Differentiating Your Firm
The problem with the marketing concept is a persistent tendency toward rigidity. It gets dogmatized, interpreted into constantly narrower and inflexible prescriptions. . . . There is not, and cannot be, any rigid and lasting interpretation of what the marketing concept means in the specific ways a company should operate at any given time.
Perhaps no other topic in professional services marketing is more challenging than differentiating a firm. After all, many firms are capable of providing similar services. However, they are often at a loss to describe how their services are different from those of competitors.
Is Differentiation Important?
We introduced differentiation as one of the key elements of a value proposition in Chapter 8. Yet, given how difficult it can be to differentiate a professional services firm, is it really worth the effort?
The short answer is “yes.” The proof comes in part from our research on high-growth, high-profitability professional services firms (you can get more details in the book Spiraling Up: How to Create a High Growth, High Value Professional Services Firm).1 We found that these firms were more than three times as likely to have a strong and easy-to-understand differentiator than average-growth firms. Often this differentiator takes the form of a specialization. About half of the high-growth firms describe themselves as very specialized. From a growth and profitability perspective, a strong differentiator ...