Jack Trout

Steve Rivkin


 How To Develop an Effective Differentiation Strategy



Make Sense in the Context of the Category

Arguments are never made in vacuum. Your numerous competitors are trying to make arguments on their own. Your message has to start with what the marketplace has heard and registered from your competition get a quick snapshot of the perceptions that exist in mind, not deep thoughts. Focus on the perceptual strengths and weaknesses of you and your competitors as they exist in the minds of the target group of customers. The timing for your differentiating idea should be right if you are too early or too late you'll go nowhere.  




Find the Differentiating Idea

There many ways to set your company, product, or service apart. Your differentness does not have to be product related it can be anything that separates you from your competitors. The trick is to find that difference and then use it to set up a benefit for your customer.




Have the Credentials

Claims of difference without proof are just claims. Consumers are skeptical. You must have the credentials to support your differentiating idea if you wish to build a logical argument for your difference. It's like being in the court of public opinion. If you have a product/service difference, you should be able to demonstrate that difference, which in turn, becomes your credentials.





Communicate Your Difference

Marketing is a battle of perceptions, not products. "Better products don't win. Better perceptions tend to be winners. Truth will not out unless it has some help along the way. Your cannot overcommunicate your difference every aspect of your communication should reflect it. A real differentiating idea is also a powerful motivational tool.