I am about to do something SUPER cliche and kick off a blog post with a few quotes. Which is weird because this post is all about differentiation, and that is not a “different” tactic. But just go with it for a minute…there’s a method to my madness.
“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” – Coco Chanel
“Yeah, but if you’re not doing what everyone else is doing then you’re going to be misunderstood. People are going to wonder why you’re trying to be different; it’s just a natural instinct.” – Kid Cudi
“If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking.” – Benjamin Franklin
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Steve Jobs
“If everyone jumps off a bridge, does that mean you should?” – My mom. All moms actually.
Five very different quotes about being different. From five people who could not be more different from each other. Consider that for a second and let it sink in… because it’s pretty deep.
In every aspect of life there are people telling us to be different, to stand out, to find our very own unique selling proposition. It’s hammered into us from childhood, well into adult years and then when we are in our careers.
But in a world with so much noise, so much clutter, if you are not different you can easily get lost in the shuffle and blend in. It could not be more true than in a world engulfed in technology. As I write this post I am sitting at my desk with two computer screens, a billion tabs and applications open, ear buds in. Even the music coming out of those earbuds is different! (Just went from Tupac to The Killers).
Know where else differentiation is HUGE??? In Digital. And you know what the secret sauce is to achieve that differentiation? Kicking that audience engagement into high gear with interactivity. Weave it into as much of your content as possible – white papers, infographics, ebooks, and anything else your audiences are exposed to on your site.
Let’s play a game, like the coke and pepsi taste tests they used to do and build TV commercials around (I can totally tell the difference by the way). Except there’s no blindfold, no nondescript cups, no covers over the soda can labels and no contrived expressions of shock as they guess the wrong brand.
You’re a customer poking around on a vendor’s website. You end up in their bevy of white papers. Which would draw you in and make you want to read:
Oh, gee, I don’t know. Let me see. Do I want to plow through pages and pages and pages and pages (that last one was for dramatic effect) of text, graphs and diagrams? Or…do I want to see a document where everything is clickable. Like. everything! All of the same info but like a choose your own adventur-ish feel. Skip Chapter 2? Don’t mind if i do!
And for all the folks who are freaking out because they need something to hold in thier hands and flip through – you can still make it a PDF if you choose. Win-win.
While a small example, it’s scenarios like this that show how your content CAN and SHOULD differentiate you. Is it what you create? Yes! Because who wants to read boring snoozeworthy stuff. But, it’s also about presentation. There’s not one right way to do this. It’s about figuring out a content voice and physical appearance to match. If your content had a narrator, would it be more Ben Stein (static content) or Morgan Freeman (interactive content). I mean, I’d choose Freeman. The man doesn’t get asked to narrate every documentary on TV because he sucks at it!
The truth is that digital differentiation is new for most of us. It’s uncharted territory and your content is the map (cheesy or spot on?)
Because it is such a big, timely and robust topic, we decided to dedicate a series of blog posts to it. We want to outline what exactly it means to differentiate yourself, what tactics you can use, and a whole smattering of awesomness to go along with it.
So, consider this your Differentiation 101. The agenda is set and from here we’ll delve in. Ready. Set. Differentiate.
It’s been awhile since you’ve been in school, huh? Want to freshen up your knowledge and be ready for your Digital Differentiation 101 course? Curious on what online visitors are really looking for out of your digital experience? Register now and receive Demand Metric’s latest Benchmark Report, Enhancing the Buyer’s Journey, for free (a $495 value)!