(... caveat: at least, not at every point in the buying cycle)
Smurfs may be great gardeners, but they'll never make it in marketing: they've bought into the message that you need to differentiate yourself, when all that's doing is qualifying them out of potential deals. Poor old smurfs...
I'm worried that too many people (me included, too often) put too much faith in the 'differentiate or die' message. A quick google search shows that over 50,000 pages are making that point (and, having obviously just visited all of those, I can faithfully report that they all support my argument...)
Let's say there are lots of companies acknowledging a need for your kind of solution (some in the sweet spot where you really do have better features than the competition) - but there are three big names always getting on the shortlist for the RFP.
Now, do you really need marketing to differentiate yourself from the big three? Or is the issue actually that people see you as too different already (or don't see you at all)?
There's a strong argument that marketing up to the point of the RFP should be all about 'me too' - we have a great client list (like them), we have delivered great results (like them), we have features x,y,z (like them)...
The chances are that one of them is already helping the prospect to shape their RFP (or at least, knowledge of what one of them can do is) - so the only thing you're going to acheive with differentiation is to discount yourself from the deal.
Of course, if the competition is bigger than you, then you will need one kind of differentiation - nothing to do with what you say, but all to do with how/where you say it. They'll own various saturated marketing channels (think AdWords for one! Tradeshows/exhibitions for two...) - but it's your opportunity to get smart and targeted with your direct communications to really deliver that 'me too' message in a way that gets 'me too' onto the shortlist...
Of course, once you're on that shortlist and having your sales meetings - that's the time to really stick it to the competition (and your sales team need all the support they can get to highlight the places where your product/service differentiators meet the pain points of the prospect).
But start the differentiation too soon and you'll end up needing to create a whole new market before anyone will buy from you (which is a great challenge to have, if you're up for the fight!).
So, anyway, have you spotted the 5 differences in the smurf picture? Go here to see if you got it right!