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Spot The Difference – The Reality of Most Differentiation Efforts

by Hank Barnes  |  August 21, 2018  |  3 Comments

Remember Squeeze, a great 80’s band that was renowned for their songwriting tandem, Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook.  Well, in 2010, they released a new album titled, Spot the Difference.  It was re-recordings of classic Squeeze songs with a small difference.  Part of the reason for doing this was so the band could “own a little bit more of our own history” since major record labels owned the originals.

Source: By Source, Fair use,

Source: By Source, Fair use,

For those, like me, that bought the album, spotting the difference was pretty difficult.  I love music, but I don’t have a sensitive ear.  Pretty quickly, I found it impossible, and just enjoyed revisiting some of my favorite music.

If I really cared about finding the differences, I would have been very, very frustrated.  Very, very quickly.

But that is what most vendor messaging does to customers, forcing them to try to spot the difference to uncover differentiation and why they should care.

Yes, this is a different take on a consistent theme of this blog, but it bears repeating.   Be explicit about what makes you different.  Provide comparisons.   Don’t just bury that stuff deep within content hoping customers will find it.

Most won’t.  And unless they have other reasons to give you another chance (such as your brand reputation or prior relationships), they won’t bother to listen anymore (because it’s not great music like Squeeze).



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Category: go-to-market  

Tags: differentiation  messaging  

Hank Barnes
VP Distinguished Analyst
6+ years at Gartner
30+ years IT Industry

Hank Barnes explores the dynamics, challenges, and frustrations enterprises face when buying technology products and services. Using that customer-centric lens, he advises those responsible for marketing technology products and services, general managers responsible for product portfolios, and startup CEOs on next practices to drive success for their customers and their business. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Spot The Difference – The Reality of Most Differentiation Efforts

  1. Ken R says:

    I read this with a cup of black coffee in bed and realized that it too cool for marketing cats like me!

  2. Edward Golod says:

    Hank…chime me in….

    Yeah, I’m out of control
    I’m out of control
    And I don’t mind saying…

    Let’s catch up, new horizons.

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