Solving a customer problem is only part of what makes a product marketable. There’s another part of this – and that’s the question of if others already do this, why should people switch to you?
Let’s face it – there are a lot of products and services in the world, with many of them tackling the same problems. If you’re starting a new company or launching a new product, there is probably someone out there already doing the same thing. Their product might be somewhat different from you, but at its core it might be very similar. So why should people use your product?
As you build out the marketing plan for your startup or product, it’s important to go back to the reason you built it in the first place. Don’t only look at what problem you are solving, but how you are doing it better or different from any of your competitors.
Secret Gets It
Secret (the app) is a good example of this. At its core, it’s a messaging service. A way to broadcast to the world. But Twitter already does that. Why bother with Secret?
In an interview with TechCrunch, co-founder David Bittow said:
People don’t have a good space to be their most authentic selves, especially to people they know. There is too much fear, and there is too little self-awareness. We need more self-awareness, starting with Silicon Valley. We are in a bubble. Fuck the bubble. The truth wants to be set free. Only then can we begin to understand and only then can we heal and work together.
This is how Secret differentiates itself. It’s not just a messaging platform. It’s a messaging platform with a specific purpose, and an experience built around that purpose.
Flaunt Your Uniqueness
I recently came across another app called BeHeard that encourages people to use it to ask questions or share their day. That’s not unique. I can do that on Twitter or Facebook and I already have an audience there.
What’s unique about BeHeard is that it’s a platform that allows you to connect one-on-one with listeners so you can have an actual conversation with someone, even if you don’t have anyone available to talk to of your own. It’s for longer conversations than what Twitter or Facebook allows – and it’s made for a potential of dialogue. Unfortunately, the product is positioned as ways to find someone to talk to to share how your day is, or get tips for what to buy your wife for Christmas. Again, that’s not unique – and there are already platforms out there that can do this very well already.
Positioning itself as offering a person to actually talk to? that’s unique. And that’s where they should be focusing their marketing. In a world where we are always out in the open on our social platforms, having someone to talk to (other than your therapist) is powerful. People need the opportunity to have meaningful conversations with others, and BeHeard has the ability to offer that.
Take a look at their promo video:
It’s well done, right? Pretty decent production. Shows how the product works … but doesn’t it leave you wondering why you can’t just do these same things on your Twitter or Facebook?
This is a pretty cool platform idea and has a ton of potential, but from their ad they are positioned as an alternate solution to an already pretty-easy-to-solve problem. Showing the value of what that back-and-forth communication of a conversation brings is much more important here – but they miss out on it.
What do I get my wife for Christmas? That’s a Tweet. Or a question for a friend.
I had a rough day at work, and am considering quitting. But my family relies on me so I can’t just do that. I need someone to talk to.
The times you need a listening board or a chance to vent, when you just need someone? That’s powerful. And private. And not for Twitter or Facebook.
They miss out on hitting us in the gut with what makes them unique.
It’s All About Position
The point is, in a space with intense competition, how you position your product in its marketing messaging can make all the difference. There’s room for clones, and there’s a place for fighting over market – but when you’re fighting for market share, especially as a startup, you need to define your unique value proposition and focus on that.
How are you doing things better?
What problems can your product solve that competitors can’t?
If you’re unique, SHOUT ABOUT IT.
If you’re not unique in any meaningful way, then why do you even exist?