Business executive, Paul Froio Massachusetts, has spent nearly 30 years working in the sporting goods and consumer industries. As a global and national expert on sales leadership, product development, and strategies to increase the visibility of brands, he has seen firsthand how many small businesses fail to use product differentiation techniques to set them apart from the competition.
Product or brand differentiation demands a drive and direction to impress the consumer why the quality, price, features, or value of a product or service is better than or different from the rest. It starts with a detailed assessment of what it is about your product that is new, unique, or more worthwhile than the competition.
With this information, Paul Froio recommends different ways to invest in the right marketing, advertising, or promotional campaigns to engage your target consumers. The result is often increased sales, a more loyal customer base, and increased traffic in-store or on your website.
Paul Froio and 4 Ways to Differentiate Your Product or Service
1. Consider the full customer journey
A good place to start with a differentiation strategy is to look at customer reviews and client feedback to determine how your product is viewed. Any consistent issues should first be addressed. Paul Froio suggests, if there is a pattern of negative comments such as slow shipping or a lack of appointment scheduling, then focus on increasing the customer experience first.
The customer journey often starts with the notice of an advertisement or an internet search and will hopefully end with a decision to purchase. Look at every single touchpoint between these two actions, and develop effective strategies to enhance customer engagement.
This may include more personalized interactions, maybe a social media presence, and/or offering lots of helpful content on your website.
2. Compete in areas other than price
Offering services at a price point below your local competition is not always the answer. Many consumers associate low prices with low service levels or a lack of expertise. Paul Froio Massachusetts believes most companies should first consider non-price competition strategies. Some companies can focus on saving the customer money but consider Elon Musk, whose Tesla car line competes on every level other than price, including:
- Niche products, i.e., EVs
- Innovative features
- Luxury appointments
- A Tesla community
- Word of mouth excitement
You don’t have to manufacture Tesla’s to benefit from high-end quality/luxury, state-of-the-art tech, and addressing a niche consumer. Paul Froio believes small and medium business owners can compete well while serving a specific age group or gender, a new trend or technology features, or by addressing a specific demographic such as teachers, suburbanites, or certain income levels.
3. Tell the story of your brand
Today’s consumer craves information, according to Paul Froio. So, deliver that information in detailed product or service descriptions and authentically tell your brand’s story. Paul Froio expects customers to continually desire more personalized information instead of major brands’ cold, hard facts. Use social media posts and the About Us page on your website to tell your brand’s story.
Instead of focusing on when and where you started your business, Paul Froio Massachusetts suggests using the why and how of your business. StoryBrand marketing creates the customer’s perception of the business and gives supporting reasons for why you have earned their business. It is important to connect with customers, and clarify your mission and values, while also improving your company’s marketing strategies.
4. Create the perception of No Substitute
Paul Froio suggests an excellent differentiation strategy that creates the perception of uniqueness surrounding your brand. This perception of no substitute means that your service is focused on maintaining quality and customer satisfaction without any hesitation. In today’s market, many celebrities (like Kim K’s Skims) or sports figures (like Megan Rapinoe narrating Nike’s new spot), and even social media influencers, are used to create a perception of “There is no substitute” product differentiation.
But, even a Mom-and-Pop hardware store or a local bookstore can create a no-substitute branding message by highlighting locale and community. According to Paul Froio, any feature that would create a sense of passion among your consumer base is a good point to leverage. Consider the visual element (Nike’s Swoosh logo and McDonald’s Golden Arches), packaging (think Coors Light’s Cold & Super Cold notifications on cans & bottles), and/or local associations with non-profit charities, local schools, and unique communities.
Large or small business owners can find unique ways to differentiate themselves from the competition, other than price. Paul Froio believes the current consumer appetite is ravenous for trustworthy and believable brands that deliver a quality product or service at a comparable price.
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