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PRODUCT DIFFERENTIATION - A QDP
COMPONENT FOR GAINING COMPETITIVE
ADVANTAGE 

By Ramon Ignacio 


Competition is a significant factor in business.. It's not enough to demonstrate that you can deliver what the customer wants as in the D of our QDP. You need to look beyond what everyone else is doing. Position your product as clearly different and better than the competition. 

Making your business different and stand out can also help your company from becoming stagnant. You constantly want to be improving your services so that you can attract new customers as well as keep the ones you already have. 

KNOW WHAT YOUR CUSTOMERS WANT 

Know what your customers want, and what your competitors don't offer. You really need to understand your customers and this includes potential buyers as well. How do you find this information? Ask your customers! 

Differentiating your business from the competition requires looking at your business in another perspective from your customer's point of view. In this age of computers and internet, online discussions and chat rooms can be a quick and easy source for gathering first hand information from customers and prospects. You can also put together a simple survey or questionnaire to get feedback on ideas and issues pertaining to your business. Listen to your customers. New and different ideas are healthy for business. Even a small, simple change can significantly increase profits if it targets your customers' wants. 

STUDY  COMPETITION 

Differentiation makes your business brilliant and credible. You want a prospect to be able to quickly and clearly understand what you do and what sets you apart from your competitors. So let's look at our contenders to see what we're up against: 

Who are the major competitors in your industry? 
What product line does each offer? 
In your industry, what are most companies in competition about?
What are the specific strengths of each major competitor? 

Listen to your customers. New and different ideas are
healthy for business.

CREATE PRODUCT DIFFERENTIATION WITH SIMPLE TECHNIQUES 

Provide features that deviate from the average characteristics of your industry. Focus on features that achieve what your customers want and you'll be able to cause buyers to choose your brand over others. Increase the VALUE or your product or service, but more importantly, make sure that your customer perceives that increased value. The more difficult it is for your competition to copy your idea the better. 

This type of sales positioning will work best when:

1.there are several ways to differentiate your product or service and 2.the buyer can use your product or service in different ways. 

Think out of the box. Go against the norm and adopt a bold approach to doing business in your industry. Focus on an aspect that you believe your business can uniquely excel at. Examples of values and benefits: 

Superior service
Greater product availability
Higher quality
Better performance
Increase intelligence
Greater durability
Respected image / prestige
Technology leadership
Satisfaction guarantee
Lower cost
Faster delivery
More customer support 

Save time and money! It's important that you understand your customer's desires before you develop your differentiation strategy. Some things to be careful of: 

Make sure that buyers perceive your product's features as a benefit Don't raise your prices too high and drive
away customers As part of the marketing strategy differentiating your business is an ongoing process. The marketplace is always changing. Don't be afraid to change with it just do it in your own unique way.  

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