Got P.O.D.?

Every bar has beer. No, not all of them stock exactly the same mix, but one can generally get something cold, frosty and satisfying in any local watering hole. Same with other beverages one can find. Lots of the same bottles sitting on shelves behind the bar no matter where you go.

SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 20:  Six packs and single ...

Yet people have very specific preferences when talking about why they choose Bar A over Bar B. Why would that be when the primary products that draw customers – booze! – is identical?The answer is obviously that people don’t choose where to drink on the basis of the rocket fuel, obviously. Sure, there are some exceptions – certain micro-brews are available, you can fill your own growler, etc. – but mostly what people come for has nothing to do with the stuff under the bar and on the shelves. It has to do with the folks behind the bar.  It has to do with the folks sitting around that bar.   It has to do with the experience.

Those things are the point of differentiation and unless you have one, you’re just a generic watering hole that competes on price.  If you don’t have one, you’re unbranded in consumers’ minds, in my opinion.  You’re generic.  It’s possible to win competing on that basis, but not very likely.

Seems like common sense, right?  Well, it is, but you’d be surprised how many projects I’ve discussed with people where they talk about launching something with absolutely no point of differentiation from the others doing the same or similar thing.  Do people really need another social network?  Why should I switch my web hosting to you?  You get the point.  If you can’t answer the question, keep asking it until you can.  If you can’t find the reason why I should drink in your bar, I’m moving on.

Have you thought about your product or service that way? What’s your point of differentiation?

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