A differentiation strategy is a way to stand out from the noise and give people a reason to choose your business over others. Is Your SaaS Go-to-Market Strategy Tsunami-Proof? Are you faster? Hostile brands play hard to get. If you’re an old, established company with deep pockets, you can get away with it. Paperbell is not just a scheduling and billing software but scheduling software for coaches. Blue ocean strategy is about pursuing both differentiation and low cost, while traditional competitive strategy differentiation is achieved by providing premium value at a higher cost to the company and at a higher price for customers. But meeting expectations is table stakes. Market penetration/popularity of a brand contributes significantly toward people liking a brand and thinking it’s good. If product innovation and pricing strategies are competitive across the board, a business can differentiate itself with branding. Instead of doing the hard work of gathering insight from customers and discovering open positions in the market, companies look at their competitors for direction. You can toot your horn for a few months, but they’ll catch up. I buy CXL Institute because I think of myself as a go-getter who’s going places. Often, they go for the obvious—stuff like “easy-to-use” email marketing. The barrier of entry to starting new businesses has never been lower. Hotels clean your room, change sheets every day. Maybe you’re the sales leader. Product differentiation is probably the most visible. Tesla needs to remain a constant innovator to play that game. The language they use is vanilla, the product/service they offer like any other, and the marketing message is identical to that of their competition. Cheaper? Odds are, you’ll eventually need to move upmarket as you need margins to fuel your growth and hire better people. Curiously, not so much. Jack Welch, the legendary CEO of GE, reviewed the company’s businesses and decided to focus on nine categories where they held one of the top two positions (or were close to achieving it). It takes hard work and enormous energy to stay on top with a new product or idea. Tesla has all the long-range electric cars now, but every single car maker will get there soon enough. 3. Because they all copy each other. In fact, it’s the opposite—the world has a massive sameness problem. Hostile brands may make us uncomfortable (like some clothing brands being made exclusively for skinny people), but in the end, their polarizing nature makes them stand out in the sea of sameness. According to Porter’s generic strategies, the differentiation approach involves the creation of new and unique products (or services) that create exceptional value for their customers. Make that quality advantage 10x better than anything else out there (as long as it’s specific). Clubhouse is all the rage these days. If you can’t be the first or second in a category, your best route might be to create your own. It’s inoffensive and, thus, beyond criticism. 2. You can get away with sameness in a fragmented, young category. Definition of differentiation in business. USAA is a highly touted and specialized (military) financial services company that has $155 billion in assets, $30 billion in revenue, and $2.5 billion in profit from a consumer base of only 12.4 million. For example, consumers usually rate competitor companies A, B, and C similarly on attributes such as trustworthiness and efficiency, and their rapport or relevance. They say pretty much the same things. They stood out. A lot of what marketing has to accomplish is to get into the small, even tiny, consideration set of buyers. However, Reverse positioners assume that although customers do want something more than the baseline product, they don’t necessarily want more features. Be first. Why You Should Test on Mobile and Desktop Separately, Serial Position Effect: Why Order Matters in Optimization. What stands out, gets picked. This is the “more doctors smoke Camels” and “dentist-recommended toothpaste” type of differentiation. They spend way more money getting the customer in the door than keeping and delighting them. You cannot own the same attribute or position that your competitor owns; you must seek out another attribute. You can see the same in software. If I like and respect Elon, I’m more likely to buy a Tesla. That’s what a breakaway brand does—you take an existing category and redefine its use case. (You need to create it.) There are more than 8,000 martech tools out there. Or heat map (mouse tracking) tools. In her excellent book Different, Harvard professor Youngme Moon details three types of brands that stand out in the competitive landscape today: 1. This is why most brand messaging is nearly identical. 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