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Power of Product Differentiation

By Rick Skidmore

The four original P’s of marketing consist of Product, Placement, Price, and Promotion.  Many would argue a fifth P has been added called “Purple Cow”, however I want to talk today about the first P – Product or Service. In addition to determining what your market niche is you must be able to establish what exactly makes your product different and how to create a brand for it. I would like to run through a few points that you should consider. Differentiation is to distinguish from other brands, companies, or similar products by providing offers that are meaningful to consumers. You can provide a different product either through the physical product or through the services you or your company offers.

Physical Product Differentiation:


• Form – physical structure, shape, and size. What does it look like?
• Features – what does it offer and what are the basics it needs to cover?
• Performance Quality – at what level do the primary characteristics operate?
• Conformance Quality – how do all the parts work together?
• Durability – what is the expected operation life of the product?
• Reliability – what are the malfunction or fail probabilities?
• Style – what is the product’s look and feel?
• Design – how do all the above qualities come together?

Service Product Differentiation:


• Ordering ease – how easy is it to buy the product?
• Delivery – how quickly is the product delivered?
• Installation – how well is the install done and it’s convenience?
• Customer training – does your company train on how to use the product?
• Customer consulting – does your company offer advising or consumer research?
• Maintenance and repair – does your company keep product in working conditions for your clients?

Whether your business offers a physical product or a service you can determine what your product differentiation is. Run this report against your competitors’ product and service to see how you stand up against them.