Why you need to stake your claim

What do I mean by stake your claim? No, I’m not talking about digging for gold in the Wild West. I am, however, talking about marking your territory. I am talking about being the first to publicly say that you discovered something and it’s yours. I am talking about being the first to “claim” to do something different and better than your competitors.

Don’t be alarmed. I didn’t fall off the covered wagon here in Colorado and knock my head. I am talking about marketing.

When you take a look at what makes some companies stand out in a prospect’s mind more than other companies, there is usually one thing that makes them different. It could be that they make your teeth white or that they freshen your breath or kill plaque. Or that they can save you from experiencing an embarrassing moment in a way that no one else can.

There is a little known thing that us marketers know that we don’t usually share with everyone else. The first to claim the benefit owns it in your prospect’s eye. You and your competitors may all do the same thing. But the first one to SAY they do something, is the first one that will come to your prospect’s minds. They “own” that benefit and none of their competitors will use the same one.

Let’s use an example here of toothpaste. Long ago, toothpaste was toothpaste. It cleaned your teeth. There was one big company that owned about 80% of the toothpaste market. But, greedy as they are, they wanted more.

What they realized was that while some people really wanted clean teeth – they were actually even passionate about having clean teeth – there was also a group of people that were equally as passionate about having bad breath. This big toothpaste company knew that there were certain people that deeply cared about fresh breath. So they actually tweaked “clean teeth” toothpaste and called it “freshy” toothpaste and sold it with a different benefit to the public. To a specific group of people, bad breath was just disgusting and horrible and they couldn’t bear the thought of not getting a date or turning someone off because of their bad breath.

Now, toothpaste is toothpaste. And the first toothpaste, smiley toothpaste, does freshen your breath (of course) while it cleans your teeth. But because freshy toothpaste SAID they freshened your breath they became known as the “fresh breath” toothpaste. People became passionate about having that specific toothpaste because of the important benefit it provided to them.

Let’s fast forward to today and take a look at all the different ways toothpaste is marketed. In addition to fresh breath and clean teeth, we have toothpaste for plaque, smokers, sensitive teeth, whiter teeth, tarter build up, dentures, and a million other things. Sure, they’ve changed the color and probably tweaked some of the ingredients. But really, toothpaste is toothpaste. And back in the day it was one company that made a majority of the toothpaste and just began targeting it to different groups of people.

How does this apply to you? You need to find a benefit that you provide that no one else does. Or that no one else “claims” to provide. Stop and think about it…what benefits are you providing your clients that no one talks about? Remember, it doesn’t mean your competition can’t also provide these same benefits, just that they aren’t talking about them.

Stake your claim.

Here are a few ways to help you “stake a claim”.

Brainstorm the many benefits you provide to your clients right now. Write down all of them. It’s ok to include the ones your competitors make in this list.

Know what claims your competition makes. Don’t choose those, they are taken.

Separate out the features from the benefits. Features are the tangible things you do. Like your hours. The physical things your products or services provide. An example may be that you teach the newest Pilates techniques or have the latest and greatest MRI machine available. These are great, but what does that do for your client? How does that help them?

Copyright (c) 2006 A Marketing Connection