Charlene Wan is VP of Branding, Marketing and Investor Relations at the ultra-low power IoT solutions leader Ambiq®.
The global semiconductor market is expected to grow from $452 billion in 2021 to over $800 billion by 2028, with the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence and machine learning opening up new and diverse opportunities. As a vital element in modern electronics, the industry is highly competitive, meaning promoting and differentiating a company effectively is crucial.
How can marketers achieve that?
By creating a best-in-class product and a marketing strategy that’s agile and robust.
With a successful track record in the technology sector and a wealth of branding experience at a cutting-edge tech company, I’ve picked up a few things about market and product differentiation along the way. Here are six big-picture areas I thought to share with like-minded marketers to drive continued growth.
1. What Makes You Unique?
To sell a product, you must know what makes it exceptional, why it’s one of a kind and the reasons consumers should choose you over your competitors. On top of that is customer experience: The end-to-end journey you take them through must be seamless, intuitive and personalized.
Looking at it from the other side, if you want to attract and retain staff, employee experience is also key. What do you offer in terms of benefits over and above other firms? For example, do you provide a strong employee assistance program, are you flexible in terms of remote working, and do you have a powerful company purpose and vision?
2. Know Your Product Inside And Out
For customers to have confidence in what you’re selling, you must believe in it. It’s all about the detail and being able to explain why your product is better than anything comparable in the market. What makes it different? What nifty features does it have? Where do you stand from an environmental perspective?
Have those answers ingrained in your mind and back up what you say with facts and data. By identifying and demonstrating your competitive advantage, you can better promote your product.
3. What Need Does Your Product Satisfy?
This could be something customers don’t even know they’re missing. By solving a problem with your product, you show potential customers what you can do for them.
When did you last change your toothbrush? If you can’t remember, chances are it’s overused and no longer effective. Enter Oral-B and its patented blue-dyed bristles that fade over time, alerting users when their toothbrush needs replacement. Oral-B differentiated itself by creating a solution to a need people didn’t know they had.
4. Is Your Product Easy To Find?
If you Google your product type, how far down the search results is your company? If you are not near the top, your website needs attention. Be it search engine optimization (SEO), user-friendliness, quality of content, ease of navigation, cart abandonment or a combination of factors, focus on upping your game.
For example, by improving your user interfaces, implementing an SEO strategy, regularly promoting social media, using video effectively and establishing yourself as an expert in your field, you can build your brand and raise awareness. Furthermore, you can educate people about the value of your product.
5. Original Marketing Is A Must
It’s easy to head to your competitor’s website and social media pages and mirror what they’re doing, but that’s not the way to go. Original thinking is imperative. Thinking outside the box takes skill, time and imagination, but it’s oh-so worth it. By taking the effort to cultivate your brand messaging and tone of voice and applying it consistently, you can create something unique that fosters customer loyalty.
Why is it that hotels don’t offer toothpaste? Shampoo and soap are pretty much a given, but a mini tube of toothpaste, not so much. Everyone is copying each other; there’s no originality. With that in mind, the question you must ask yourself is, “What can I offer that no one else does?”
6. Be First To Dominate The Competition
This idea is laid out by veteran marketing guru Jack Trout in his book, Differentiate or Die: Survival in Our Era of Killer Competition. In it, he uses real-world examples to highlight how businesses can survive and thrive in a crowded marketplace.
Achieving that often requires being first on the scene. Take HubSpot and inbound marketing. Co-founder and executive chairperson Brian Halligan is credited with defining the methodology, and by shining a light on that, they attract customers.
It’s important to reinforce the advantages your innovative product offers over the competition. Take Warby Parker, for example. Seeing (pun intended) how expensive it was to buy glasses, Warby Parker disrupted and reinvented the industry by offering higher-quality, lower-cost glasses, along with the conveniences of in-home try-on and virtual try-on via its mobile app.
In a nutshell, being the forerunner cements you in people’s minds.
Shining Brighter Than The Rest
Marketing, promoting and differentiating your company in an ever-changing and competitive landscape should be high on your agenda. But achieving that and standing out from the crowd takes planning. The handy tips outlined above should give you the foundations, from homing in on your uniqueness and what sets you apart to knowing your product back to front. It’s also about identifying and fulfilling an unsatisfied need, improving your website, developing an original marketing strategy and establishing originality. Choose one, a few or all six pointers to work on, and you’ll reap the rewards.