I came across an eight-year-old article the other day entitled Discovering New Points of differentiation, by Ian MacMillan and Rita McGrath (not online, you can buy it from HBS).

It provides a rigorous approach to identifying ways to differentiate your company from competitors on more than just product or service. Here's a synopsis:The first step is to map the 'consumption chain', the various points at which your customers and potential customers 'touch' (or could touch) your product or service:

  1. The point of first awareness (e.g. through marketing materials or
  2. The point of locating your product or service (initial purchase or direct
  3. The point of making the decision between your and competitors' offerings
  4. The point of ordering and purchasing your offering
  5. The point of receiving delivery of your offering
  6. The point of inspecting and processing receipt of your offering
  7. The point of installing or implementing use of your offering
  8. The point of paying for your offering
  9. The point of storing your offering between uses
  10. The point of moving your offering from one location to another
  11. The point of using your product or service
  12. The point of receiving support services from you
  13. The point of returning or exchanging your offering
  14. The point of repairing, maintaining and upgrading your offering
  15. The point of disposing of your offering

From Dave Pollard, don't miss this one.


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