Positioning guru April Dunford shares a story of a startup’s product she was marketing won against a much larger, entrenched competitor with a multi-million dollar brand
“The customer insight about what we uniquely did for them triggered a ‘what are we conversation’… we shifted our positioning and highlighted the functionality that our target customer most cared about, that only we provided.”
Two important insights the April makes about this situation:
Customers don’t care about your features; they care about the value your features deliver. And, you can’t count on them making that connection. You have to connect the dots for them.
In a considered purchase, where the decision is important, and they are taking their time making a decision, it’s differentiated value that matters the most.
In other words, your customers and members aren’t choosing you in a vacuum. It’s in the context of your competitors, alternatives you may not consider competitors, and doing nothing.
Winning demands having a message or story about what sets you apart; why you versus the alternative.
One of the most common laments from community bankers of late is the pressure of rates. Either it’s matching deposit rates or cutting commercial lending rates to win business. This should be a bright red flashing sign that you’re missing a clear differentiated value in the eyes of that customer.
But all we can do is compete on rates! We don’t have anything else!
If that were true, you wouldn’t exist. Your institution wouldn’t have gotten off the ground, or failed in 2020, or 2008, or 2001, or 1997, or 1992…
More to come of that topic.
One last note: April has a new book out. As with all her stuff, it’s a slam dunk and high on “differentiated value.”