In the marketplace, customers are presented with a wide array of options. In any given industry, the number of choices a customer can face can range from a few to a few thousand. As a marketer, the expanding selection of options means that you have to find a way for your product to stand out from the crowd. Brand positioning, or the way customers perceive your brand, is ultimately what will make the difference in the customer choosing your product over the competition’s. When it comes to brand positioning, there are two important points that will make you competitive within your industry: points of parity and points of differentiation.
What are Points of Parity?
When you bring a product to market, there are certain key features that will establish your brand as a member of a given sector. These are elements that all or most of your competition will share.
- The ability to receive and make calls
- Text messaging capabilities
- Mobile data
If a service provider lacks any of these services, they will likely not be considered when you choose a plan. Points of parity keep you in the discussion and make you a consideration when customers are deciding which product to choose.
What are Points of Differentiation?
While points of parity are what make your product similar among your competition, points of differentiation are what sets your product apart and give you a competitive advantage. Returning to cell phone providers, let’s take a look at points of differentiation within the market. Take a look at Verizon. They offer the largest 4G network in the nation. Though other companies offer 4G coverage (a point of parity), no other company does it on nearly as large of scale as Verizon. This is a point of differentiation that Verizon consistently advertises and it gives them a competitive advantage when customers look for a service with reliable coverage.
Why are Points of Parity and Points of Differentiation Important?
Points of parity and points of differentiation keep you competitive. But as the market changes, so do these points. Let’s return to cell phone providers one last time. Years ago, Verizon began offering an unlimited data plan. For a set monthly fee, customers could use as much data as their hearts desired. This was a popular feature that many customers took advantage of, but as competitors began to see the popularity of the plan, they began to adapt and offer unlimited data as well. Today, unlimited data is expected from cell phone providers and has become a point of parity. Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint all offer their version of unlimited data. Your competition will continuously work to neutralize your points of differentiation to eliminate any advantage you have.
As a marketer, it’s critical to continuously monitor your brand positioning. As your competition establishes points of differentiation or turns your points of differentiation into points of parity, it is imperative to make adjustments or you will lose your place in the market. If you fail to keep up with the points of parity within your field you will lose relevance and no longer be considered by your customers. But if you fail to establish and maintain points of differentiation, you give your customer no reason to choose you over a similar product.
Points of parity and points of differentiation don’t mean anything if your customers don’t know who you are and can’t find you. You need a successful digital marketing strategy to target your key demographic and establish an online presence. SocialSEO provides comprehensive marketing strategies utilizing SEO, SEM, Social Media, and video. Contact our professional digital marketing team today and let us take your business to the next level.