5 Ways to Define Your Differentiator

5 Ways to Define Your Differentiator

Your Differentiator is what makes you unique in your market and is a key contributor in creating your business’s brand (the things you want your customers to know about you through every interaction they have with you).  Articulating what makes you different helps consumers sift through the choices they have, helps them understand your distinct value, and ultimately select your business over the competition.

But, defining your Differentiator isn’t always easy. It starts with understanding who your customers are and answering the question: “What problem am I solving for them?”.  Maybe you’ve answered this question, or maybe, like a lot of us, you came at business ownership from a personal passion perspective and haven’t been as customer focused as you could. Or maybe, it’s just time to review the competition and your relevancy.

Here are some pointers to help you define your uniqueness.

1. Pain Points

Clearly and succinctly explain ‘how’ the features of your service or product will benefit the lives of your customers. What value will your target consumers gain by using your offerings? If you can help a potential customer visualize the advantage of using your product or service, then you’ve gained a warm lead to a potential sale.

2. Experience

There’s no discounting experience! Experience speaks volumes towards accomplishment and longevity. If you’re a seasoned professional striking out on your own, you bring a wealth of hands-on learning that can only come from the burn of failure, the grind of tenacity, and the sweet reward of success. So call out your strengths and proudly share your knowledge; it will create trust between you and potential customers.

3. Form & Function

It’s not always about reinventing the wheel; sometimes it’s about making the wheel fit today’s standards. Find the best way to define and illustrate why your design is worth someone’s time and investment and you’ll gain a customer. If you can do it consistently, you’ll have their loyalty. If you can do it exceptionally, you’ll create raving fans and enthused advocates (and reduce your marketing costs).

4. Price

Understanding your offering’s value (compared to the competition), knowing your cost of investment, and appreciating the financial state of your customers, is research time well spent. If your product is less expensive than the competition, then your customers are going to want to know why. Are they losing out on quality or have you found a better production resource?  Maybe your service is more expensive than others - you’ll need to take the time to explain the bonus benefits you bring and where they can see the value-add to their lives that is worth the extra investment.

5. Customer Service

Thoughtful customer service delivered with intent and integrity will reap benefits of sales referrals, business longevity and personal pride.  Even if this is your only differentiator, it will serve you well to gain loyal customers, dedicated staff, respected reputation and increased sales. Let consumers know about the care you will take with them before, during, and after the sale. Give them reasons to sing your praises and to engage your company with repeat business.


Hopefully, these points will be a great kick start to helping you define or improve your business’ unique selling proposition, because clearly understanding and articulating your differentiation to your customers and your prospects, will bring business success. Shine your light, dear entrepreneur, customers are waiting.


Lisa McGrath and Alicia Flaherty are partners at CAVEA studio, a Toronto based marketing and design collective focused on helping start-ups to launch and new businesses to grow.  They will be speaking at the Mamas & Co. New Business Bootcamp on April 22nd. Learn more here.

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