Market Sophistication and The Unique Mechanism in Marketing

What stage of sophistication is your market currently in?

Sure, you know your target market. But is that enough? Nope.

Let me shout you a little question.

What stage of sophistication is your market currently in?

It might not be normal to ask a question as vague yet as important as that.  For some, it’s nothing but a simple question but for others, it’s a question that could make or break a marketing campaign – and or a business at that.

This market sophistication level concept has been used by those few successful businesses… while the others have not… so they continue questioning why their marketing has not been fruitful despite them working so hard.

To begin, let me tell you what you’ll get from this post – it will teach you what market sophistication is, how to know your market’s sophistication level and then how you can take advantage and benefit from that knowledge.

The emphasis on the importance of knowing what stage of sophistication your market is in began with the late Eugene Schwartz through his book, ‘Breakthrough Advertising’. Here, he discussed the Sophistication Levels of customers and how to adjust marketing campaigns to fit the market’s sophistication level.

Well, what is Market Sophistication then?

It is the level of awareness or sophistication your market has regarding the services or products you sell – in relation to your competitors who also offer the same services or products such as yours.

Confusing? Let’s put it into perspective.

The weight loss niche. Let’s say, for example, that you’re a company that develops tea for weight loss.

Since you’re the first in the market of ‘tea for weight loss’, you do not need to do any major marketing campaign. A simple ad of ‘Have this tea and Lose Weight’ is enough to attract your customers or to tickle your market’s fancy. This is stage one of Market Sophistication.

Stage one of Market Sophistication.

It simply means that your product is new enough that it only needs to be placed out there so it can be known by your market.

Magic words: ‘Have this tea and Lose weight!’. — with those, you can get the attention of a lot of people.

But as time progresses and more competitors join you in creating diet teas, those simple words get lost in the world of competition.

So you need to move ahead of them and show that your diet tea is the best by emphasizing your product’s promises. This is stage two.

Stage two of Market Sophistication.

Meaning, you differentiate your products from the rest of your competitors by expanding your original claim.

Magic words: ‘Have this tea and Lose weight after one week!’
— you’ve added in some things to emphasize and strengthen your original statement… giving big, bold promises.

In this Stage 2, your competitions make claims that are so big that you can’t outbid them (or out claim them) without sounding false and ridiculous.
Say, your competitor says, “Drink our tea and Lose weight in 6 days”.

You can’t use that same marketing style. And you can’t also say “Have our tea and lose weight in 7 minutes” for this (and you) will sound so ridiculous just because you try to outdo your competitor’s claim.

At this point, the third level of market sophistication becomes key so you can better your competition.

It’s no longer enough to make bolder and bigger promises. So you find ways how to differentiate your product (which is the diet tea example here)… by finding out your product’s (or service’s) UNIQUE MECHANISM.

Stage three of Market Sophistication.

Finding out what makes your product stand out, what is that factor you have that separates it from your competitors? That’s your UNIQUE MECHANISM.  Knowing your product’s unique mechanism and letting your customers know what that is – will make the difference in your marketing.

Magic words: ‘Have this tea with Amazonian Bark proven to increase your metabolism and lose weight after just 7 days!

— the key here is the unique mechanism which says that your tea has an Amazonian Bark ingredient (others don’t have that) which helps increase metabolism.

Your unique mechanism is, in context, considered the secret weapon your product carries that could attract and convert your customers. It also shows its difference from the other products in your niche. Basically, it’s showing how unique your product is. Not just unique – unique but differently unique.

This final stage of sophistication, your marketing must identify and focus on your customer’s perspectives for it to be effective.

I heard a speaker named Sally Hogshead present recently and she made a really fantastic statement to illustrate the Unique Mechanism which was “Different is Better than Better“.

To help you understand more how the UNIQUE MECHANISM can work for you, I’ll share some personal experiences that you can learn from.

I go to Les Mills in Takapuna pretty regularly and every day I pass by a car cleaning business that operates out of the North Shore Galleria car park, called Kenier – their marketing material reads.

“We use Eco-Friendly Dry Steam Wash.”

That’s a perfect example, as it’s the DRY STEAM that makes them different. They’re also using contrast, as the words Dry and Wash make you think, as they are normally thought of, as opposites.”

Another is with what we do in helping speakers, trainers, coaches and business owners position, package, and sell their expertise online in an automated and authentic way is to, we use “an amazing piece of technology that is recognised as “The Best All In One Solution for small to medium-sized businesses”.  The fact that it’s “The Best All In One Solution” is one of their secret ingredients. By the way, it’s called Infusionsoft.

With those things discussed, let me pose you another question.

Has your market (customers) been exposed to those big, overly-hyped promises for a long time?

If yes, then you are heading to stage 3 which means you need to come up with your unique mechanism to separate your marketing from your competitors.


If you’re not so sure of what level of sophistication your market is currently in, here’s a guide.

So, what market sophistication level are you in?

It’s no longer enough to just know your market, you should also know what level of sophistication your market is currently in – knowing this will really help your marketing.

If you’re in Stage one, good for you.

Stage 2? It’s a good thing you now know about the unique mechanism.

When you are sure that you are heading towards Stage three, it’s now time to let go of those bold promises for they won’t really attract your market anymore.

Find and create your unique mechanism.

Figuring out your UNIQUE MECHANISM

As I said earlier in the post, I’ll help you use and apply this (perhaps new) knowledge to your benefit.

First and foremost, the first thing that we need to do to fully create your unique mechanism campaign is to brainstorm on your own.

While you’re brainstorming, be guided by these questions:

1. What is that something in your product that is actually unique? That secret ingredient?

Possible answers are: Clinically or scientifically proven processes that work, a rare historical ingredient with historically documented benefits, a unique framework that can work from business to business etc.

If you have answered yes to number 1, then you can go ahead to question number 2. If not, keep on looking for that unique mechanism.

2. How will (and can) you point out this unique mechanism into your marketing?

If you answer two yes-es, you’re a step or two closer in creating that unique mechanism.

Remember that you can have more than one, two or three unique mechanisms. The more, the better. Just make sure that they are really unique and that it’s real.  You can switch these unique mechanisms over the course of a specific period you and your team have decided and evaluate what’s working. Use those that are useful and just let go of those that are not working.

Note: Don’t fill your stage 3 marketing with exaggerated, over the top hyperboles and promises. Or else, you’ll just fall to already deaf and unbelieving customers.

Advertising your UNIQUE MECHANISM

In advertising, use your product’s (or service’s) unique mechanism to attract your customer’s attention. Write it in a way that it’s clear, not crazy and focuses on that unique aspect your product has.

Properly presenting your unique mechanism will let your customers listen to you and appreciate you more.

Again, knowing your target market is not enough. You should also know what level of sophistication your market is at.

Now that you have the knowledge on how the level of market sophistication works, why it is important to you and your company and how competitions among markets evolve… it’s about time that you really sit down with your team to know where you are now.

Then, DECIDE A CAMPAIGN with your unique mechanism in it. And please, please, don’t forget to document what you’re doing… that helps.

Thank you in advance for sharing on your thoughts about this post. And let’s get crazy in brainstorming some unique mechanism’s in the comments section below!

About the Author

Mike Doughty

Mike is an award-winning entrepreneur who is obsessed with helping business owners learn, leverage and liberate themselves from their business. He’s a creative and lateral thinker with a strong mind for numbers.