Marketing Success Through Differentiation

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83 Marketing success through differentiationof anything Any product oi service can he differentiated, even the commodity that seems to differ from competitors ' offerings only in price Theodore Levitt On television we see product differentiation all the time, whether the subject of the commercial is a distinguishable good like an automobile or an indistinguishable good like laundry detergent. These are packaged products. How does the marketer differentiate a so-called commodity like isopropyl alcohol, strip steel, commercial bank services, or even legal counsel? The author describes the attributes of products that give the marketer opportunity to win the customer from the competition and, having won him, to keep him. Finally,…show more content…
These possibilities, even in the short run, are not confined simply to nonprice competition, such as harder personal selling, intensified advertising, or what 's loosely called more or better "services." To see fully what these possibilities are, it is useful first to examine what exactly a product is. What 's a product? Products are almost always combinations of the tangible and the intangible. An automobile is not simply a machine for movement visibly or measurably differentiated by design, size, color, options, horsepower, or miles per gallon. It is also a complex symbol denoting status, taste, rank, achievement, aspiration, and (these days) being "smart"—that is, buying fuel economy rather than display. But the customer buys even more than these attributes. The enormous efforts of the auto manufacturers to cut the time between placement and delivery of an order and to select, train, supervise, and motivate their dealerships suggest that these too are integral parts of the products people buy and are therefore ways by which products may be differentiated. In the same way, a computer is not simply a machine for data storage and processing; it is also an operating system with special software protocols for use and promises of maintenance and repair.

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