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Product Differentiation Checklist


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Product Differentiation Checklist Product Differentiation Checklist is created for the business managers to help them in positioning their products as different from other similar things offered on the market. Differentiation creates a competitive advantage for the seller, so this checklist advises some areas where you can emphasize a contrasting difference of your product from its competitors. 

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Types of Product differentiation:

  • Horizontal differentiation: products differ by their quality, effectiveness, usefulness, etc;
  • Vertical differentiation: products differ by their subjective features, such as color, flavor, etc;
  • Mixed differentiation: components of both horizontal and vertical differentiation;

Customer values important to product differentiation:

  • Basic customer needs: on-time delivery, adequate price, satisfactory performance, etc;
  • Expected usefulness: quality and satisfaction level adequate to requirements and pricing;
  • Desired benefits: some unnecessary service details which increase customer satisfaction;
  • Excellence: something unexpected and amazing to a customer (an “extra mile”);

Sources of product differentiation:

  • Product physical characteristics: the variable size, shape and components of the product;
  • Packaging: whether convenient, “green” or creative – it adds value to your products;
  • Product features: something that makes a product diverse, let’s say a different flavor or color;
  • Product performance or quality: outstanding qualities, new functional features, noble materials, better testing procedures, etc – anything that allows indicating your product as superior;
  • Consistent level of quality: errorless processes enable your company delivering always a stably good level of product quality (irregularity in quality is minimized);
  • Reliability: sound level of durability and longevity of products (a product’s expected working lifespan should be at least longer than its warranty period);
  • Style: exterior of the product (its visual attractiveness) and compliance with taste and seeking of the target customers and recent fashion trends;
  • Design: product convenience (ergonomics) and effectiveness for use;
  • Economy: low consumption of resources, options to economize, “green” technologies;
  • Reparability: comparable easiness and low costs for service and repair procedures;
  • Safety: safe composition of materials, ecological manufacturing processes, absence of allergens, effective protective mechanisms and everything proving your concern in safety;
  • Associative benefits: country of origin, certain values associated with the brand, etc;
  • Friendliness: suitability to needs of a specific segment of the customers, for example suitability to needs of children, disabled people, etc;
  • Distribution: a wider and easier-to-reach availability of a product can make it more popular than competitors, even though worse features, quality or pricing;
  • Sales promotions: advantageous promotions can...

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