It used to be that the company with the better product won. Then came the age when the company with the better message about the product won.
Very few companies still win with on the basis of having a better product. Apple is probably one of the few that can still achieve that. Their products are cool and we buy them because coolness used to get us better mates.
Most companies can no longer win that way. Coming out with products that have new features no longer gives us a sustainable competitive advantage – either users don’t care, or if they do, competition catches up in no time.
It’s also much harder to differentiate your offering based on the story you might craft about it – as customers and prospects are now increasingly owning that story.
But so – how do companies win today?
The way companies win these days is by delivering services on top of their products that make customers go WOW. The reason why exceptional service is the new competitive differentiator is not just because it’s easier for competitors to catch up product-wise, but because the news about exceptional service travels fast in the networks that matter – peer and friend networks where the buying decisions are increasingly being made. When people recommend products to friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, they do not focus on the features, functions and benefits the way many marketers have been trained to do – they focus on the overall experience of adopting the solution, and the exceptional qualities of that “whole” offering.
So if you are like most companies and operate in a market where it is really hard to differentiate based on the product alone, you got to focus your attention on WOW service offerings.
What do you think? I would appreciate your input and feedback.