Marketing can be like a magic sword. Despite whatever powers it may have, a sword can still dull and lose its edge.

In the case of marketing, your edge is the summary of all things that make you stand out from the rest of the competition. So no matter how many tools or channels you use, leaving that edge to blunt is only going to make you sound the same across all of them!

So what are the things that maintain your marketing edge? Where do you find this whetstone or can you actually make it yourself?

As a matter of fact, your edge is only comprised of just three things: Your market knowledge, your brand, and your value proposition.

  • Market knowledge – The first component is the most important because without it, you won’t know how to put the other two together. Knowing who your target market is the first thing that will show people who you are, what you do, and why all of that makes you different from the rest.
  • Brand – The concept of branding isn’t just for B2C. Jim Price’s article on Business Insider has several examples of B2B brands (e.g. Oracle, Dell, and Microsoft SQL). A brand is essentially what happens when you wrap up your business and your products into an image that’s easy to remember.
  • Value proposition – Finally, there’s the value proposition. It’s importance goes beyond just giving your prospects a reason to consider buying from you. It’s the reasons themselves that add to your uniqueness, and therefore, improves your edge. Inc has a quick guide into four basic value propositions you can make. However, you can easily see that each of these basic types can also be mixed and match to better fit any business model.

What makes the combination of these three so powerful is that it really translates into the daily tasks you do when marketing your business.

Your market knowledge keeps you from just blindly sending messages or cold calls to anyone. Your brand translates into something prospects will remember and keeps messages from sounding just like everyone else. When they start asking about what’s in it for them, your value proposition kicks in to show your unique advantage.

It’s when you start neglecting these three important elements that you end up a lost voice in the big marketing crowd that many prospects are now desensitized to. Keep that edge sharp!