How do you distinguish yourself when everyone around wants to stand out?

I went to advertising trade shows yesterday. 700 exhibitors offering gadgets, gifts, my beloved print and… trade show booths, which is kind of meta :) Now I realised this kind of exhibition contains a paradox: how do you stand out when everyone around is trying to? Here’s what I found.

In the end most of the exhibitors had products with features. Some brought in benefits one could gain from working with them. Some of them had some kind of a purple cow. Here and there was something new or attention grabbing. But only a few of them had simplicity of use and understanding of my problems. In these rare few cases I felt they knew me before I even came to talk to them :)

What it means they have been in my shoes in one way or the other. Either they felt the pain and it made them create the product. Or they did a really good customer research.

This is unusual because when you’re a printing house then you don’t use services of printing houses. If you’re a taxi driver you almost never use a taxi. Here lies the simple and large business opportunity.

Corollary of focus on features and fancy demo was attracting a random crowd. Since they were going after attention, they were attracting plenty of attention of folks who will never be their customers.

unsplash-logoJoe deSousa