Products may be highly unique (specialty products), virtually indistinguishable from competitors’ products (commodity products), or in between these extremes. No level of uniqueness is necessarily better than any other, but they do require different marketing strategies. A potentially important strategy for specialty products is differentiation, which sets them apart from the competitors’ products in the minds of customers. A thorough understanding of how your product’s benefits compare to your competitors’ allows you to compete effectively with them through differentiation. Commodity Products Few, if any, perceived differences among competing products Specialty Products Highly unique features compared to other products competing for buyers dollars
Strategies that are based upon features
1. Introducing Identifying yourself as the first to offer a new product feature is a proven competitive strategy. For example, specifying a product as the first organic body lotion containing Vitamin E will position your company as a leader, at least for a while.
2. Improving/Modifying Instead of being at the head of the pack with a totally new feature, you might modify or improve your product’s features, which creates the impression that your company cares about satisfying its customers. Modifying product features is a strategy many businesses use when a competitor has lowered prices. For example, if the maker of one organic body lotion lowers its price, the maker of another may add Vitamin E as a "new and improved" feature but keep its price the same. It is important to remember that modifying features usually leads to changes in benefits. Stay aware of the evolution of perceived benefits your product offers so you can use them in your marketing.
3. Grouping Often, features are grouped into different product models and prices escalating from a basic model to a "fully loaded" model. Automobiles, electronic devices, and vacation packages each offer features that may be added to a basic product model. Services can also be grouped in this fashion. For example, an accountant might offer a certain fee for preparing annual tax returns, another fee to also process payroll, and another to manage all of a client's financial affairs.
The Uniform Code Council, Inc., (not a government agency) assigns a manufacturer's ID code for the purposes of bar coding. Many stores require bar coding on the packaged products they sell.
For additional information contact:
Uniform Code Council Inc., P.O. Box
1244, Dayton, Ohio 45401, (513) 435-3870.