Blog post

Situational Differentiation

By Hank Barnes | January 14, 2014 | 0 Comments


After the webinar I led last week on differentiation (replay accessible here), a look at some of the questions and comments got me thinking about the topic from a different perspective.

While the ideal state is certainly to establish differentiation that is strong, valued by customers, and sustainable for a longer period time, that may be difficult (or even impossible) to achieve.  Rather than agonize over this challenge, a better approach is to think situational differentiation.


The idea puts some additional context around suggestions from the Webinar, and its fairly simple to apply.   As you look to differentiate, get very focused on the situation.     An example is getting early interest when buyers are exploring.  Here you want to focus on how you are different than the status quo.   Later, it might be a competitive evaluation and specific reasons to choose you versus competitors are where your differentiation efforts should focus.

By breaking things down into specific situations that are relevant to buyers, you are confronted with less factors that can inhibit your ability to stand out.

Remember that any differentiation communication requires 3 things:

  • Comparison Point – The thing or things you are different from
  • Differentiating Idea – The specific comparative value point that sets you apart
  • Proof – Examples from customers or other sources that enhance the credibility of the statement

As you think about situations, define the three elements for your communication and use them effectively.    This added context makes it easier for buyers to understand as well.  You could compare yourself to other similar technologies and find that your buyers have no knowledge of those technologies—so your efforts are wasted.

Struggling to achieve broad differentation?  Get Situational.


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