Differentiate Or Die: Survival In Our Era Of Killer Competition


By:
Jack Trout with Steve Rivkin

Reviewed by:
Prof. Jyothsna Priyadarsini. K
Faculty Member-Marketing
ICFAI National College
Near Kambala Tank Road, Rajahmundry-533 105
E-mail:
sathijyothsna@rediffmail.com
 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

JACK TROUT is the President of Trout & Partners, one of the most prestigious marketing firms in the US. Recognized as one of the influential gurus of marketing. Trout was the first to popularize the idea of "POSITIONING" products and ideas in the minds of the customers. His best selling include Positioning: The battle for your mind, Marketing Warfare, The 22 immutable laws of Marketing and the Power of simplicity. STEVE RIVIKIN is coauthor of the new positioning and The Power of Simplicity

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Marketing guru Jack Trout delivers a practical guide for businesses on developing powerful differentiation strategies. Differentiate or Die builds upon a very simple premise: To survive, or at least out-perform, one's competitors in this era of killer competition, a company must out-differentiate that competition. DIFFERENTIATE OR DIE outlines the many ways the marketer can achieve differentiation. It also warns how difficult it is to achieve differentiation by being creative, cheap, customer oriented, quality driven things that the competitors can do as well.

Differentiate or die is not only an anthology of marketing sensation stories, but also takes to a profound travel around today's most winning differentiation strategies. It enlightens with various smart strategies, the situation where and when they should be practically applied, and how they can help the marketer to become an icon in a swarming market place. Marketing managers in all types of organizations, regardless of size, can learn how to achieve product differentiation through various strategies.

A Plethora of Choice:

The author discusses the collection of choices available to the customers and the consequences of that. There are more and more choices for every consumer to make. Customers have lot many choices and they need the help of a marketer to understand why to choose his brand over others offering similar services.

CHOICE leads into Differentiation:

The author confers about intensification in choice that coerced the need for the organization to be different than others. The process of differentiating is the process of making the appearance of the product to a market different than that of competitor down the street.

It is specified in the book that differentiation can be a better tool to be used in managing the competition.

Unique Selling Proposition:

Jack Trout in his book called Differentiate or Die makes an extraordinarily strong case for devoting the time, effort, and creativity to formulating your organization's unique selling proposition. If it is done well the marketer can sell easily. Do this poorly and you will have to sell very hard. He says it is critical for every business to have a unique selling proposition, or USP.

Jack Trout speaks about the magnitude of Being Different, Differentiating with "Intuitive, Thinkers, Feelers, and Sensors". He also proposes that the marketer can Differentiate Anything.

Their successful strategies proposed by Jack Trout can be summed up in five ways:

1. Identify 
2. Personify
3. Create a new Generic
4. Change the name  
5. Reposition the category

At last he declares, "Where there's a will, there's a way to differentiate".

In the next discussion he proposes that there is a need to reinvent the USP. Earlier the way to differentiate was usually based on a tangible difference between products. Me-tooism became the dominant force in competition. So in the recent scenario companies need to show benefit beyond product.

What Does Not Work:

The next several chapters debate about various approaches to differentiating a product or service or company. Primarily he unveils the awful news that product quality, advertising creativity, price advantage, and breadth of product line are seldom-successful ways to differentiate your business. Trout and Rivkin explain why quality, customer orientation and creativity aren't usually effective.

Consumers expect the best quality, he says; but they don't feel it's a windfall (bonus). Most grippingly, both quality and customer orientation are hardly ever differentiating ideas.

Relying on creativity:

The second thing that should not be done: He remarks that feathery creativity will not work.

He recommends that the primary concept that can be seldom used for differentiation is Price.

Further more he feels that broad line of products or services cannot be paid attention to differentiate. Doing it all. Trying to be all things to all people ("our firm offers a wide range of products") is the worst way to be unique. Not only do the marketer overwhelm prospects with choices, the marketer makes it easy for his competitors to offer the same.

In his ominously titled book Differentiate or Die, Marketing Guru Jack Trout and co-author Steve Rivkin spell out a cut-to-the-quick 4-step process for differentiating a company from its competition.

1. Make sense in the context of the market as it exists,
2. Find the differentiating idea
3. Have the credentials.
4. Communicate your difference.

In the next phase he gives the synopsis of how mind works and what are the key principles of Positioning (means how the differentiates his product in the mind of the prospect).

What works well?

Trout and Rivkin now list differentiating ideas that DO work effectively, and give a number of helpful examples of each:

(1) Being first or number one.
(2) Owning a particular attribute or product quality in the consumer's mind.
(3) Demonstrating product leadership.
(4) Drawing upon an impressive company history or heritage.
(5) Focusing on a particular market specialty.
(6) Showing that your product is the preference of influential persons or groups.
(7) Focusing on a product's unique ingredients.
(8) Being the "new generation" of products, or
(9) Being popular or "hot."

The authors demonstrate how company growth can destroy its differences unless company leaders are careful. The final part of the book focuses on how growth can dilute differentiation so that what once was a unique selling proposition has lost its power because it is diluted with new products, services and programs.

Trout points out that in order to differentiate, you are frequently required to sacrifice. Thus, an organization that is doing marginally well in one area and now, in order to improve business, expands into a new type of product or service, and in a few years has three or four or five distinct products or services, each offered in a somewhat different market, has so blurred and diluted its unique selling proposition that it can do well in none of the markets.

DIFFERENT KINDS OF SACRIFICES like Product sacrifice,
Attribute sacrifice, and Target market sacrifice
is discussed.

Jack portrays how a product is differentiated or branded in one country may need to be substantially different to succeed in another culture.

He also suggests that the difference has to be maintained well and he discusses why CEOs fail and who is in charge of differentiation.

Differentiate or Disappear:

While concluding the author says it is to remember that every business, whether it's a for-profit corporation or a non-profit, has to be dealt with customers. The failure to be unique will let the product disappear.

Reviewed through:

Differentiate or Die (Survival in our era of Killer competition) By Jack Trout with Steve Rivkin
East West Books (Madras) Pvt. Ltd.
ISBN: 81-86852-91-3
Reprinted 2004
 


Prof. Jyothsna Priyadarsini. K
Faculty Member-Marketing
ICFAI National College
Near Kambala Tank Road, Rajahmundry-533 105
E-mail:
sathijyothsna@rediffmail.com
 

Source: E-mail July 28, 2005

  

Back to Articles 1-99 / 100 onwards / Faculty Column Main Page

 

Important Note :
Site Best Viewed in Internet
Explorer in 1024x768 pixels
Browser text size: Medium