Intentional differentiation

Philip Morgan

This is an interesting hip hop music factoid:------One of the band's most striking aspects is B-Real's exaggeratedly high-pitched nasal vocals. In the book Check the Technique, B-Real describes his nasal style, saying his rapping voice is "high and annoying... the nasal style I have was just something that I developed... my more natural style wasn't so pleasing to DJ Muggs and Sen Dog's ears" and talking about the nasal style in the book How to Rap, B-Real says, "you want to stand out from the others and just be distinct... when you got something that can separate you from everybody else, you gotta use it to your advantage."------That's from Wikipedia's article on Cyprus Hill, a pretty great hip hop group.B-Real developed a distinct vocal style to intentionally differentiate himself from other rappers.In your marketing, your differentiator(s) should usually be relevant and natural.What makes you different should be relevant to the prospects you want to attract. "Unlike other software developers, I make my own yogurt from fresh, unpasteurized cow milk" fails the relevance test in a big way.Your differentiator(s) should also be natural. When I'm on the phone with a prospect for my services, it's easy for me to say something like "(unlike other marketing consultants) I've seen the specific struggles that self-employed software developers face when deciding how to specialize and I can use that insight to help you bypass some of those struggles" because... it's true. It's not a made-up differentiator. It's not un-natural for me to say it because it relates directly to the context of my clients and their needs.Are there differentiators that are relevant but not natural, meaning they are relevant but something you've made up or you intentionally do to differentiate yourself?I'm not sure. I think you can intentionally develop a differentiator over time, but it should eventually pass the relevance and naturalness tests.The best differentiator, of course, is focus. Focus applied over time is the progenitor of lots of good things, including strong differentiation from competitors.Get yourself started on the focusing journey: Know a self-employed software developer who might benefit from specialization? Send 'em this free gift! Details here --> /referrals/