- A point of differentiation refers to what makes you different from other similar offerings in your market
- A strong differentiating factor can enhance your marketing efforts and allow you to charge a premium price
- You can create one by serving an underserved population, offering special amenities, or choosing a unique location
The coworking industry has officially gone mainstream, but with this rising popularity has come major coworking competition.
Creating a differentiated offering for your space can help you combat the competition and keep your membership growing long-term – even when bigger chains are marching into your market.
The best part? Differentiation doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. It can be as simple as offering a unique service or catering to a niche audience. That said, as you do more to differentiate your space you will help further solidify your market position.
In this article, we’ll break down differentiation in coworking and how you can begin to create a unique point of differentiation with your coworking space offering.
What is a point of differentiation?
In marketing, a point of differentiation refers to what makes you different from other similar offerings in your market. Your point of differentiation should be so unique that a prospective member or client should immediately be able to see what makes you special.
A point of differentiation becomes particularly important when:
- The market is mature or crowded
- You’re offering a commodity
- There is lots of competition for a local offering
- The category is technical or isn’t well understood
A point of differentiation is important when it comes to coworking because of the last two points specifically. Increasing competition makes it important to be able to stand out, while what makes a coworking space different from any other makes it especially challenging to show what makes you special.
Keep this in mind when sorting through your point of differentiation.
How differentiation can support coworking growth
Why should potential members choose your coworking space over others? Having a differentiated offering makes this question an easy one to answer.
It can also support the long-term viability of your business in a number of crucial ways:
1. It makes it harder for members to leave
Offering a unique, valuable service to your members can help make a membership at your space irreplaceable and improve member retention. When your members are making use of the differentiated service or offering, they are less likely to shop around for other options or leave your space for one that doesn’t offer the same value.
The key here is to really get to know your members. Doing so will help you ensure the service or amenity is something they actually want and will use.
If they don’t, it won’t serve its purpose as a differentiator and loyalty generator for your space.
2. You can more easily charge a premium price
Reasonable consumers expect premium services to come with a premium price tag. If you provide unique value, you create a highly curated member experience that other spaces don’t have.
As a result, you’ll be able to justify a higher cost more easily to members without them pushing back or negotiating.
This can be very useful when larger players enter your area with below-market rates. Differentiation helps you avoid price wars that can drag you into a race to the bottom, as mentioned above. When you only offer a basic coworking space, you can only charge basic prices and your competition will be fierce.
3. It can boost your coworking marketing efforts
The world is a noisy place. There are people advertising everywhere, which makes it hard to capture and keep your prospect’s attention. The sales process becomes much simpler when you offer something valuable and unique that your competitors don’t.
You won’t have to rely on the same advertising message as everyone else. You can make your coworking marketing stand out by focusing on your unique value-add to draw interest.
Beyond this, having a differentiator can catch media attention or the attention of influencers in that niche. News outlets are more likely to see you as a market leader and want to talk about you. This gives you the chance to increase your exposure and take advantage of the free advertising.
Ways to create a coworking differentiation
In the coworking industry, differentiation usually comes down to one or more of the below options:
- Who you serve: opening a coworking space for a specific underserved population can be a way of differentiating yourself from others. Examples could be a coworking space for parents, a women’s-only center, or a shared workspace for podcasters.
- What you offer: offering amenities or services outside of the traditional coworking offerings can help set you apart. Examples are 24/7 opening hours and offering on-site childcare.
- Where you’re located: opening a coworking space in a beautiful or remote part of the world can be a way of differentiating yourself and can be a strong selling point in your marketing materials.
Pro tip: You never want your point of differentiation to be a lower price point. If you rely on attracting members by heavily discounting your offerings, it’ll quickly become a race to the bottom and can threaten the sustainability of your business model, especially if a competitor comes in and outprices you.
Make your space stand out
While coworking owners and operators are collaborative and often willing to help one another, you still need to be able to set yourself apart from the competition and communicate to the market what makes your space different.
At the end of the day, the key is to offer something unique and truly valuable. Find out what your members need via an informal coworking survey and identify unique services to offer that will make their member experience even better.
Once you know this, you’ll have the recipe for sustained coworking growth and long-term business success – no matter the size of the competition that enters the market.