Interested in learning more about digital marketing?

Finding out what makes your product different, and learning how to craft your marketing message, form just a part of our comprehensive digital marketing training course. Book your seat alongside a Vu marketing specialist, and come away with a one page marketing plan that could transform your business.

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Digital Marketing Training Course

Digital Marketing

Our in-person Digital Marketing training course is designed for Devon small business delegates with little or no experience of digital marketing that will provide strategic guidance, channel selection and deliver a One Page Marketing Plan.


Impactful, succinct advertising tailored to appeal to your customers, will bring your small business decisive rewards in perception, trustworthiness and leads. From Spotify to social we are a well known PPC Agency across Devon.

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