Stand out: Differentiation strategy in marketing


Differentiation strategy in marketing is an important initiative to consider and run well to stand out. For example, in a market full of choices for the buyer, it’s essential for companies to find a way to rise above the rest. And that requires the right mix of brand positioning and growth marketing.

Growgetter CEO Jenn Mancusi discusses this topic in this episode of “Marketing, Demystified.” She analyzed 100 booths at the Quirks New York City conference to see how brands in the market research space are trying to differentiate. Find the results below.

What’s a differentiation strategy in marketing?

To stand out, companies can’t all sound the same. Not everyone can be “No. 1,” “the best,” or even “industry-leading.” It’s mathematically not possible. Yet those terms are easy to use, but are they really showing off your unique value proposition? Not really, if there are five No. 1s, according to everyone’s website.

To create a strategy that really can help a brand stand out from the crowd, several steps should be considered:

  • What’s happening in the market already, and what are others saying?
  • Which offerings make your company truly unique and different from the rest?
  • Are those offerings something the market needs and wants right now?
  • Determining the best way to share that story to drive marketing ROI.

Some of the positioning tips to keep in mind to stand out:

  • Keep it simple
  • Be customer-centric
  • Show you uniqueness
  • Bonus: Show your work!

What could be differentiators for a company?

The list can certainly evolve, but some unique selling points a company can use in its differentiation strategy in marketing certainly can entail a number of items, including:

  • Product offerings, including uniqueness of products
  • Meets buyer expectations of basic functionality
  • Ease of use
  • Price
  • What the brand stands for as a whole through its actions, messaging, etc.
  • Customer service
  • Ease of finding answers to questions that

At the end of the day, it’s important to understand what makes your company unique in a crowded marketplace and then shout that from the rooftops to ensure the right people hear you and know how you can help them specifically.

Differentiation strategy analysis in the MR space

Jenn looked at all booths at the Quirks New York City event in 2023 and found the top 5 claims included:

  • 17% highlight their global reach and expertise in conducting research across various markets and regions
  • 15% highlight the role of AI in enhancing research and analysis processes
  • 13% highlight the simplicity, automation, and ease of using their platforms or tools for research and insights
  • 11% position themselves as drivers of transformation and innovation in the market research industry
  • 10% specifically mention their specialization in both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies
  • BONUS: several companies claim to be #1

Messaging could be broken down into three areas:

  • 38% are Functional (i.e., Quality Data Captured Globally)
  • 24% are Benefits-Driven (i.e., Uncovering Insights to Drive Action)
  • 36% are Aspirational (i.e., Nothing is as it Seems)

Unique messaging 

Some companies used creative and unique messaging to differentiate themselves, such as Goodqueus, Recollective, BAMM, and RepData.  What made them unique and memorable?

  • Creative, attention-grabbing headlines.  Literally.  The Goodqueus exhibit was a really unique approach to getting people to stop and look, which is half the battle on a crowded show floor.  They leveraged the concept of newspaper headlines to make a big splash about the work they do, and it really stood out.
  • Bold differentiation.  A bold statement or counteraction to the norm of what the attendees are experiencing at the event (remember, 70% of the booths had statements falling into 1 of 5 categories…) is a great way to grab attention.  RepData’s headline of “Data Done Different” is really bold and elicits curiosity to find out more.  How are they different? You’ll have to talk to them to find out!  Well done.
  • Aspirational and benefit-driven positioning.  Another great way to stand out is by speaking to your prospects’ aspirational desires.  What motivates them?  What do you help them to become?  BAMM nailed this approach with their definition of Insight in Motion, helping people to envision how they can help generate insights that drive action.
  • Customer-centricity. Finally, Recollective did a fantastic job of putting its customers at the center of their brand story, in a really simple way.  Qualitative Research Your Way.  It’s so important to ensure your prospects can see how your product or service can actually help them.


Planning on exhibiting this Fall and want to make sure your booth stands out from the competition? Reach out to us for a free assessment.


Related content

Discover a wealth of topics, insights, and exclusive resources from our industry experts.