The relationship between differentiation and positioning of products or services
In marketing, differentiation is the process of distinguishing a product or service from the rest through describing its unique differences and or characteristics. It is done for competition purposes with a view of creating a market niche for that particular product or service. Differentiation seeks to create a good image of a particular product among the targeted consumers so as to ensure that they perceive it as unique and different from other similar products (Armstrong & Kotler, 2009).
Product differentiation makes the targeted consumers not compare a particular product with others; which gives that particular product a competitive advantage over the others. In doing differentiation, marketers or product owners may rely on an advertisement, promotions, improved product quality, lowering or increasing the prices as well as the lack of understanding on the part of the consumers regarding the price and quality of the product being differentiated (Armstrong & Kotler, 2009).
A company may engage itself in the differentiation of several products at the same time. This makes it have a definitive number of customers, who are sort of owned by it due to the uniqueness of its products or services. This is what is called positioning. Posting entails using various strategies like promotion, distribution of products or services, and production of unique products with unique pricing to build an identity of a particular company or organization in the minds of particular consumers.
Positioning seeks to stabilize and retain the positions of the particular differentiated products for a particular company so as to retain the competitive advantage of the company in regard to those products. For a company to create and maintain a particular position in a market, it needs to do thorough research and consistent monitoring of market trends so as to modify or readjust the differentiation and positioning strategies for its respective products.
The impact of the product life cycle on marketing
A new product is developed through various stages or steps before it is introduced in the market. First and foremost, an idea is generated about the introduction of a product based on some observations of the market. After the idea is generated, it is subjected to a screening process so as to remove any ambiguities in it. What follows is the analysis of the business environment to determine the possible pricing of the product and those of similar products as well as to know the potential customers and their nature.
After this, a prototype product is made and is tested to the market accompanied by interviewing some people on it to know what improvements need to be done to make it more appealing to potential customers. The next stage is to modify the product based on the recommendations, which opens the room for its commercialization next stage. The commercialization involves mass publicity and advertisements as well as tentative friendly pricing so as to attract customers. After the product is fully introduced in the market, a new pricing strategy may be adopted based on the demand for the product.
This process can be summarised into four distinct stages namely the introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. During the introduction stage, marketing takes the form of intense promotion to create awareness about the product or service so as to create a market for the product or service. The prices may be low so as to reach and attract many customers. The prices are increased as demand increases. At the growth stage; marketing takes the form of intense distribution of the product or service due to increased demand and awareness of the product or service. Price and product quality is maintained.
At the maturity stage, there is emerging competition from other products, which calls for a reduction of prices and an increase in distribution and promotion in form of giving the consumers incentives in terms of offers. The products’ competitive advantage is enhanced mainly through differentiation, which adds more features to the product so as to retain a grip on the customers.
During the decline stage, the company may engage in rejuvenating the product or service so as to create new uses and hence new users. If this is not possible, the company may as well sell the product or service to another company, which re-invents it and comes up with a newer product with newer market dimensions. The product cycle begins all over again (Armstrong & Kotler, 2009).
Armstrong, G., & Kotler, P. (2009). Marketing. An Introduction. (9th, Ed.). Prentice-Hall: Pearson Education Company.