Tuesday 2¢: Choosing to be Different

I admit, it’s a topic I keep returning to, but in this week’s Tuesday 2¢, I want to share more about differentiating your marketing.


The world is very noisy.

OK, let’s skip past this bit, we all know as marketers that the competition for consumer attention has never been higher.

.. and as marketers we need our work to stand out, to be remarkable.

But, of course, being different is hard. As a marketer you operate inside a department, that sits within an organization, that sits within a market category, that sits within an industry, that is judged by industry watchers and servers consumers that are very used to getting whatever it is you have to offer in the way they always have.

There are layers and layers of what is expected.

As a marketer it is so easy to get suffocated by that, to follow the trope of your place in the commercial world. If you are asked a question, google what the top competitor in your market is doing, guess it works and go do that. Combined with the oh-so-useful suggestions from the executive team about something that the leading vendor is doing and why aren’t you doing that?

It seems nobody gets fired for pointing out what the competition is doing and following.

This behavior means you are just swimming in circles in the goldfish bowl of your industry, digging around in the gravel for whatever the fish ahead of you left behind. The buyer just sees a wall of recycled sameness.

However, being different isn’t a business objective, it’s a strategy to fulfilling your business objectives, (of building Awareness, Revenue Trust). You can’t be different for difference sake, it has to be done mindfully.

Done clumsily, without a strategy and you are that dude at the Christmas party wearing a loud shirt, projecting a personality that you quickly discover is really better defined by his beige cubical and his concern about the timeliness of doing your tax return.

Being different needs to be authentic, as a marketer you need to look hard at what actually makes your business different, align this with what your consumer wants and lean into that. And ‘lean into’ means the entire team needs to be on board, committed to being remarkable at this thing.

That different thing might actually appear dull, especially when cast up against the sparkly shiny claims of your competitors, but if you have a minimum viable audience of buyers that care about this thing, you are remarkable to them.

Especially if you are clear, expressing this difference in a straightforward, credible way. You will stand out and be found.  Not everyone wants to go with the leading vendor of business-speak bullshit mealy words.

If this interests you, this is something I’ve written about before on the appropingo blog.