Last week we discussed how now is the time to make sure your marketing tools are ready for the coming summer. Today we want to look at what makes your product or service stand out, what’s going to get the attention of your preferred customer? As brands and businesses compete for consumer dollars, being the signal above the noise is becoming tougher and tougher to achieve. But there is a way! Finding the “IT” Factor of your brand or product is a way to help build an audience that will stick and grow with you.

We all know that modern brands need to be able to provide the following three things: Value, Culture, and Service*. Icon Innovations defined these very clearly:

“Value – By delivering the best outcomes for the promises made and not just price! Often value comes with lots of high-quality content.

Culture – The delivery of value by building a community, a tribe. A tribe is both your staff and customers.

Service – Connecting and delivering on both your value propositions and your tribe. It’s the glue and the oil that keeps your business moving. This is where your business will die or thrive. I cannot believe how many companies say they have it, but don’t, and how great it is when done well. “

For the sake of this blog we’ll assume that those basics are covered (if you’re worried they aren’t, give us a call). What we want to look at closer is the way to help make your product or service stand out. We can do that by asking the following questions:

  • What need do you fill? Be specific.
  • Who are you talking to?
  • Why you?

How you answer these will lead you to your “IT” factor. Let’s break it down.

  • What need do you fill? Be specific.

You probably already have a good idea about what “need” you feel your product or service fills, that’s why the key to this question is being specific. There is an ingrained false belief that you need to be able to appeal to as broad an audience as possible. But if we look at things that everyone uses, like soap and toothpaste, even they appeal to specific needs and audiences. They use specifics, like floral scents or tartar control,  in order to stand out from what might be considered “regular” on the shelf. Your product or service is no different. When you first created your offering you did so to fill a specific need that you felt wasn’t being satisfied. That’s a great place to start. What spurred your desire to make this offering to the world? How are you hoping your preferred customer will use your product or service? Don’t be afraid to really narrow this down! If you made a hair gel to specifically tackle that cowlick on the left side of your head, then don’t be afraid to appeal directly to people with terrible cowlicks on the left side of their heads. In addition to that specific customer, who will ideally see you as the perfect solution to their cowlicks, you’ll have a splash effect on additional audiences, “If it works on that kind of cowlick, then it should certainly manage my hair!” That kind of specificity elevates you above the dozen other products that might surround you on the shelf.

  • Who are you talking to?

Who is your preferred customer? You may know them as your preferred demographic or, if you’re in marketing, your buyer persona. You build this by making up a “person’ that represents the customer you want to attract. Again, we want to be specific! An example may look like this:

Hair Gel Buyer Persona: 

Chad a bartender at an upscale restaurant who is single and ready to mingle.

He is a male, 23 years old, and makes $45,000/yr. Chad lives in Chicago.

Chad enjoys his job, but also enjoys that it gives him lots of free time during the day. He likes people and being social, spending lots of time with friends and dating. His looks are important to him as is being able to achieve specific hairstyles. 

He wants to become management at his job and knows that appearances are important in the world of hospitality and service. 

While he cares about his appearance, Chad does not want to buy excessive amounts of products or spend too much money. He does well, but prefers to spend money on experiences, not products. Chad wants the right product for the right job.

From there you can explore his digital habits, what social media they spend time on (if any), and how you can reach them. Once you’ve developed a primary buyer persona, you can even develop a second or third persona, but remember that being specific is important so don’t be afraid to start with one, solid persona and expand as the need arises.

  • Why you?

This seems like such a simple question, but the answer is one that will require the most thought. You can’t just say “my offering is the best option,” everyone thinks that, so we can break this down to two sub questions:

  • How do you offer support?
  • What makes you worth sharing with their bubble?

Offering support goes beyond customer service, although that is a component. Support is also the community you build and the culture of your business. Buyers want to know that they are supporting someone who shares their ideals and so building an active, responsive community is essential. Pay attention to your social channels and make sure your content, both educational and promotional, speaks to core values and not just purchase calls to action. Maintaining that kind of relationship with your buyer encourages them to share your product or service with the other people in their life. You can’t beat a referral and in the world of social media and online purchasing a rave review of your product or a post effusing excitement about your offering can be more effective than any sales incentive, and with longer lasting positive effects.

Finding your “IT” Factor is just as important to your marketing as the product itself. Using these questions as a guide will help direct your messaging to generate the success you want to achieve.


*Icon Innovations: