When comparing the marketing and credentials material of organisations operating in some services industries, you could be forgiven for concluding that they were actually the same business, just trading under different names.
Consider the following (fictionalised, but very common) examples in the industries of engineering, human services, and IT services.
“We are an award-winning national engineering firm with a commitment to delivering high-quality projects. We maintain a unique employee culture that empowers our teams to deliver highly personalised, commercially viable and robust engineering solutions. With experts who sit on many of the industry’s leading regulatory bodies, we are at the forefront of industry developments in engineering. We invest in the development of our staff, and our high-performance teams deliver exceptional client service that goes the extra mile for our customers.”
“We are a community organisation with a proud history of supporting marginalised and disadvantaged people, including children, young people, families, Indigenous Australians, people with disabilities, people from culturally diverse backgrounds, and older Australians. We deliver end-to-end services in urban, rural and remote communities that deliver on our vision of safe and strong families living in socially inclusive communities. We are working to create opportunities that break the cycle of poverty, improve people’s quality of life, and give a voice to those who are most vulnerable.”
“We are an enterprise IT solutions business that works with our customers to create efficiencies across their people, processes and technologies. We believe in the power of information technology to drive business growth and innovation, and our team delivers unmatched depth and breadth of expertise with global reach. We will help you to leverage your existing IT investments by assessing your current systems for peak performance, delivering data hosting and business continuity solutions, and providing hardware maintenance.”
Do any of these descriptions sound like your business? Do they look familiar in terms of the way you’re accustomed to talking about yourself? And could they equally describe most of your competitors?
Industries develop a kind of “common language” that helps professionals in the industry communicate with one another.
This is useful to a point, until it becomes a common marketing language as well.
The more that customers experience this common marketing language, the less difference they see between you and your competitors – and the more likely they are to commoditise you, and insist you compete on price alone.