It’s hard to stand out in a world full of products, especially when there are newer and shinier ones being launched all of the time.
Worse, as time and technology progress, people’s attention spans are far shorter. Viral trends and products come out and within days, sometimes hours, they are yesterday’s news.
What can you do to ensure your products stay at the top of people’s minds and hearts and stand out among the crowd? Here are some suggestions.
1.Do your market research
Business owners always neglect how important a step this is. Many of them believe they need to come up with this super inventive product that is the best thing since sliced bread to catch everyone’s attention. But here’s what many business owners don’t understand.
The age of “Mass Appeal” is dead. Smart manufacturers understand that in order for their products to thrive, they need to find a niche of people whom their products are perfect for, and sell to them. The best way to do that is through market research.
Market research will help you identify this niche and the categories can be quite distinctive depending on the detail of the research. Much market research goes beyond the superficial. Beyond whether people like blue as opposed to red to come up with the physical and income features of the preferred buyer and even their psychological and behavioral reasons for buying. That’s a pretty detailed customer profile.
Once you’ve narrowed your market down to a niche or a few niches through research, you tailor the product, specifically to their needs and taste. You can only rarely go wrong with a product that people have already expressed a desire to have. Once they want it, it’s more likely to stand out.
2. Build a brand story
Like the days of “mass appeal”, the days of “talking down” or “talking at” your customer are over as well. Do you want to be irresistibly appealing with a product that stands out? Tell your customers a story about it.
These days, customers don’t care about unrelated business jargon. They want to know why you make your product. Did you as the business owner have a serious problem and you decided to solve it by creating this product? Your buyers will want to know things like that and will become personally invested in your product, especially if they too have a problem your product helps solve.
As a brand, you want your brand voice to be relatable and personable. The best brands are so good at this, their customers speak of them with fondness. Why? Because they’ve bought into the brand story and believe the brand voice.
3. Build relationships with your customers
Yes, your customers are the primary source of your income. If you treat them like cogs in a wheel though, you’ll soon have less and less of them and reduced profits. You may even have to close your business.
Nobody wants to be treated as a bottomless source of money, even if that’s what your customers are. Customers want to be treated as though they are important and that what they want is important to the company. They want to feel a part of the “brand” family. They want to be catered to.
There are simple ways to do this. Create award/reward systems for your customers. Create special discount programs for them. Give them opportunities to let you know what they think about your products and improvements that can be made. Not only will your products stand out, but you will also develop strong brand loyalty this way.
4. Have beautiful packaging
You can take all the steps above and find that you are having difficulty converting new customers into your niche. Human beings are visual creatures. We enjoy seeing pretty things. This includes packaging. If your product still isn’t standing out enough, it may come down to your packaging.
There are so many ways to attractively package a product. If you’re in the beverages market, you have aluminum cans, screen printing on glass bottles, tetra packaging, and plastic, to name a few of the more common varieties. With more environmentally conscious customers and companies out in the market, containers made of plant materials are not unheard of.
This is especially important if you depend on retailers to sell your products for you. Your product must draw their customers’ eyes. Retailers won’t create shelf space for unattractive product packaging.
5. Provide a quality product
You would think that this would go without saying, but it has to be said. Too many product manufacturers think they can “game” customers with glitzy marketing. If your niche market begins to buy your product, only to find that despite your marketing promise, it is substandard, they won’t buy it again. And it is going to be near impossible to win them back.
If your value proposition is to provide the best tasting soft drink, then you need to back that up with great taste. If you tell people you make the best computers on the market, your product can’t break down in a year. If you make athletic gear that you promise will give competitors an edge, then that better be the case. Honor your value proposition and provide the best product you can. One of the best ways to convert new customers is to have current ones sing your praises.
6. Have exceptional customer service
Your quality product needs to be supported up with an army of staff ready to serve the customers’ needs and answer questions…even the silly ones. Often, this is the only thing that gives your product a competitive edge in a tight market.
Great customer service has become a distinguishing mark of companies whose products stand out because it is so rare when businesses treat their customers with respect or treat them well.
Hallmarks of great customer service include responding to customer inquiries in a timely fashion, resolving their complaints fairly and quickly, and having well-trained staff who understand their product and can make recommendations that help the customer.
Making your product stand out, therefore, is not a mystery. All it requires is care and attention to some aspects of your product.
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