A selection from the new book: Different Rules – the B2B Marketer’s Guidebook to Product Differentiation

B2B “Differentiators” to avoid – Part 4

By Chris Wirthwein

Thousands upon thousands of B2B marketers use similar messages, including, I’d be willing to bet, competitors of yours. You can’t be different when you say the same thing as a competitor. Here’s a generic message to avoid.


Hats off to the world of continuous improvement for improving the quality of nearly everything. Not so long ago, buyers could more easily spot differences in quality—much less so today. So, can you differentiate on quality? In many B2B markets, customers consider quality a given. In some highly technical fields, marketers may still be able to differentiate on quality, often through a proprietary process. If that describes you, give that process a relevant, differentiating name and story, and back that up with facts. Another option is to take a small part of your quality story – a technical feature of how you do what you do – and explain how this seemingly modest difference provides a direct and relevant benefit to the customer. Also understand that quality discussions and examinations often come into play in the later stages of a buying process when the prospect’s people and your people are engaged one-on-one. Don’t squander your early marketing efforts talking about finer points that fit better later in the discussion.

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Chris Wirthwein is Senior Director for 5MetaCom, a marketing agency that develops strategies and campaigns to differentiate B2B technical and scientific products. He has authored three marketing books, including his latest, Different Rules: The B2B Marketer’s Guidebook to Product Differentiation. You can reach Chris on LinkedIn or at cwirthwein@5metacom.com.

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