Product Differentiation in a Crowded Market

Many “experts” are claiming that #product differentiation is dead

Your competition can build the same capability quickly

So you should focus on #gotomarket and distribution

I disagree with these experts


Maybe there is some truth to it if you are building an app that is commodity

If your software is effectively like soap/shampoo/chips – then sure

Which essentially means customers just need something in place to do the job

And you are also doing what everybody else is doing maybe a little different

Could be slightly – faster, better, cheaper


But, if you are a #productmanager or #founder, you have surely set the bar higher, much higher for yourself


For every problem that you are solving there is an opportunity to go deeper

Here are a few ways to look at problems and build capabilities that stand out


  1. Focus on a narrow segment

Look at an industry, geography, size of business where there are additional facets to the same problem. Understand those and solve the problem much, much better for that segment. It may not be a feature or 2, but it could be a cluster of capabilities


  1. Data driven personalization

Understand your customer and user preferences in minute detail. Gather and analyze the data and use it to define better and tuned capabilities. This can also be used to define personalized experiences


  1. Collaborative differentiation

Partner with those that provide complementary solutions and come up with ways to drastically to improve customer experience and time to value by combining, bundling, integrating in advance


  1. “Build in the open/public” and crowdsourcing

Some companies are getting good at this where they make their customers and potentials customers part of the dialog and decision making process. There is no shortage of new features and ideas, but you need well thought out prioritization process and actually embrace this model for it to work.


What other strategies or approaches do you think can work?

Do you agree or disagree with the experts who say that “product differentiation is dead”?