Differentiation provides you with superior value for your customers at the right price, thereby creating a win-win situation for both. It can boost the overall success and sustainability of the business. Our research has given you the primary ways that can help you differentiate including product, service, ways of distribution, relationship with people, business image and price
Nonetheless, it is not necessary that you should invest in all the strategies not everything will be equally effective for every business. Some methods can help you stand out from your competition. Read on to know more about the various strategies and pros and cons of each one of them.
This is the most visible among all. It includes the actual physical appearance of the product that is perceived by the customers, and also those that can be acquired by advertising. It may be in the form of features, performance, potency, meeting specifications and a number of other criteria. This is the area where most of the time and energy of the businesses is spent on.
The problem with this is that product differentiation is short lived and it can be easily replicated by anyone in the market. Of course, there is much new legal protection to intellectual property rights and patents protection. Although from a practical standpoint these do not possess any challenges. Many businesses choose not to patent their ideas because they do not want their competitors to know and duplicate their advantage. Also at best the product innovation is only protected till the life of the patent after that anyone with enough capital can duplicate it.
Your differentiation in service is not only the delivery and customer service but all the other factors that are supporting it. Elements like training installation and the ease of ordering are some of the essentials to consider. To some business, this may seem like the basic elements that do not require any sophistication. But think about big businesses like McDonald’s they will have the same service given at all their outlets the same amount of topping and freshly taken out fries in each of their shops. This makes their service the best all around the world and makes them trustworthy.
Channels of distribution can be a great way of differentiation. Distribution can provide immediate access to the product, easy product availability, and greater ease at ordering and good levels of customer service.
For many manufacturers that have a big and distant market. They can not reach the end customer without the distribution functions. Building materials like factory plants cannot be moved without proper support from distributors. They are typically moved through two stages that are through the master distributors and specialty dealers and retailers.
With sufficient support of the manufacturer like training etc, the distributor can then continue to become a partner of the manufacturer
This is one of the differentiation that is usually overlooked by company personnel. Employees or team members that have access to customer interface can provide credibility and reliability to the customer. Responsible to provide day to day client communication, they are the linkage between the product and the customer. It this link breaks then the business is destroyed.
In most of the business, the salesperson, CSR and the technical service representative become one of the trusted members of the team. They ensure that the product is delivered on time and in the right conditions and also all the problems related to the product can be resolved quickly and accurately. A good performance like this can become a reason for a great emotional bond between the company and the customer.
Customers want to conduct business with people and not a company. This link building can become a slow but highly efficient position.
Some businesses have this strategy to set themselves apart as an image for the differentiation avenue. Usually, an image is created by other kinds of differentiation such as a high level of service, superior product quality and performance.
Image is controlled by the symbols used in communications and advertising and all other types of media that are written, audio and digital. It is also seen by the atmosphere around the product and the place where the customers encounter the business. This is not only limited to retail business.
An image or reputation can be daunting to the new entrants in the market. They would generally need a strong overall potential. The businesses that are generally in the market for a long period of time turn out to be a treat for potential startups.
You cannot differentiate a company from its competitors just by the brand. The brand has to have something, unique and different from its competitors that is always recognized by the target audience. That requires a large marketing budget to move forward. It is said that it takes about seven times of repetition to be aware of the new message. Branding is much more than just creating a logo for the business. It is the communication that has to be ongoing and should provide meaning to the brand in an effective way.
When you have a small marketing budget, the smartest decision is to move towards the customer rather than a branding strategy. Pick customers that can provide you with a handful of business. They will help you gain more loyal customers.
Every person has a different price that they would pay for a particular product. Successfully competing for it would be a big challenge. The value of a good can differ by customer occasion and the environment supporting it. In B2B there are price negotiations and some people are willing to pay a price that is more than previously in the market.
In short, price discrimination allows a business to gain consumer surplus — the distinction between the price customers are prepared to pay for a good or service and the price that they truly pay.
Many market research tools websites like Howkya help you to do product differentiation easily.