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Your Company's Features & Benefits

Differentiation

Products may be highly unique (specialty products) or virtually indistinguishable from competitors’ products (commodity products)–and anything in between. Specialty products are not necessarily better than commodity products, but they do require different marketing strategies.  A potentially important strategy for specialty products is differentiation.   A company differentiates its products when it sets them apart from the competitors’ products in the minds of customers. Having a thorough understanding of how your product’s benefits compare to your competitors’ allows you to compete with them through differentiation.

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Commodity Products

Specialty Products

Few, if any, perceived differences

among competing products

Highly unique features compared to other products competing for buyers' dollars

 

Strategies that are based upon features 

  • Introducing - Being "the first" to offer a new product feature is a proven competitive strategy. For example, being known as "the first" organic body lotion to have Vitamin E will position your company as a leader, at least for a while.

  • Improving/Modifying - Instead of being at the head of the pack with a totally new feature, you might simply modify and/or improve your product’s features. "Improving" your product creates the impression that your company cares about satisfying its customers.  

    Modifying product features is a strategy many businesses use to compete with a competitor who lowers their price. For example, if the maker of one organic body lotion lowers its price, the maker of another may add Vitamin E as a "new improved" feature but keep its price the same.

    Don’t forget that modifying features usually leads to changes in benefits. Stay on top of knowing the perceived benefits your product offers so you can communicate them in your marketing messages.

  • Grouping - Oftentimes, features are "grouped"into different product models—and prices—starting with a basic model to a "fully loaded" model. Automobiles, many electronic devices, even vacation packages offer a variety of features to add to a basic product model. This can even be true of services. For example, if you're an accountant you might offer a certain fee for preparing annual tax returns, another fee to additionally process payroll, and another to manage all of a client's financial affairs.

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