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Points of Parity Vs Points of Difference | Marketing

30 August 2018

(Points of parity, points of difference, online marketing, Melbourne )

We see it all the time. Business leaders looking at what the competition is doing online then hurrying to imitate. Our competitors are an essential guide when we put our strategy together, but it's important that we not only look to match our competitors but set the trends as well.

Firstly, let's look at what points of parity (POP's) and points of difference (POD's) are.

Points of parity are the shared characteristics and offerings between competitors. POP's are important because they ensure brands at the very least offer what their competition does.

Here's an example of POP regarding online strategy. 

If a local cabinet-maker offers detailed how-to blogs from the company's director, then the competition matching them with their own blog is identifying a critical POP and delivering on it. If a competitor didn't include blogs as part of their digital strategy, then they don't offer an online presence equivalent to their competitor - at least that's what's assumed. 

Important note: Not including the blogs in this instance isn't a failure. However, ignoring something that's working in your specific market is an opportunity missed. 

From a big business perspective, POP's are all the banks providing their own ATMs. It's McDonald's launching McCafe to compete with Starbucks who at the time was eating a slice of their breakfast market-share pie. And it's Pepsi releasing Pepsi 'Blue' to compete with Coca Cola's Vanilla Coke.

Points of difference is a more straightforward concept. It's what the business does to stand out from its competitors. But it's only after we've identified our POP's that we can look at how we establish the brand's POD's. 

Before I referenced a savvy cabinetry company that had their director share personal and informative blogs on their website - a small part of a well thought out digital strategy. Their competitors, stunned at how well the blogs have been received can do one of two things.

1. They can rush to create similar blogs - that risk turning out nowhere near as good.

2. With composure, they can work out that perhaps instead of blogs, they could create interactive videos that allow their audience to understand the true craftsmanship that goes into their work.

We've got two options here, and I know which one I'd choose. 

The key takeaway is that by covering our POP's, we've been able to establish what our competitors are doing well, but then had the composure to think about how we can do things better.

It's a simple business formula really, do a better job than your competitors. But it's only when we try to achieve this that we realise that matching our competition is a continual effort that takes time and patience. 

Ask yourself: Am I trying to stay above water by doing the same thing as the competition? 

Or am I actively looking to move the business forward with new and innovative ideas online?

Daniel Kovac - Marketing Director & Founder.  

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