Today it doesn’t matter what industry you are in, where you’re located or whether you provide a service or product; the market is crowded and competitive. So how do you diverge from your competition? Perhaps you can separate yourself on price. You could undercut your competition however, often times the quality of your product or service will suffer. Having a strategy to separate yourself on price isn’t a truly successful business strategy; rather you are commoditizing your business offerings and if your quality suffers your customers will ultimately go elsewhere. So back to the question; how do you diverge from your competition?
There are lots of ways to diverge from the competition and even create new space in your market that is either undefined or where there is no competition. I’d like to share one way, or one step to take while building a strategy to separate from your competitors. The step you need to take is to look across complimentary products and services as they relate to your business. This resonated with me because of an example that was used in the book, Blue Ocean Strategies and I’d like to share it with you.
We’re going to use a movie theater for the example. If you operate a movie theater you’re focused on getting people in the doors to watch movies and buy concessions. What other factors could affect the value of the theater experience? A good portion of your target demographic needs to find a babysitter and parking before they can attend the movie. If they are unable to do either what will the effect be on the value of attending? These factors are essentially out of your control and equally shared amongst your competition, but is there an opportunity here to diverge. By adding a service likes babysitting or childcare at your theater to compliment the services and products you already offer, you not only solve a problem but also create space in your market where your competition can’t compete. Are there opportunities to add a valet service or to include public transit passes with the purchase of the movie tickets to address the parking? These may sound small or simple but nonetheless they are examples of ways to diverge from your competition – not on price or silly gimmicks but by looking across complimentary products and services to your business.
What are some strategies you yourself have used to diverge from the competition?