Thursday, February 28, 2008

Create a Niche and Create Value

From Marketing Profs comes this bit of advice about Niching:

What's Your Specialty?

Marketers choose to position a product on either a single feature or a combination of features. Which strategy you use can materially impact how consumers perceive the item's value and performance.

Consider three different brands of toothpaste—one claims to whiten teeth, another claims to freshen breath, while the third purports to whiten teeth, remove plaque and freshen breath. Research at Northwestern University demonstrates that if the prices are the same, customers are more likely to believe the brand that only claims to whiten teeth is superior to the other two in that aspect. Customers also were apt to believe the brand that only claims to freshen breath does so better than the other two.

Consumers subconsciously go through a zero-sum exercise, thinking various features balance out—so if a product does well at one task, it is most likely less capable at another. Without realizing it, consumers discount a brand that claims to do it all.

However, if you raise the price of the product that has multiple features, customers will believe the product to be superior to a less expensive product that includes only one attribute.

The Po!nt: To make your product stand out from the competition, highlight one characteristic or feature—or price your all-in-one product above similar products that only highlight one feature.

Source: "Jack of All Trades or Master of One? Product Differentiation and Compensatory Reasoning in Consumer Choice" by Alexander Chernev. Journal of Consumer Research, 2007. Click here and then click "Chicago GSB" to obtain the full report.

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