Business Differentiation Strategies + Examples (1 of 3)

Business differentiation

Helga Dalla | Twin Photojournalist @

Any business, large or small, aims to differentiate itself from its competitors in order to stand out in the marketplace.

If you run a business, this post will prompt you to (re)consider your differentiation strategy. If you’re a consumer (and who isn’t!), it’ll help you understand what’s going on when you ‘shop around’.

As marketing specialist Michael R. Hunter explains:

The whole point of differentiation is to cut through the noise that exists in the marketplace, catch people’s attention, and attract the type of customer that you want to work with.

Hunter suggests 3 standard strategies: by demographic, by industry and by value.

This post focuses on differentiation by demographic and is the first of 3 where I use examples to illustrate what Hunter means. The next 2 focus on differentiation by industry and differentiation by value, respectively.

Business Differentiation by Demographic

One way to differentiate yourself from your competition is to focus your business and marketing efforts on a specific demographic. You can differentiate yourself by choosing an age-group, gender, race, or religion that your competitors are not targeting. (Michael R. Hunter)

  • Helga Dalla is a photographer who specialises in taking pictures of twins and triplets and their families. She travels all over Australia to visit and photograph multiple-birth families. With a very specific target market (twins and triplets living in Australia) Helga is differentiating herself by demographic. The fact that she’s about to publish a fourth volume of photographs – all of twins and triplets – suggests that it’s working.
Business differentiation

Helga Dalla | Photojournalist @

  • Marie Forleo is a US-based business coach. One of her offerings, B-School, was originally designed specifically for women online entrepreneurs and is a great example of differentiation by demographic. B-School – which now welcomes men, by the way – is hugely successful; I was one among 10,000 participants in 2013. By choosing to focus on women interested in online business, Forleo has been able to stand out from the thousands of business coaches who would otherwise be her direct competition.
business differentiation

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  • To brainstorm how I might differentiate my own business by demographic, I need to think about experience and expertise that might distinguish me from other editors. For example, I’m a qualified linguist with near-fluent French, a strong academic background and extensive experience teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). I could differentiate my business by targeting ESL academics and higher degree students. Given the growing international education market in Australia and other English-speaking countries, this could work well.

Don’t miss next week’s post (free sign up below) to read about differentiation by industry, with examples from an insurance company and an organic gardening business.

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If you run a business, how do you (or how might you) differentiate yourself from the competition? And if you’re a consumer, tell us about a business you use that offers a specialised service, such as those illustrated here. I’m looking forward to reading your comments.

Feel free to share this post with anyone you know who might be interested in business differentiation.

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If you liked this post, you might also enjoy A New Way to Blog?, How to Write Cohesive Paragraphs and Top 4 DIY Editing Tips.

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  1. Brian Green says:

    I am very late reading this post. However, as always full of interest and stimulating information. Brian

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