To compete in today’s crowded marketplace, companies need to create contrast.

With thousands of companies in the composites industry, competitive pressure is commonplace. Some companies try to outmuscle others by slashing prices to secure contracts. As an added challenge, large customers – such as major aerospace and automotive manufacturers – take advantage of this increased competition and their large-scale buying power to dictate lower prices, thereby squeezing margins and stifling profits.

In this survival-of-the-fittest business landscape, you need to set yourself apart from competitors by making it crystal clear why customers should choose you. One of the best places to start creating this competitive advantage is through your sales and marketing channels, including websites, social media, marketing collateral, proposals and request-for-quote (RFQ) responses. You need to develop meaningful marketing messages. If not, you may end up in a position of undifferentiated powerlessness, with your customer handing you a list of prices in a boilerplate Excel spreadsheet.

If you take a look at the marketing messages of many composites manufacturers and suppliers, there’s usually plenty of room for improvement – and results. How many times have you seen this on a website, brochure or even in a sales presentation?

 “XYZ Composites is a leading manufacturer of engineered composite and fiberglass products offering complete design and prototyping services, as well as mold making and technical support.”

This is the kind of messaging that your customers tune out because it’s not particularly compelling or relevant to their particular situation. So what do you need to make your marketing and sales messages more relevant to your customers? And how can you make sure those messages inspire action, not just lukewarm interest?

One answer lies in a concept called “contrast.”Contrast is created by the difference between what is and what could be, by the gap between your customer’s present situation and their future situation, once it’s been changed by your products or services. This is where your value to customers lies.

To illustrate this idea, let’s look at the original messaging above and transform it using the power of contrast. What if XYZ Composites used this message instead?

 “Are you struggling with increased production costs, schedule delays and missed delivery dates? If you’re overlooking critical design for manufacturability requirements when you create new product concepts, these three problems may become your reality. Experienced engineers at XYZ Composites will work closely with you to correct potential design issues before they cause problems. We’ll help you reduce your fiberglass component design costs, create more robust products and achieve improved schedule performance with your customers.”

In this example, the contrast lies in the difference between what is (increased product costs, schedule delays and missed delivery dates) and what could be (reduced design costs, more robust products and improved schedule performance).