Differentiating Your Services VERIFIED
Differentiation allows you to provide superior value to customers at an affordable price, creating a win-win scenario that can boost the overall profitability and viability of your business. Our research indicates there are six primary ways to differentiate, including product, service, channels of distribution, relationships, reputation/image, and price.
Differentiating Your Services
Brand does not automatically differentiate a company from its competitors. The brand has to stand for something, be recognized by the target audience, and communicate something unique and different from the competition. That takes a large marketing budget to pull off successfully. It is understood that it takes seven repetitions of any message to even be heard. Branding is much more than just creating a logo. It is the ongoing communication of your value proposition in a meaningful and effective way.
With a small marketing budget, the smartest, most effective strategy is to move away from a branding strategy and towards a customer-driven strategy. Pick a handful of customers that can drive the success of your business. That could be anywhere from 3 to 4 or 15 to 20, but it is not hundreds. Then focus all of your budget on these companies. Give them exactly what they want, and do it better than anyone else can. You will increase your share of their business, and they will become loyal advocates and promoters of your business.
Successfully competing on price requires recognition that every customer has a different price they would be willing to pay for your product. Segmentation and differentiation allows a business to come close to maximizing the potential revenue by offering each segment a differentiated product at a different price.
Priority Metrics Group (PMG) is a professional marketing consulting firm based in Spartanburg, South Carolina. PMG provides customized research, analysis, and consultation services designed to generate profitable growth for clients. They work with leading organizations in a variety of manufacturing and service industries. They are experts at gathering and processing market information, analyzing data, and translating information into actionable growth initiatives.
If you've already launched your product or service, this may require a pivot. Before investing in redevelopment, do your research. Is the niche large enough to support your company? What are those consumers' pain points? Before diving in, make sure you can meet them profitably.
Eliminating some of the middlemen will not only help you price your product more competitively but will also enable you to build tighter feedback loops with your customers. Do a thorough supply chain audit to look for steps you can cut out of the chain.
Building a credible brand is a marathon, not a sprint. Monitor your social media to see what customers are saying about your product. Read every rating and review you get. Pay attention to what customers like and dislike about your product, customer service, delivery and everything else.
When you see negative reviews, don't get angry. Respond by making changes that address those concerns and highlight your best features. Being responsive will increase consumer trust and generate positive word of mouth around your brand.
Even online and at scale, personalized products and services are possible. Shutterfly stands out among photo-printing sites simply by using an algorithm. After identifying photos with faces on the user's phone, the smartphone app places them on products like mugs, which can be purchased directly in the app.
Whatever the density of your market, distinguishing your business from its peers is never a walk in the park. To encourage loyalty from old customers and to help new ones choose you, do your homework.
Product differentiation is what makes your items or services unique. This can be because of a particular technology or design you own, specialty support you offer, a stellar customer experience you create or anything else. The goal here is to identify and focus on the aspects of your product or service that make customers want to work with you.
You can check social media to see what people like and dislike about your brand. Apply what you learn from those comments and feedback to improve your product or service, creating a more positive overall experience. Social media has a significant impact on how businesses fare. A couple of bad reviews could mean significantly less revenue, so pay attention to any online chatter. It may also be a good idea to publicly offer this person a discount or coupon for a chance for a better experience next time.
A CGS study reported that nearly 50% of consumers were willing to pay more for socially responsible products. Social responsibility can take many forms, including donations to charity, sustainable manufacturing, community programs, and fair benefits and wages for your employees. It shows that you are concerned about people instead of just the bottom line, and patrons want to purchase from companies they feel good about.
It gives you an advantage if you can deliver faster than your competition. Particularly with online shopping, speed is often the deciding factor. Customers want their products quickly, and they will choose the company that can deliver.
By truly unique, we do not mean your process that starts with assessment and ends with monitoring results and making adjustments. We mean an approach that is a whole different way of approaching the problem that offers a unique benefit to the client.
Everyone in your profession bills by the hour, but you offer a fixed fee. Voilà, a perfect differentiator is born! A unique business model can be both meaningful and easy to prove. But be watchful. If it works well, you are likely to accumulate imitators.
While the previous differentiator focused on information, this one is focused on relationships. Public relations firms have long used relationships with reporters and editors as differentiators. What relationships can your firm bring to the table?
In most cases, offering good client service is simply the price of entry. Everyone does it, or claims to. So to become a differentiator, your level of service really has to truly stand out. Can it be done? Indeed, there are still some physicians who make house calls.
Having an impressive client list is a plus for many firms. But what if you take it further? Some firms differentiate themselves based on their client list. For example, if your firm serves the higher education market and your clients are Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, you have a differentiator.
A close relationship with a parent firm can be a limiter (potential clients may feel like you cannot be objective about other technologies for example). But for other potential clients, it can be a big asset. Who knows the ins and outs of the technology better? This same differentiator might also be applied to situations where your firm is a value-added partner rather than a subsidiary.
Most professional services firms tend to look and act a lot like their competitors. Why? Perhaps you have been in the industry for a long time. Or perhaps doing things very differently feels risky. We see this all the time. Well, a very different look and feel can be a powerful differentiator for this exact reason. Combine this with other differentiators and you have the makings of a robust competitive advantage.
There you have it, 21 differentiators that have proven to pass the three hurdles that every differentiator must clear. And remember, these can be combined in ways that make your firm unique in a way that no single differentiator can.
Product differentiation is what makes your product or service different and more appealing to customers than other options in your category. Product differentiation is what gives you a competitive advantage in your market. Product differentiators can include better quality and service as well as unique features and benefits.
Focusing on your customers is a good start to successful product differentiation. What do they want? What is no one else providing them? What delights them? What frustrates them? What makes them feel good? What would make them feel even better? The answers to these questions can kickstart ideas for differentiation.
Other differentiators include price, packaging, quality, customer service, and overall customer experience when buying or using your product. For example, a makeup company might provide an online tool to help customers find the right shade of foundation. A tennis shoe producer might give buyers the option to customize their shoes by choosing the color for each component. Customers are more willing to pay for products that come with a unique, useful experience.
Your target audience ultimately decides which products in the market are most valuable to them. Looking at sales and engagement will give you insight into whether your product or service is well-differentiated.
Vertical, horizontal, and mixed are the main types of product differentiation. Each one has its advantages and challenges and ultimately, how customers evaluate products is unique to them. Determining how you want to differentiate your product or brand depends on your target audience and their typical buying behaviors.
If your wholesale business is able to offer significantly lower prices than brick and mortar competitors, price may be a great differentiator for you. On the other hand, an artisan bakery may position quality as their differentiator.
Have you been competing for work that you are more than qualified to perform, only to be underbid by your competition? Or maybe you have been the one underbidding, which leaves you no room for growth or prosperity.
Your differentiation strategy is the way in which you make your firm stand out from otherwise similar competitors in the marketplace. Usually, it involves highlighting a meaningful difference between you and your competitors. And that difference must be valued by your potential clients. A strong differentiator will provide a competitive advantage for your firm.