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  • Writer's pictureHamish Mackenzie


Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is very difficult to ignore. He will never be forgotten, second term or not. And in business, just as it is in politics, being unignorable is a major asset. This is likely not news to you. But can you honestly say that in your market, your brand is impossible to ignore? If so, your business is the exception, not the rule.

Here are my top 5 reasons that companies find it difficult to stand out, and how I suggest you address them:

1) No USP: In many markets, feature sets between products and services are very similar and there is no obvious “competition killer”.

My suggestion: Look for other ways to deliver value. For example, do you have a “wow”-inducing customer onboarding process? Most businesses don’t, and it’s a very quick, easy and inexpensive way to generate excitement and loyalty.

2) Lack of awareness: It’s never been easier to promote your business on a global scale online, which is exactly why most businesses struggle to get seen. There’s just too much noise.

My suggestion: Focus on making a big splash with a very specific subset of your customer base. This will make it easier to identify key prospects, where they hang out, who influences them, and which messages will have the biggest impact.

3) An over reliance on marketing: A quirky name and a clever slogan will get you so far. Then what?

My suggestion: Don’t be the business that promises too much and delivers too little. You are likely spending too much on marketing and not enough on customer experience innovation. Consider reallocating resources towards the latter.

4) Giving up too soon: Differentiation is a process not an event, and it takes time to build a presence that starts generating unprompted inbound leads and sales.

My suggestion: You will likely need 6-24 months to get traction for a new product or successfully reposition an old one. Accept that and build it into your plans.

5) Not leveraging success: In many markets, sales are being influenced a lot more heavily by reviews, recommendations and referrals than by traditional sales and marketing. This trend will only intensify.

My suggestion: Start turning your delighted customers into an army of advocates. One day, they might make your sales force redundant.

I help businesses generate Permanent Preference™ among their prospects and customers through value-based differentiation.

Drop me a line at and let’s start discussing some ideas about how to make your business stand out for all the right reasons.

Copyright Hamish Mackenzie Consulting, 2020


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