How To Differentiate Yourself In A Busy Market

How To Differentiate Yourself In A Busy Market

So, you are a food and drink company, and you have a product or service you want to promote?

Today’s food and drink industry is booming. It is filled to the brim with products to cater to every taste. In order not to get lost in the crowd, you have to understand how to differentiate yourself in this busy marketplace. Is your product unique? Is there a need for your product? Does your product’s marketing have a personality that will appeal to your target market?

The ‘Marketplace’

First of all you have to realise some very important things about the marketplace:

The market is always right. – Even though you at times you may believe that the market is wrong, it makes no odds – if the market says ‘yes’ or ‘no’, then that’s what the market says. The market doesn’t play favourites, and once it has made its mind up it can be difficult to change.

You have the idea, but is there a demand? – Have you created a superb product that you believe is going to change the market? If you have then congratulations! But this is only one piece of the whole puzzle. If the market doesn’t have a need for your product, at its price point, then it probably won’t buy it. You’re then going to have to work very hard to convince the market otherwise. Cast your mind back to 2016 and the introduction of Juicero – the company providing a $700 food juicer. When consumers realised the Produce Packs contained food that was just as easily pressed without the juicer, sales nosedived. After an attempt at a lower price point and new marketing, Juicero has now shut up shop.

The market buys when and how it wants to – always. – You can’t force someone to buy whenever you want them to. Consumers have predictable buying habits. Influencing them to impulse buy when and how you want them to is near impossible. Of course there are exceptions when people go crazy on ‘Black Friday’ for a bargain, but then you’re cutting the price, and once you cut the price, is there a way back?

The market has a short attention span. – Novelty products can be quickly forgotten by the market. How long did fidget spinners last as the new big thing? Who’s still playing Pokémon Go? Of course you can create a short term demand, but that’s not a sustainable model. Unless you’re just in it for a quick buck?


Some of thee points can seem negative. But that’s not the point. They are intended to add some realism, and to make sure you don’t take expensive short cuts. You have to make sure you plan properly before you launch your product or campaign so that you can effectively differentiate yourself from all of your competitors and increase your chances of success. The following is a diagram that myself and an old business partner used to show clients. I think it is still very relevant today. If you follow the flow then you have a better chance of success than jumping ahead of yourself.

  1. Always start with Intel and Strategy. Do your research! Research into your competitors, and your potential customers. Create your strategy and action plans with this intel at the front of your mind. By doing this you ensure you know the basics of your brand positioning and how you want your product or service to be perceived. Only once you have these areas tied down can you move to the Brand Communication Plan level.
  2. Decide the channels which you will use to communicate about your brand to the market. 
  3. Content Production for each of these channels can then begin. You must always keep your research on competitors and your ideal brand position in mind when creating the content.
  4. Finally you can move to Campaigning. Get your content and product out there. This will involve campaigning, and tweaking, and more researching, and verifying, and changing content and trying other channels and campaigning again, and so on.


You simply can’t stay still if you are going to stay ahead in the market.

And the key to your brand proposition and your success in the market – above all else is, of course, differentiation. How does your product or service differ from your competitors, and how do you communicate that with your target customers? I have always believed that marketing is pretty much common sense. That if you do the research and get the information to your hands, you will be able to create a good first go at a marketing strategy. It’s the creation of the content and the campaigning that is more difficult. That’s where you can’t go by gut feeling and create something just because you personally like it.

You have to stick to the model, and truthfully answer the question, ‘does the content and campaign back up the Intel and Strategy?’ Analyse, understand and then create, and then analyse again. What worked, what didn’t work? You’ll not always get it right first time.

If you want to get the market’s attention and get the market to buy, you’ll have a much better chance following this methodical path.

– Alan Cunningham, MD Totalize Media