It can be difficult to get your business to stand out when everyone else seems to dominate the average digital marketing channels, especially in social media advertising. It's a well-established method of reaching and connecting with your target audience, and every business knows it. So how do you differentiate your business and brand when everyone is fighting to stand out? It's a tough job, but it can be done.
Four key ways you can stand out:
- Integrated marketing
- Take advantage of marketing channels your competition may not be using.
- Identify or create a competitive advantage.
- Formulate a message which appeals to your specific audience
Taking advantage of integrated marketing can make a big difference for your business. Integrated marketing is an approach where you aim to have a seamless message between all marketing channels that customers will interact with your brand, including PR, advertising, sales promotion, direct marketing, and social media. It blends all of your marketing communication efforts to make your consumer's experience consistent, unified, and as smooth as possible.
Your competition likely has some form of a multi-channel strategy, but it's unlikely they're connected in an integrated manner. In fact, over 90% of marketers struggle to seamlessly connect more than three channels throughout the buyer journey—all the more reason to take on the challenge and reap the benefits. Marketers know the importance of giving their customers what they want, and studies show people want integrated marketing. More specifically, they found that 72% of consumers want an integrated marketing approach.
When it comes to choosing channels for integrated marketing, one of the most cost-effective marketing tactics today is content marketing. Content marketing includes the creation of blogs and other content in order to attract, engage, and convert consumers. It gives your brand the chance to distinguish itself through writing that demonstrates expertise and understanding of your industry. Content marketing can also turn your existing consumers into brand advocates and repeat buyers.
We also recommend mixing traditional marketing channels (like radio) with newer, less-used channels (like podcasts). That way, you can get the best of both worlds:
- Radio reaches loyal listeners through popular hosts, which the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) found to be the reason 56% of listeners tuned in.
- Podcasts are an up-and-coming advertising method, with research revealing that 61% of podcast listeners claim to have bought something after hearing a podcast ad.
Branded Podcasts and Podcast Ads
You may not be familiar with podcasts’ growing popularity, but research shows a significant rise in both creators and listeners. This growth allows marketers to take full advantage of branded podcasts and podcast ads.
As of January 2021, Podcast Insights reports over 1,750,000 shows exist, over 43 million episodes have been produced, and over 60 million (50% of) homes have podcast fans. In fact, these additional statistics directly support the belief that podcasts are growing in popularity:
- 55% (155 million) of the US population has listened to a podcast – up from 51% in 2019
- 37% (104 million) listened to a podcast in the last month – up from 32% in 2019
- 24% (68 million) listen to podcasts weekly – up from 22% in 2019
What they are and why you need it
Branded podcasts are podcasts specific to brands that give listeners more insight into their favorite companies by providing interviews, stories, history, and other entertainment forms relevant to the company's purpose. Then, there is podcast advertising, which, when done by the hosts themselves, proves to be incredibly successful.
Most companies aren't using podcasts to their full potential yet. It would be best to take advantage of them before the competition starts using podcasting, and the marketing channel becomes flooded with competitor messaging. Research shows that branded podcasts can contribute to 89% higher awareness, 57% higher branded consideration, 24% higher brand favorability, and 24% higher brand favorability. It would be a mistake not to invest immediately.
Find or Create a Competitive Advantage
Using integrated marketing and lesser-used channels is only effective if they position your company positively versus the competition. People need a reason to choose you over the competition, which comes from a competitive advantage. Competitive advantage refers to factors that contribute to consumers choosing your business over the competition, and it is what all marketers aim to achieve.
How to Find Your Competitive Advantage
There are many ways you can go about finding your competitive advantage. One method involves:
- Looking at what customers or clients value most in your industry when it comes to choosing a business. Ideally, you should poll current and potential customers.
- E.g., Fast food industries might have values like "low price" and "speed" rated as important.
- Truthfully comparing yourself to competitors for each value.
- It can be as simple as rating yourself and competitors out of a scale of five, with one being lowest and five being highest.
- Choosing the value where you beat the competition.
- If there is no value where you are obviously superior, you need to create a competitive advantage.
How to Create a Competitive Advantage
If there are values where you match or are slightly lower than the best competitor, then you can beat them in two ways:
- Create the perception that you are superior in that value.
- Position your company as the best in value, even if that is not necessarily the case.
- If you want to compete based on customer service, you can change staff policies to ensure better service.
Formulate a Message
You need to create a message fit for your selected marketing channel, which communicates your competitive advantage. No matter how great your competitive advantage may be, it will go unnoticed and unsuccessful if it isn't properly communicated to your target audience. As much as you can, you'll want to connect competitive advantage to your brand.
Lumen Learning recommends your messaging do these 3 things:
- Express the main idea you want people to understand and remember about your offering.
- Resonate with the audience you are targeting, such that they pay attention and feel what you are saying matters
- Articulate clearly and concisely what you need to communicate about: e.g., what you stand for, why you are different, what value you offer, what problems you solve, etc.
Stand Out From the Rest
By effectively incorporating all of these elements into your marketing strategy, you will be able to differentiate your business from the competition, regardless of how many are fighting to get to the top. The key is to use practices that are not yet saturated by competing messages. Integrated marketing, lesser-known and used marketing channels, competitive advantage, and a well-thought-out and planned message specific to your audience all give you that differentiating factor.
It can be hard to figure out which channels to use, the right competitive advantage, and how to formulate a message that connects your brand to your competitive advantage. The solution is to work with a media vendor that can help you choose the right path.