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Differentiation: Make It Tangible

Companies cannot stand out from the competition with vague claims

One Simple Question

We have asked many companies the question of “How are you different from your competitors?”

The answer usually, goes along the lines of:

  • We make high quality products

  • We provide great service

  • Our staff is very knowledgeable

  • We’ve been in business for X years

  • We offer a wide range of services

  • We go above and beyond for our customers

  • We have great references available

The Downside

On the surface, these are all valid answers and may very well be true. However, most competitors are providing very similar responses. As a buyer, it is quite difficult to assess which one is correct.

Additionally, multiple players may indeed be correct and provide “great service”, for example. How is a buyer, then, supposed to determine which one has “better” service?

Be Specific

The simplest solution to this dilemma is to make all claims specific and tangible.

Instead of “great customer service”, one can say “24/7 availability”, or “all calls returned within the hour” or “get a dedicated account rep”.

Similarly, instead of “very knowledgeable”, say “extensive experience dealing with issues A, B and C”.

Before proceeding with these changes, though, a competitive assessment is needed to determine if these claims are not already the industry standard or are not claimed by other players.

Short-Lived vs Long-Term Differentiation

In reality, while a tangible claim is definitely better than a vague one, the examples above still represent superficial forms of differentiation, that can be found quite easily by multiple competitors.

In the long term, a better approach to stand out would be to analyze all relevant product and service attributes and identify, through conjoint analysis, which ones can add the greatest value as a result of differentiation. Then, the company can determine how to improve that attribute to make it unique and distinct to anything available in the market.

In any case, while most companies have a long way to go to forge a true differentiation strategy, it is a worthy exercise that can lead to a strong market position and consistent revenue growth.


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MarketPrax helps companies of all sizes with differentiation, segmentation and pricing strategies. For a free consultation, or for more information, fill out ourcontact form or reach out to us at info @ Join also our 17,000+ followers onLinkedIn for tips and new content.

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