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Are you a Volvo or a Ferrari?

You’ve heard the old saying, “If you can’t be No. 1 in the category, then invent a new category.” That’s what Jack Trout, president of marketing firm Trout & Partners and a recent speaker at REAL Trends Gathering of Eagles, espouses. “Business has two basic functions: marketing and innovation,” says Trout. “They produce results. The rest are costs.” That’s why Trout finds it vital for real estate brokers to focus on a differentiation strategy. Here are his suggestions:

  1. Differentiation via attribute. Volvo is known for safety. Crest is known for cavity prevention. “Once you know what attribute makes you different, build your programs to drive that.”
  2. It’s all in the process. “Is there magic in the way you provide a service?” If you manage a listing differently than your competition, build your marketing around that difference.
  3. Being first. “People tend to stick with what they know, so if you’re first, then they’ll stay with you. But, if you say you’re first, you had truly better be first.”
  4. Next generation. While people tend to stick with what they know, they’re always looking for the newest and latest generation of that product or service. Are you using the next generation of technology to market listings?
  5. Leadership. “Many people equate bigness and social status with success.” He says that you must position yourself as a leader, build your brand around that and then find something in your marketing that brands you as such.
  6. Specialization. “People are impressed with those who concentrate on one activity or one product.” Customers then think they are receiving the expertise they deserve. “You can become an expert in one category.”
  7. Heritage. “A line from the past can be a line of the future.”

How to do it

Once you decide how to differentiate yourself, follow these four steps:
  1. Explore the competition and make sense of your branding in context with them.
  2. Find that different idea and use it to set up a benefit for the customer.
  3. Make sure you have the credentials to support your claim.
  4. Communicate your difference. “The world won’t automatically build a path to your door, but every aspect of communication should reflect your differences.”  

SOURCE: Reprinted with permission of REAL Trends, copyright 2008