The importance of creating a core differentiator

Clearly defining what sets you apart from every other business that offers the same service or sells the same product as you is a huge advantage when in business. It is important to establish what is known as core differentiators, which articulate exactly why you are unique and why potential customers should buy from you. If you do not let your customers and potential customers know what sets you apart from the rest, then buying decisions will be made on other factors such as price.

In order to identify the unique identifiers in your business you need to ask yourself, “why do people buy from me”?  Ask your staff and associates and get them to write a list of all the reasons. It is also a good idea to survey some of your current “A” customers.  Asking customers can be useful as your perception of why they buy from you can be quite different from the reasons they actually do.

Once you have established a list of what makes your business different, ask yourself if these also apply to competitors.  If so, be sure to cross them off the list. The items that remain are what makes your business genuinely unique. If you are having difficulty establishing what sets you apart from your competitors, you may want to think about what you can change or do to make what you are doing better than the competitor, from the customer’s point of view.

Those businesses that know why they are in business and what makes them unique tend to outlast many of their competitors. Once you have identified what makes you unique be sure to make it part of your marketing strategy and promote it everywhere.

A well-formed Unique Core Differentiator (UCD) targets the hot buttons, and addresses the real buying concerns, or key frustrations for your clients and potential clients. In one statement or several, it tells potential clients exactly why they should buy from your business and reminds current clients why they continue to deal with your business.

Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, co-written by Jim Collins and Jerry  Porras, makes the point that the differences between directly competitive companies – the ones that outlast, outperform and run the competition – by an average of 19 times, is due to UCD’s. Built to last companies have a central core that is the basis upon which all business decisions are made. Once you have a UCD, when faced with a judgement decision you can go back to the core to find the answer. This allows you to build consistency of purpose and focus.


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