Business Differentiation Strategies + Examples (2 of 3)

business differentiation examples

Helga Dalla | Photojournalist @

Like identical twins, businesses may need to answer the question, ‘How are you different?’.

This is the second of 3 posts that outline and illustrate strategies that help a business stand out from the competition: differentiation by demographic, differentiation by industry and differentiation by value.

Marketing specialist Michael R. Hunter provides a clear definition of differentiation:

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.

Last week’s post covered differentiation by demographic, with examples from photography and online business coaching. This week:

Business Differentiation by Industry

Another way to separate your business from the competition is to focus on a specific industry. (Michael R. Hunter)

  • Tradesure sells insurance. Unlike most other insurance companies, it focuses on a particular industry within the insurance market, namely tradies. Tradesure has become expert in that industry; and the industry knows it. Tradesure has even been able to design policies uniquely suited to tradespeople that are unavailable, of course, from their competitors. This is differentiation by industry.
examples of business differentiation

Insurance for Tradies & Builders @

  • Small businesses may also target a specific segment of an industry. My friend Anne Gibson owns and runs Anne’s an experienced and expert gardener with a passion for helping people economically grow their own organic food at home. Within the (vast) organic gardening market, Anne differentiates her business by focusing on a specific segment, namely urban gardens. In other words, Anne helps people garden and grow food in small spaces such as balconies, patios and urban blocks. She shows you how to feed a family by growing in containers such as pots or in vertical structures that are extremely space-economical. This is differentiation by industry segment.
differentiation - business examples

Anne Gibson is The Micro Gardener @

  • So, how might an editor differentiate by industry? Here’s one idea. Over the past 20 years, I’ve spent hundreds of hours working or volunteering on community group projects that focus on sustainability, permaculture and community resilience. One option may be for me to focus on editing ‘green’ content for community groups. There’s plenty of scope here. My work would include grant applications, campaign and educational material, articles, reports, theses, web copy, and more.

At a sustainability conference, delegates use blackboards and chalk to envision towns of the future.

If you run a business, how might you differentiate by industry or by industry segment? Share examples from businesses you’re familiar with.

Don’t miss next week’s third and final post (free sign up below) on differentiation by value, with examples from graphic design and

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If you liked this post, you might also enjoy How to Write a Business Letter, Top 3 DIY Proofreading Tips and 5 Easy Steps to Control your To Do List.

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  1. It’s one of the areas that my clients find the hardest to look at, thinking if they highlight their differences, that it’s a weak point as they’d be repelling part of their market. In reality they’d be expanding it in depth, as they’d have a clearer message and attract MORE of those people.
    Love your blog Alison – so many important points are covered, just enough to trigger staying on my path! Thankyou 🙂

    • Hi Marina, what an interesting point you make about how some businesses perceive differentiation as shrinking their market. I wasn’t aware of that, so thank you. I’m so glad you found my post useful 🙂

  2. Alison, I’m really enjoying this series of thought provoking articles. Thanks for sharing my business niche. I thought I’d share another example. A local small business has differentiated itself in a very competitive market – restaurants. Live Foods Cafe at Maleny make their point of difference not by offering just a few RAW FOOD options on their menu for health conscious diners. Their ENTIRE MENU is “Delicious, plant based food that nourishes the body & delights the senses. Everything is made without the use of gluten, dairy & other animal products.” Many people suffer allergies and are looking for vegan and healthy alternatives. Other health food cafes usually offer 1 or 2 raw options, making it difficult for those with dietary restrictions. To bravely target a small but growing niche market seems to be working. Their menu changes EVERY WEEK, enticing happy customers back to try something new. A clever strategy for building their point of difference and business.

    • Hi Anne, thank you for commenting with such a good example of differentiation. I agree that it’s ‘brave’ to specialise in the way Live Foods Cafe is doing. It’s great the way they are so clear and specific about what they’re doing – that will increase the chances of their success. I’ll be sure to visit the next time I’m in Maleny!

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