Differentiating Your Products or Services as an SME

By Chukwuemeka Ayogu | 2 min read
12th November 2019
Differentiating Your Products or Services as an SME

Every consumer has a story to tell about a product or service they have used or are still using. Great consumer stories give businesses an edge over their competition.

The reason why a consumer will patronize a product over another could be any of the following or a combination of all: Its value, price, brand, packaging, accessibility etc. Hence, it's important to ensure that you differentiate your brand for excellence because if you don't you may get bad reviews from unsatisfied customers. Advancement in technology has now made it possible for people to send in their reviews across regions.

More importantly, when it comes to differentiation of products or services, money is not the greatest challenge. Please find below some things you can do to help you differentiate your brand:

Ask Your Target Market

This is where design thinking comes in, which involves evolving from making what consumers want to making them want things. Every consumer has a pain point and the best way to find one apart from the studies you have done is to ask the customer(s). This should be an exercise done from time to time since advancement in technology affects the needs and wants of human beings.

Unique Value Proposition

Your unique value proposition is the point of difference. Once you've identified the pain point, effort should be made to propose or offer the product or service in such a way that connects with consumers. It could be added features from what is existing, ease of use, portability, prompt service etc.

Pricing and Promotions

Yes, price is a critical factor in offering a value-based product or service but there can be different packages for the target market without compromising on the standard. In pricing, make sure the cost of production is covered but there can be reduction in profit margin.

There are cost-effective ways to carry out promotions such as referral marketing (word of mouth), digital marketing through your social media handles (offering educative content), buddy marketing (cross-marketing) this means working together with a similar business and pooling your resources to promote all your businesses etc. Just be creative in your promotions. 

Tell the Story of Your Service/Product

Telling the story of your service/product is an integral part of marketing. This can be done orally and in a written form to appeal to the emotions of your consumers and customers in order to connect with the issues they need solved. This is the magic in story telling, every connection made results in sale but make sure the story is real. This is because fabricated stories is bad for business.

Customer Service

Customer service is not a one of thing! It is has to be a business culture, the presale is as important as the post-sale. Customer service includes activities like asking for feedback, updates on products/services, attending to customer questions, taking note of your customer's memorable days and celebrating with them and every other creative way you can connect with them.

In conclusion, products or services in the marketplace that withstand the test of time are usually different, creative, value adding etc. As a business owner, these should form part of the continuous improvement plan for your business regardless of the size or location.

Chukwuemeka Ayogu
Chukwuemeka Ayogu is the founder and principal partner of Countsystem, a service provider in accounting sector in Nigeria, bsiness systems and controller services. He is an Accountant Partner of Accounteer, a cloud based accounting software. He is an experienced service provider with diverse working experiences. He has worked in customer service at Regional Business Unit Nigerian Breweries Plc, Customer Service Representative at Diamond Bank Plc, Principal Partner at Prudential Auditors & Consultants, State manager at Chijgz Resources International and more. Chukwuemeka is passionate and committed to building micro and small businesses that will have global relevance.
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