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Point of differentiation

By Bob Ruffolo

Point of differentiation

I was reading an article recently about marketing and stumbled across a pretty interesting use of terms: share of voice and share of mind. What the writer was trying to convey was that share of voice is a measure of how much market share you hold against your competition in.

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output. Share of mind, however is market share in the minds of the consumer – in other words who among the competitors in the marketplace do customers think of first when contemplating a purchase.

The scenario was that there were five kitchen design companies in a town and they all advertised a half page in the yellow pages, all took out weekly ads in the local newspaper and they all had similar websites that were not really optimized fully. In other words they were marketing themselves pretty much the same and all held 20% share of voice.

In this hypothetical situation we can infer that the share of mind will be around 20% each as well. Clearly there are other components that need to be considered – so this test tube is virtually unrealistic – but does offer a platform to consider in business competition regarding base line. Imagine for a moment that this is true – that these kitchen design companies are equal in their market.

People hear about them equally and people think about them equally.

So I start thinking about one of my favorite subjects – point of differentiation.

What one thing does any one of these companies need to do to place them ahead in the marketplace? The article suggests consolidating most of their voice in one area and increasing their share of mind by repetition in that area and thus to the marketplace.

I would agree that this strategy would be interesting – but where? Would a two page ad in the yellow pages set them apart from their competition significantly – even if they dropped out of the newspaper? Or would four ads in the newspaper cement repetition in the minds of the reader?

Twenty years ago this analysis might be difficult. Today it is not.

Point of differentiation is what you do that your competitors do not. And, more importantly, it is how you convey it to the marketplace. Your identity must be strong and your brand must be clear. Potential customers must understand you and your promise.

Here's the rub you must deliver it efficiently. You must target your audience and not waste your money on marketing to people who you already know are not your potential customers. Yes brand yourself in mass media to some extent – but target your message to those with a real potential to buy your product or service – and keep expanding this audience for maximum profitability.

It all lies in technology. A well crafted website and targeted email campaign will put you head and shoulders above your competition and you will earn a heavy percentage of share of mind.

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Published on January 12, 2010