Not all differentiation strategies are equally effective, and some methods may be more important to invest in than others in order to stand out from the competition. Research shows that there are six primary ways to differentiate a business, including the following:
1. Product: Product differentiation may take the form of features, performance, efficacy, meeting specifications, or a number of other criteria, conformance, durability and warranty.
2. Service: Includes: Ordering ease, delivery, installation, customer training, customer consulting, and other miscellaneous services.
3. Channel: This means that the firm differentiates itself by differentiating their channel's coverage, expertise and performance.
4. Relationship: This includes: competency, courtesy, credibility, reliability, responsiveness, and communication.
5. Reputation/image differentiation: Image differentiation refers to the image a company or a brand has in consumers' minds through perception, communication and advertising.
6. Price: Price differentiation markets the same products at different prices, based on age, financial need, or geographic region. It focuses on charging different customers different prices for the same goods.