Be the best in your category with strategic offerings

Develop a strong presence so that people understand what you offer and how that makes you different from the competition. It doesn't have to be a big offering, but a dedicated effort to something that your ideal customers value can make a huge difference for your business.

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When I say it doesn't have to be a big promise or offering, I mean it. Knowing your target audience means that you create a strategic offering, not one that necessarily adds dollars directly. One of my favorite examples of this is Buc-ee's.

If you're not familiar, Buc-ee's is a chain of gas stations. I had never seen them before I moved to Texas and was definitely skeptical of their status as "the best place to stop" according to people I met. My graduate school director made sure that we always stopped at a Buc-ee's, even making us wait for a further exit so people could experience it.

That's a lot of build up for a gas station. I wasn't really sure how I felt about it and then heard their main promise: clean bathrooms. I said to myself, "Wow, I would drive for that. But, I'm not really sure if that's true." After mentioning I had never been to a Buc-ee's, my friend took me to one to see what I was missing.

Since their market was women and families on the road, and they knew women wanted a clean bathroom, they made this their promise through signs along the road.

What does Buc-ee's do well?

  • They knew their target market. By offering a promise of clean bathrooms, they ensured that women would want to stop their and drag their families along for the ride.
  • And then they delivered. Now, even I want to wait for a Buc-ee's because the bathrooms are cleaned constantly, all day, and are easily the cleanest public bathrooms I have ever experienced.
  • They built a core expectation of clean bathrooms, and then expanded their offerings. By generating more opportunities to shop (Buc-ee's have tons of pumps and are huge compared to a general gas station), they allow the people who stop to browse and shop, increasing their revenue.

Buc-ee's found something they could do well and be the best at. They delivered their target customers exactly what they needed, an experience that was worth returning for.

What do you offer your customers that keep coming back? It should be more than the service you offer (every gas station has a bathroom). What keeps people returning to you?

  • Think about the peace of mind you can offer by working with you. These intangibles add to your overall appeal.
  • What do you do to make yourself stand out? It can be: simplified billing, clean bathrooms, a friendly face, a birthday card.
  • Think about your ease of doing business. Are you an easy place to find and work with? Can people understand and explain what you do?

Becoming known in your category, like Buc-ee's now is, requires thinking bigger, being open to developing new capabilities, and committing to your promise before adding to it.

What will you do to make yourself stand out?