Five ways to challenge your company's marketing status quo

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With Small Business Week coming up, it might be a good time to recognize one of the most exciting aspects of creating a small business: An entrepreneur can choose the direction of a company right from the get-go and doesn’t need to follow the rules dictated by the status quo.
Challenging the status quo can be its own challenge but also very rewarding. There is no reason to do what others do: Using strategies to break the mould and create something innovative captures the true spirit of entrepreneurship.

How to challenge the status quo? Here are five ways to build something different, exceptional, and worth talking about.

1. Develop a compelling competitive advantage

The idea is simple: Creating your competitive advantage is about delivering a new level of value that your marketplace is not accustomed to receiving.

Find ways to bring more value to customers by offering greater benefits or more distinctive results than what the marketplace is used to or what is currently available; give customers an advantage they need or don’t already have; and remove more risks from any downside or unfavourable result.

Begin by asking your customers what their biggest problems are that seem to be going unaddressed. Ask, too, what issues they’re having with current providers and what would need to happen to make them happy.

Then create an offering, product or service that delivers on the answers to all those questions, and exceeds the expectations of the marketplace.

2. Tell a better story

Stories may seem fluffy at first, but we pay attention to good ones, especially those that motivate us to take action or inspire us to achieve or attain a greater result.

A story could be about a problem and how it got resolved using your product or about how a product or service was developed.

Whatever story you decide to tell, make sure it’s relevant and resonates with those who hear it.

If it’s told with enough detail and resonates effectively, it should have a profound effect, either motivating listeners to take action or solidifying their decision to trust you.

For example, Schlitz Brewing Co. told a story about its beer-making process that focused on fundamentals and tried to demonstrate the quality of its product over others. The story completely transformed the company and made the marketplace flock to its products.

3. Change the game

Changing the game means that you take normal products or services and find ways to transform them and test the limits of what the marketplace expects.

It’s about creating something faster, bigger, smaller, colder, hotter or safer than what the marketplace expects.

By building something that isn't widely accepted as normal, you break the mould and attract the attention of the marketplace.

One product that changed the game was Chunky’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Burger . The Texas-based restaurant’s burger, containing four of the hottest items on the planet, claims to be the spiciest burger ever made.

Fedex’s overnight delivery service was another game changer. Two other examples of great products changing the game are the Hummer and the Smart Car.