It’s tough competition out there. You’ve got to rise above the noise to get the attention of any new prospective customers. You probably do a great job promoting your deals and your wonderful products in every way you can think of. But you might be missing something. Do you do something really well and really different that doesn’t go head to head with your competition?

What got me thinking about this was watching the television ads that Southwest Airlines has been running recently. In these tough economic times when many of the airlines are nickel and diming travelers for things like blankets and bags, Southwest is promoting “Bags Fly Free”. They’re not going for “most on-time arrivals” or “most legroom”. They’re hitting a pain point that’s giving them some real differentiation.

I started to think of a few other big names that have done a great job at this. Enterprise Rent-a-Car picks you up if you can’t get to the car rental location. Westin Hotels markets their Heavenly Bed to weary guests. Red Envelope sends everything they sell in beautiful red packaging. Heck, Playtex is even marketing their see through packaging so you can see what’s inside before you buy it.

What do you think that you have in your arsenal that will make you rise above it all in a crowded messaging arena? Here are a few ideas I kicked around.

Wine Corks Wineries – Promote something off the wall like your wine is great with a burger.  Promote that your screw caps are better for the environment than corks or that you don’t need a wine opener for your wines. OR vice versa, your wine will age better with a cork.

Jewelry Designers – Talk about how your jewelry clasps never break.

Nail Spas – Promote that your nail polish lasts 14 days or that you’ve got the most comfortable chairs and the best magazines.

Hair Salons – Talk about how you give the best 10 minute scalp massage with any haircut and promote a free “clean up” or bang trim two weeks after your cut.

Hotels – Is your property dog-friendly? Talk about it! Promote the steamer in the rooms so that your guests can steam their wrinkled clothes.

Auto Shops – Promote your kid-friendly shop and your free coffee, bagels and muffins in the morning.

Restaurants – Open for Thanksgiving? Promote a take-home baggie of a turkey sandwich for every patron.

Software – Talk about how you are saving the environment because your user guide is online or on a CD, or that your SaaS company loves the environment because there is no packaging.

Once you have your competitive advantage down, test it in your next email marketing campaign and in your messaging. You might be surprised what resonates with new prospects.

What great competitive advantages do you have to use? Share them please, we’d love to hear them.

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