How to TRULY Differentiate Your Business

The cornerstone of every business

Reza Rezvi
Written by
Reza Rezvi

May 20, 2022

How to TRULY Differentiate Your Business

Most non-marketers don’t understand marketing. FACT. And why should they? I don’t know how to do a root canal or tattoo someone so why should I expect these business owners to understand the complexities of marketing. Therefore, I’d like to give you a quick lesson in differentiation and some common misconceptions that I’ve come across throughout my career. 

Story Time!

Back in my Wall Street days, I would go around to different schools and colleges to speak with dentist and physician residents (and also mid-late career). I’d constantly be gob smacked by these supremely intelligent people telling me that “operating a business” is not part of their curriculum, only their job-specific duties meaning there's o marketing, legal or finance

It’s shocking to me because whether you’re a dentist, physician, or a tattoo artist, you all have one thing in common: you’re a business owner (assuming you work for yourself, of course)

Dentists and physicians spend over a decade in school buried in hundreds and thousands of dollar worth of student loans…and they just kinda have to figure it out! I mean even when I became a Personal Trainer and Nutritionist, there were chapters dedicated towards structuring your business entity and basic marketing principles. 


When I tell people our main client verticals, the reaction is always the same "wow, those individual verticals are really different and have virtually no relationship to one another. How did you come up with that?". 

When Richard and I co-founded Heymaker Media, one of the first questions we asked ourselves is "who do we want to serve, and why?". It required reflection and self-awareness to understand where we could add value. We also knew we wanted to specifically focus on growing business (SMBs, if you will) because they need the most help, and we personally admire their hustle (after all, we've been there ourselves!)

Thereafter, we concluded that our clients should be those with whom we have extensive experience either on the back-end (as a consumer), or on the front-end (as a service provider).  The end result, a unique concoction of professionals: 

Health and Wellness

Our entire team is very health- conscious and I myself am a Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist so it's kind-of a no brainer!

Doctors, Dentists and Hospitals

(All of our team members have worked directly with medical practitioners in some capacity. In fact our very own Chief Growth Officer, Kate Roselle, is a licensed clinician herself!)


(It goes without saying that as a marketing agency, we would be remiss if we didn't concentrate on creatives like artists (tattoo, paint, make-up, etc.), photographers/videographers and the like. It also kinda helps that my counterpart, Richard, is a creative mastermind.


We are currently living in the "entrepreneurial age" surrounded by inventors of all kinds. Furthermore, many of our own team members at Heymaker have their own separate hustle outside of our agency (we welcome that!). Our Head of Digital Marketing has her own bakery business (show her some love on IG: @velvet_szr!)

We also had many meetings with our team who questioned whether we were boxing ourselves out by:

1) Targeting SMBs

2) Listing out these 4 groups of professionals (while potentially alienating others) on our website.

Ah, and here lies the lesson my pedigree chums:

By NOT defining your audience and trying to appease everyone, you also ALIENATE EVERYONE. Your prospective clients will sniff you out like a bloodhound if you attempt to be a jack of all trades.

Box yourself out, and OWN IT.

Five-Star Basketball on Twitter: "11th commandment: Thou shall box out." / Twitter



I’m a man of action (which is why my nickname at Heymaker is “Get ‘Ish Done) so here’s your task:

Create a list and write down all your target audience's needs. THINK DEEPER THAN SURFACE LEVEL!

For instance, a dentist may think that their main job is simply "drilling and filling" teeth. What if the dentist is great at this function but requires patients to wait 30-60mins before they see them?  Will the patients come back? Some might, many won't because time is money these days. 

Customers (of any service provider) want an "experience". For instance, I personally write and mail a hand-written “Thank You” note to anybody who considers our agency regardless of whether they formally engage because I value people’s time. It’s not about “closing the sale” AT ALL. 

Once you think deeper than surface level, you can then begin to create unique and diverse content that appeals to your direct consumer base. 

Story Time…Again!

I loved my dentist in NYC because I felt special right from the moment I walked through the door. The receptionist (Aliza) knew my name and would engage in genuine conversation while I waited to be seen (she'd even remember if I told her in a previous visit that I was vacationing somewhere and then ask me about the trip). 

Shortly after, I'd then be let into the room where they would have a TV and I'd be handed a remote where I could browse through Netflix, and before I knew it my dentist was there. And then when I'd leave, Aliza would always hand me a personal kit filled with floss, toothpaste, mouthwash and a couple of brushes. 

They’d even send me a personalized Happy Birthday message every year, for the seven years I lived in NYC.

Again, an experience. This same principle can be applied to any company in the business of serving customers - which is basically, ALL BUSINESSES.

5 Customer Service Memes You Can't Miss - Business 2 Community
DON'T be like this!


If you're still confused by what "thinking deeper than surface level" means, then let me elaborate further:

What if a dentist arranged a private event for its patients as a means of thanking and valuing their loyalty. A tattoo shop owner could do the same (for their repeat patients given the volume of new people they see). But I can almost guarantee you that neither one of these business owners would even remotely think about hosting a private event of this sort. They likely would view it as a “wasted expense”.

However, the impact of a private event like this would be colossal. Customers, patients, whatever you want to call them, would never forget it which in turn would likely make them "lifers" aka loyalty forever.

When most people think about “differentiation”, they think about product and service features, and that’s just one very small sliver of the cake. I often say to clients that consumers would rather do business with an inferior product if they are made to feel special. Read that last sentence again!

Why? Simply because people enjoy doing business with whom they like.

Final Thoughts

Differentiating your business requires careful thought and consideration but is so SO necessary in this day and age. Here are a couple of questions worth asking yourself to help get you on your way:

1 - What's TRULY different about your business? Remember, think beyond the product and focus on the DNA of the company itself!

2 - Who are your target buyer personas? As mentioned above, box yourself out and own it! Don't just blend in with the 'noise'.

3 - What is the buyer's journey? Which social platforms are they most active? Which publications do they read? What do they do in their free time? The more you understand their journey, the easier you can meet them where they are at!

4 - How can I create a memorable and special customer experience? I gave a few examples above but this requires experimentation. Remember, a memorable experience creates customer loyalty!