Differentiation to Improve ROI 400%

Jun 7, 2020 | Grow Your Business | 0 comments

Be Different, Improve ROI, Stand Out

“Not to be different is virtually suicidal,” said advertising genius William Bernbach. Does your company need to be different to improve your ROI?

You have a big problem. Your company is swimming in a sea of sameness. To stand out you’ve got to figure out how to be different in ways that are meaningful to the people who buy whatever it is that you sell.  Meaningful differentiation is the first step to category domination, improve ROI, and exponential growth/profits. That’s why we begin every client relationship with a thorough assessment of their business model, the category, its consumers, and the competition. Before we start spending money to woo prospects, we must be confident we have something powerful to say. Something unique, more compelling, truthful, and memorable than what our competitors are saying. 

Anyone can get more leads by spending more on advertising.  But exponential growth happens when your prospects want to do business with you.  Accomplish that and your ROI will improve by 100%, 200%, 300% or more.  We’ll talk another time about proven tactics to increase the likeability of your business, but before I illustrate differentiation with a client who launched a startup in a same old/same old category and then blew the doors off their competition, let me leave you with one thought to ponder. 

Think about your current ads.  If they have so little brand distinctiveness that a competitor could swap in their name and logo…and no one would notice… you are wasting money.  Effective advertising doesn’t have to be expensive, fancy or complicated; it just has to say something that resonates with your prospect.  Something so meaningful that it sticks with them, fans the flame of desire, and makes your business the place they want to shop first..

LISTENUP CANADA – Startup to 127 locations in eight years

The founder of ListenUP Canada helped a friend through the hearing aid process and thought, “There’s got to be a better way.”  So, he set out to create it.  His goal was to not only win more of the current hearing health care market, but to “increase the size of the pie” by reaching many of the 90% who historically never acquire hearing aids. (While over 50% of the public will eventually need hearing assistance, less than 10% of the people who need hearing aids ever get them.)

ListenUP’s approach to differentiation was to make the entire experience better.  Like so many medical services, competitors in the category weren’t providing a very impressive level of customer service.  So, Gordon’s approach to dominate the category was to marry state-of-the-art technology, the highest clinical standards, and a warm, full-service environment and experience.  He brought us on board because we’d helped him launch another very successful startup called Sleep Country Canada that was also a category disrupter.  (Sleep Country Canada grew from 0 to over 300 locations, becoming the largest company in their category in Canada.) 

ListenUP was ground up development; name, logo, slogan, jingle, television, radio, print, direct mail, online marketing,… 

  • We used tactics to build brand awareness and preference.
  • We targeted both the person who needs hearing aids, and their key influencers since often the person in need is reluctant to admit they need hearing aids.
  • Most hearing aid companies use a one-dimensional marketing approach.  We implemented a fully integrated approach incorporating Radio, TV, Print, Direct Mail, Social Media, Search Engine Marketing, Organic, PR, community engagement, and direct contact tactics.  An innovative lead gen strategy that quickly proved to have an ROI that was 400% more efficient than the hearing healthcare industry norms. 
  • With every element we ensured the message was unique and compelling. 

The result of this relentless focus on differentiation and category domination?

Over the next eight years ListenUp Canada became the largest hearing healthcare chain in Eastern Canada.  Their rapid growth led to a bidding war between several suitors, in the end Wm. Demant (with 2000+ locations around the globe) was the winner.  One of the first things the new owners did was to take our lead gen model and expand it throughout the rest of their network.

Another outcome of this runaway success story was that the founder was chosen as the Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year.

Services Provided:


Brand Identity


Focus Group Research

TV and Radio ads


Print ads

Direct Mail

Media strategy

Online advertising