5 Lessons That Will Teach You All You Need to Know about Standing out from the Crowd
EXACTLY what is it that makes your company unique? Trust me when I say that it’s not “experience and expertise” or “technical certifications.” Why am I dismissing those attributes? I’ll tell you. It’s because every last one of your competitors cite those 3 attributes, which then, by definition, does not make them unique.
There’s not a company on the planet that will say:
“You should work with us because we don’t have any experience.”
“You should work with us because we don’t have the expertise needed to get the job done.”
“You should work with us even though we have no certifications to prove how good we are.”
In the Microsoft world, even Gold Partners are a dime a dozen. Citing that status is not particularly meaningful to your prospects. And that begs the question, what is meaningful? And how exactly can you stand out from the crowd? Here are my top 5 recommendations based on my years of “experience” and marketing “expertise”!!! (Yes. I'm just a bit sarcastic to make a point.)
Go for it! 5 ways to stand out from the crowd:
COLOR! Choose bold colors for your Web site, collateral, business cards. And I don’t mean orange, because orange is the new black. Even though hard copy collateral and business cards are rarely used anymore, if you do produce them, think about not just color, but format. For example, why does your collateral need to be 8x10”? Could it be square? Or 5x7”? And your business cards could be bold and unique, too. You’d be amazed at how many interesting options there are on sites like moo.com.
The Story of You: While every company has experience and expertise, beneath that veneer is a story of how your company came to be. And that’s unique. Perhaps you saw an underserved market, which then became your niche, even if now, years later, you’ve expanded beyond that. And oh, by the way, your blog is a great place to tell your story.
Verticalize: Microsoft has been pushing its partners to verticalize for years and years. And they’re right. Verticalizing can make your company unique, whether by industry, by technology, or by geography. For example, there’s a Microsoft partner in Napa Valley known as “the wine guy.” His company exclusively serves wineries and their unique software needs. There’s another partner that serves manufacturers only. And another that serves southern Michigan only. Their vertical is their cachet and their story.
Get Personal: Business casual has been a “thing” since the 1990s. So why not speak and write the way you now dress. If you’re wearing chinos or leggings with a polo or tunic, why would your language resemble a tuxedo or a 3-piece suit? When I order workout clothes from a significant specialty Web site, I get a follow-up email that says: “Congratulations! You’ve made a great choice.” That makes me smile. On most other sites, all I get is a formal confirmation of my order. So boring. So NOT unique.
Social Media: Your social media platforms are the best place to strut your stuff, fly your colors, tell your story, crow about your vertical, and let your hair down. Do not, under any circumstances, underestimate the power of social media. 3.2 billion people use social media. Not just Facebook, but Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, Tumblr, SnapChat, Periscope, Vimeo. My word! The list keeps growing.