Product Differentiation Keys To Success

Product Differentiation pertains to how your company, product, service and brand provide unique value and benefits for your customer. What is your product? Rather than thinking about a physical commodity or a service think instead of the overall value you are providing customers.

Product differentiation strategy begins with taking stock of everything that goes into doing business with your customers. It includes the physical attributes and features of your products as well as the overall experience of your customers in doing business with you.

In today’s competitive market customers no longer think simplistically in terms of benefits and features only. Rather, your differentiation strategy must encompass the lifestyle and values of your customer as well as their satisfaction and enjoyment in doing business with you.

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SWOT AnalysisDifferentiation StrategyMarket SegmentationMarketing SegmentationNiche MarketingWhat Is Positioning?The BCG MatrixProduct Differentiation Consultant

Product Differentiation Deconstructed

Positioning is all about your product differentiation strategy. The basis of how to differentiate your product or service is presented below again and elaborated on in more detail.

Product Differentiation Deconstructed

Product Differentiation: Design Vs. Communicate

Do you have an existing product or service you are trying to promote or are you simply trying to influence mindshare for an existing product through sales and marketing activities? Product differentiation can be as much about creating new packaging as developing a new product.

In an ideal scenario your differentiation strategy should encompass every stage of product development from inception to creation to communication. That being said, positioning and differentiation are ongoing processes tuned by customer feedback and sales results.

Product Differentiation: Functionality

The majority of time spent on differentiation strategy for most business is in function areas such as product features, price, quality and so forth. Here are some tips on how to differentiate yourself based on these elements.

Features Vs. Benefits:

A basic rule is to remember to attach product features to benefits your customers receive. This philosophy should be consistent throughout product development, sales and marketing. A certain size, color or other feature is only important if benefits your customer.

When creating and communicating key features remember to convey the benefit they provide. You must spell this out for the customer and not expect them to make the connection themselves. Here are some examples of how to effectively communicate benefits to your customer.

“We are open 24 hours” becomes ”You can now shop conveniently around the clock”

“This model has a larger truck” becomes ”Here is more space for your golf clubs or groceries”

“We use high quality materials” becomes ”You will not have to replace this part for years”

Cost Vs. Quality:

Are your customers willing to pay a premium for a better product or service? Experience will eventually show you at what prices to market your product but you should always remember the key sales and marketing motto that it is not about price but value.

More than ever today customers are willing to pay more for a higher quality product, better service or simply because they enjoy doing business with you than the other guy. Remember to focus on quality as there are many ways you can differentiate yourself at little cost to provide much greater value.

Pain Vs. Gain:

Is your product a must-have or a nice-to-have for your customers? Are you solving a specific problem or simply providing a benefit that improves your customers’ lives? Remember to continually reassess the reasons your customers are buying from you.

People generally buy for one or two key reasons which may be different than the features and benefits you had in mind in creating your product. Remember to ask, explore and add value wherever you can so that you can key into the little touches that sometimes make the biggest differences.

Product Differentiation: Lifestyle

Customers have choices and more and more whether or not they do business with you boils down to emotion rather than reason. Remember that, “people buy through an emotional decision based on reason”. By connecting the two you can differentiate yourself from your competition and allow customers to make a smart choice that feels good.

Representing the values and lifestyles of your customers should be a key part of your differentiation strategy. Whether you customers are trend-setters, conservative or Generation X your products and service as well as atmosphere, branding and themes should represent them.

Product Differentiation: Lifestyle

Product Differentiation: Trust

Trust will always be a key factor in whether or not your customers buy from you and is an element of the sales and marketing process that is often overlooked. How can you create trust in your differentiation strategy by emphasizing quality, service and relationships?

Remember that the great product in the world fill fail and the most ingenious marketing campaign will fall short unless you are able to create trust with your customers. Regardless of the wondrous benefits and value you provide your customers will always take that first step with you on faith.

Product Differentiation: Experience

Value is the be-all-end-all in sales and marketing success and more than ever today experience plays the greatest role in creating customer value. It does not matter if you are the best at what you do if your message is confusion or if your service is bad. Focus on customer experience as a key part of your differentiation strategy.

Deconstructing customer experience boils down to how customers hear about you, how customers buy from you and the benefits of your product or service. Here are some key points in shaping your customer experience to be the most positive.

Physical Experience
It goes without saying that presentation is key to your sales and marketing success. This includes everything from your physical location and displays to your business cards, packaging and personal presentation. Make everything your customer sees positive.

Online Experience
Does your online presence create an enjoyable experience for customers? Go out of your way to make it easy for them to find useful information and do business with you. Less clicks, less fancy fonts and colors and more professionalism with your personal touch.

Interaction Experience
Relationships, relationships, relationships. These include any activity that seeks to engage your customer whether online, in person or through any other sales and marketing effort. Focus on customer care as a key ingredient in product differentiation.

Communication Experience
Marketing Communication is an art and science that you should continue to read up on. With regards to your differentiation strategy remember that how you communicate with your customers is as much a part of your brand as your actual product or service.

Take care to make sure that everything your customer reads and hears about you is positive. Your deliberate efforts to manage customer communications entail making sure that you provide a clear picture of the value you provide as well as incentives for customer to take the next step.

Benefit Experience
What do your customers think of you after the sale? Make sure that your product, service and support live up to your hype in order to building long term relationships with your customers. Think carefully about how your customers use your product and try and engineer an optimum experience for them.

Benefit experience is as much about non-tangible as tangibles benefits. Making sure that everything your customer experiences enhances and improves their lives is the basic ingredient to successful sales and marketing. Tailor your business process around creating value and positive experiences in peoples’ lives.

Get help with differentiating yourself!

SWOT AnalysisDifferentiation StrategyMarket SegmentationMarketing SegmentationNiche MarketingWhat Is Positioning?The BCG MatrixProduct Differentiation Consultant

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