Differentiation Strategy

Differentiation Strategy in sales and marketing consists of two components: How you differentiate yourself from your competition and how you differentiate yourself in your customer’s mind. The answer to both of these questions and the key to successful product differentiation is about finding a profitable niche that bests allows you to serve the market.

Differentiation Strategy: Competitive Differentiation, Customer Differentation

Competitive Differentiation is more focused on product design and positioning whereas Customer Differentiation relates more to your marketing communication strategy and creating mindshare and perceived value with your customers.

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SWOT AnalysisProduct DifferentiationWhat Is Positioning?Market SegmentationMarketing SegmentationNiche MarketingThe BCG MatrixDifferentiation Strategy Consultant

Differentiation Strategy:
Competitive Differentiation

Today’s market serves a countless multitude of interests and the product differentiation strategy of us vs. "them" no longer holds. Do you spend time battling your competitors over limited market share and customer dollars? Are you seeking to somehow improve your product in an endless battle of features and functions?

Differentiation Strategy: Your Competition

Instead, the key element of your sales and marketing strategy today means finding your niche. Just as individuals are different from one another so are businesses and customers. The starting point in product differentiation is not going head to head with your competition but figuring out what you do that is different and better than everyone else and who you serve best.

Here are a list of some of the common elements of competitive product differentiation that you can manage by design as you work to find your niche. In thinking about each of these judge how you are uniquely positioned to deliver on each of these attributes and where you real strengths lie.

Leadership • Reputation • Referrals • History • Partnerships • Expertise • Technology • Customer Focus • Service • Support • Convenience

Narrowing this down to product differentiation you can think about areas like:

Quality • Price • Variety • Features • Benefits • Availability

Once you have figured out what your core competencies are you can focus on strengthening these and focusing on that subset of the market whose interest you serve best. There is demand for your product or service delivered to the market the way you know how to best and your sales and marketing strategy is about putting those pieces of the puzzle and focusing on innovation and not competition.

Differentiation Strategy:
Customer Differentiation

Differentiation Strategy: Your Customer

Competitive Differentiation is tied into Customer Differentiation in that once you have figured out what you do best you have to connect that with what customers want. Customer Differentiation is about understanding their needs and communicating your value.

Positioning and Product Differentiation talk about the areas your product or service impacts your customers which are: Functional, Lifestyle and Experience. The starting point of differentiating yourself for customers is then building on these areas.

Differentiation Strategy: Customer Differentiation

From a functional perspective you must provide for the basic need that the customer is interested in fulfilling. Here you score points on differentiating yourself with regards to features, functions and benefits in providing value to your customer by solving their problem.

Answering your customer’s need through a benefit your provide is the starting point of creating value. From here you can build to become a partner by aligning yourself with the customer’s lifestyle and values . At this point you are answering to a higher need and are thus providing more value.

Finally, ask the question of how you can provide an enhanced experience to your customer. Can you provide life-changing value through benefits, education and support? How can you make doing business with you and enjoyable experience? Your differentiation strategy is now complete and your customer will purchase from you exclusively.

Differentation Strategy Success

Get help with how to differentiate yourself!

SWOT AnalysisProduct DifferentiationWhat Is Positioning?Market SegmentationMarketing SegmentationNiche MarketingThe BCG MatrixDifferentiation Strategy Consultant

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Differentiate or Die! 
I purposely used that ludicrous title - and I think it is a really phrase people use in sales and marketing - because I think people put far too much emphasis …

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