Strategies for Small Business Differentiation

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In today’s marketing world, every small business seeks to stand out among a myriad of competitors. Because United States consumers have so many choices, businesses who fail to differentiate themselves from the competition struggle to survive. However, an effective differentiating strategy can help a small business not only to live, but also to thrive in the marketplace. Marketing experts Jack Trout and Steven Rivkin combine their genius to describe practical concepts on business differentiation. From their extensive knowledge, a small business executive can glean three valuable differentiating strategies which help a small business to secure a competitive advantage over the competition. A small, gourmet supermarket chain in Ohio called Dorothy Lane Market will practically illustrate these concepts. Authors Trout and Rivkin share that a wise small business can accomplish brand differentiation by owning a heritage, a uniquely processed product, or a brand attribute.

Owning a Heritage

The presence of a business heritage provides a business with a differentiating strategy. Trout and Rivkin confirm that a long and successful past leads consumers to believe that the business must being doing something right; the company must be producing a reputable and dependable product or service that is providing for the needs of its customers (2008, p. 125). Owning the differentiating strategy of business heritage powerfully creates a positive image of confidence in the minds of consumers. Authors Trout and Rivkin describe two specific types of heritage that a business could own to differentiate itself.

Locational Heritage

Locational heritage claims an association with a country which is already well-known for making a specific product. For...

... middle of paper ... “Selling the Highest Quality Natural and Organic Products” ( Notice that, although Dorothy Lane also offers a broad selection of similar natural and organic foods, it does not differentiate itself in this way. DLM chooses to differentiate itself by owning a broader attribute, which infers that its specialty grocery store accommodates all the specialty food needs of its customers.

A business needs to create an effective differentiating strategy to succeed. By owning a heritage, a specialty, or an attribute, a business can differentiate its brand and product/service offerings so a customer will know what benefits the business offers. A small business executive who implements any one of these three practical differentiating strategies by marketing experts, Trout and Rivkin, will capture a competitive advantage over the market competition.

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