In today’s market, it can be difficult for manufacturing companies to stand out from the competition. Product differentiation can be the key to enticing decision-makers to purchase your products and increase your revenue.
As of 2022, there are 638,583 manufacturing businesses in the United States alone. That’s more than half a million companies vying for attention and conversions among the same audience pool. So how do you set your company apart and convince buyers to purchase from you? By highlighting the unique features of your products and services that allow you to solve your customers’ problems like no other company.
Keep reading to learn more about product differentiation and how it can boost your branding strategy.
- Product differentiation is the method of highlighting the unique features of your products and why they’re superior to those of your competitors.
- While there are two types of product differentiation, customers often use a combination of both to make their final purchase decision.
- In addition to attracting customers, product differentiation helps to build brand identity and recognition, drives traffic to your site, and increases the chance of conversions.
- Create a product differentiation strategy by determining your reputation, knowing your audience, identifying unique traits, and sharing your story.
What Exactly Is Product Differentiation?
Product differentiation is a way for companies to communicate to consumers (and competitors) the unique features of their products and how those products can benefit the end-user. Qualifiers that can help set your products apart from those of other companies include:
- Price point
- Product quality
- Customer experience
An important aspect of brand marketing for manufacturing companies, product differentiation is especially impactful for both your marketing and sales departments. Marketing makes sure to highlight your products’ unique features in promotions while sales utilizes these materials to demonstrate the company’s competitive advantage.
While there are several ways to set your company apart from others, there are generally two types of product differentiation:
- Vertical product differentiation: Revolves around measurable attributes like price and quality.
- Horizontal product differentiation: This focuses on immeasurable factors, like personal preference.
In some cases, customers will use a combination of these factors to make their purchase decision. They may focus on vertical differentiation (cost) but ultimately use horizontal differentiation (personal preference) as their deciding factor. The following video provides helpful ways to differentiate your product in today’s marketplace:
Source: Matt Easton on YouTube
Why Is Product Differentiation Important?
Product differentiation is an opportunity for businesses to attract the attention of prospective customers. It also yields other benefits, like:
- Developing a strong brand identity: when your marketing materials focus on the unique features of your products, people come to see you as an innovative and resourceful company.
- Solidifying brand recognition: by focusing on product differentiation in content marketing for manufacturing companies, you become more recognizable to your audience.
- Driving website traffic for manufacturing companies: when following SEO basics for manufacturing and industrial companies, you can include content and keywords about the features of your products that align with online searches.
- Increasing the likelihood of conversions: People who see your superior products will want to purchase from you.
A successful product differentiation strategy depends on several factors, like your company’s innovation, resources, and strength of research and development. Product differentiation is an important aspect of marketing for manufacturers and can be the determining factor in your overall success.
How to Create a Product Differentiation Strategy
Perhaps you want to develop a competitive advantage for a particular product. Or maybe you want to set your company apart as a whole. Whether you’re looking for a broad or focused strategy, product differentiation can be a powerful way to create a distinction between you and your competitors. Follow these steps to stand out in a crowded marketplace and attract new customers for continued growth and development.
Step 1: Determine Your Reputation
To set yourself apart from the competition and attract the attention of new customers, you must first determine what you want to be known for. Perhaps you want to:
- Be the company that beats everyone else’s price
- Build the best widget in the industry
- Provide superior customer service that keeps people coming back for more
- Deliver the most positive user experience overall
Think about what’s important to your business and what aligns with your company’s mission and values. Create a list of strengths and weaknesses of both your individual products and your company overall. Determine the reputation you want to have and develop a marketing plan that builds that reputation in the minds of your audience.
Step 2: Know Your Audience
To ensure you’re providing valuable solutions to your consumers’ problems, you must gain a deeper understanding of your target audience. Create buyer personas to identify your ideal customer. Monitor social media chat threads and forums to learn what people are saying about your products and those of your competitors. Look for gaps to fill and ways you can meet decision-makers’ needs.
Only once you understand your buyers’ needs, expectations, and preferences can you create content and promotional messaging that resonates. Then you can be sure you’re targeting the right people with valuable information that alleviates pain points and entices them to buy.
Step 3: Identify Unique Traits
Once you know what your customers need, you can begin to assess your own products and services and identify ways you can provide value to your customers. What does your company do that’s better than others? What unique features does your product have that others lack? How can you provide your customer with a better solution than other companies in your industry?
Once you’ve identified traits that set you apart in your industry, you can use them to shape your product differentiation strategy and overall marketing and sales campaigns. Focus on the benefits you can provide that others can’t. Promote the characteristics that make your company uniquely you and demonstrate why your solutions are superior. These will help you retain current customers and attract new buyers.
Step 4: Share Your Story
Nothing makes you more unique than your company’s story. Use all of the information you’ve gathered, from reputation and audience needs to unique product and business characteristics, to write your company’s story. Consider your mission statement, values, and vision, and tell your unique story that sets you apart from everyone else in your industry. Publish this information on your website, share it on your social media pages, and print it on your sales and marketing materials.
Your story helps you to connect with your audience on a more personal level. It opens the door for developing deep, meaningful relationships with your customers. Your story can help build trust and brand loyalty. Ultimately, it can help you attract more business, increase conversions, and create brand ambassadors who are happy to promote your business to their own contacts and expand your reach exponentially.
Create an Effective Product Differentiation Strategy
Shanahan Strategy capitalizes on marketing trends for manufacturing companies and builds effective digital strategies to help generate growth and revenue. From identifying website must-haves for manufacturing companies to creating a successful digital marketing strategy, Shanahan Strategy can help you reach your marketing goals.
Contact Shanahan Strategy today to learn how we can help you stand out from the crowd with an effective product differentiation strategy.