I cannot help but notice eager restorers asking other restorers what their recipe for success was while scanning through social media, industry publications and wanderings at industry events. I saw us doing the same thing in the infancy of our restoration company. We noticed contractors in our area doing TPA work; suddenly, we found ourselves exploring TPAs. After seeing that other restorers posted about agent and plumber marketing, we quickly adopted similar strategies. This happens every day and causes an effect some people refer to as “the sea of sameness.” If you start looking at restoration websites and marketing materials, visit restoration companies and look at their vans, everything starts to look pretty much the same.
Before you jump to conclusions, I’m not suggesting that industry uniformity is terrible. There are a lot of pros to “doing things the same way” as an industry, including a voice and purchasing power. However, we must realize that the primary role of any enterprise is to solve a problem and that differentiation is the key to competitive advantage. In addition to following what your competitors or other peers on the forums are doing, I challenge you to take a deeper look at what they aren’t doing. Suppose you can discover a process, tactic or service offering that is unheard of within the industry and succeed with it. In that case, you will become the only company within your market competing in that fashion.
There is a concern that your competitors will simply adapt and adjust their practices to copy the differentiator that you have chosen to follow. However, being the “first” to implement the differentiator gives you the advantage of knowing the process much better, and you’ll have less competition on that differentiator than others.
Allow me to give you an example. Looking at the restoration market as a whole, it’s safe to say that almost all restorers conduct some sort of B2C paid digital marketing efforts. It’s no wonder that water damage keywords are in the top three most expensive keywords. If you are to implement B2C restoration marketing, you’re very likely to compete against all the contractors within your market. That being said, B2B (business to business, i.e. insurance agent) inbound digital marketing is currently almost unheard of within the restoration industry — at least until you and your competitor read this article and decide to implement it. Now you’re competing against a handful of restorers within your market and have a critical differentiating factor instead of competing against all. Obviously, your competitors will eventually notice what you’re doing and attempt to follow on. However, you’re already way ahead of the game by that point. Besides, it will take decades for most competitors to implement these practices to the saturation of B2C paid digital marketing efforts.
While no one in the groups talks about ideas like B2B inbound digital marketing, these are the true factors that can lead to the explosive growth of a restoration company. Once you’ve bought in to the importance of differentiators, finding these ideas is relatively simple. A few ways you can discover differentiators are:
- Take a look outside the industry: There are many tactics and systems that are commonly used in other sectors that haven’t been applied to the restoration industry. Take a look at other successful companies and try to see if one of their success drivers is simply different and how you can apply it within your market.
- Read a lot of books: At Albi, our team is obsessed with books. We have a weekly book club meeting where we all meet and discuss what we’ve read and how we can implement the concepts from the books we’ve digested into our business. The key here is implementation. There’s no point to read about a great idea and throw it in the back of your memory without implementing it.