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Are You Differentiating Yourself From the Competition?

A recent survey by Modern Distribution Management (MDM) found that the overwhelming majority of distributors have three things in common when it comes to positioning and messaging:

  1. They deliver more value than their competitors for a comparable price
  2. They place a large emphasis in their messaging on a handful of features: product selection, availability, speed of delivery, pre-sales technical support and professional sales reps.
  3. They use informal methods for positioning and messaging.

Value-Price-graphic-MDM 

In other words, if everyone is messaging on the same features, then nobody is really differentiating themselves.

Lyndsay Konzak, editor of MDM, blogs about the 3 Reasons Companies Think They Offer More Value Than They Actually Do. MDM has partnered with Jonathan Bein of Real Results Marketing in a series of distributor marketing articles. Bien states that all things being equal, it would be expected that 55-65% of companies would position around value instead of price. He lists three factors that contribute to this disparity in the distribution industry:

  • Price Pressure
  • Unclear Understanding of Value
  • A Messaging Challenge

So what do you claim about your products? Bein says that distributors all too often make the same claims as their competitors and that those claims aren't always meaningful to their customers. Do these claims seem familiar to you?

  • You’ve been in business in long time 
  • You carry a zillion products
  • You have fantastic post-sales support

In the article, What do You Claim About Your Product?, Konzak talks about why it's critical to explain how or why these statements matter. That at the end of the day, the requirement depends on the customer segment and that understanding your customer base better allows you to understand where you want to fit in the market.

You can read more about the results of the MDM marketing survey and learn how you can better position your company in MDM’s two part series: Price vs. Value: How Distributors Position Their Businesses (free for subscribers).

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Tribute, Inc. is a provider of ERP business management software for distributors and system integrators in the fluid power, hose, motion control, automation, fluid handling & pump industry who provide value-added services.