You might have heard of the term Unique Selling Proposition (USP). It refers to the thing about the product or service you are marketing that sets it apart from all the other similar products. Marketers often focus on this to the detriment of other factors. At the same time that they are looking for things that make the product or service unique, they might also determine how to show that their product is just as good as—and mostly the same as—its competitors in ways consumers care about.
We don’t need to stand out completely from the crowd.
The Delorean, for example, was a unique automobile in many ways—stainless steel body panels, gull-wing doors, etc.—but was so different from other cars that many credit its uniqueness as one of the reasons the car (and it’s company) were not ultimately successful. It is important, then, to keep in mind other factors when positioning a product or service on the market.
What is “Point of Difference?”
“Point of difference” refers to the factors that make your good or service different from other products or services against which they are competing. Showing how your product or service is different can go a long way toward making your case for why consumers should buy it. If I am selling computers, for example, and my computer has a faster processing speed, is lighter, or has more memory than others in the same price range, you might call those factors “points of difference.”
What is “Point of Parity?”
What happens though—as with the Delorean example above—if your product or service is too different from others? Or what if the product or service is different in ways that turn consumers off? For instance, what if the computer you sell is different because it is more expensive than others with similar features? It is important, then, to balance “point of difference” with “point of parity”—the factors that make your product or service comparable to competing products and services. If the computer you sell is comparable in price to other computers but is faster, sturdier, lighter, or otherwise better in some way, you have probably balanced the “point of difference” with the “point of parity.”
What does it Mean for a Marketing Strategy?
“Point of difference” and “point of parity” should both be considered when positioning a product or service on the market. It is important to understand exactly how your product or service stacks up with the competition. At all times, keep in mind what makes it comparable and what makes it different, and let that guide you toward determining what makes it a better product or service.