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Reviews of the Best Differentiation Strategy Books

Reviews of the Best Differentiation Strategy Books

Making yourself distinct, even unique so that your targeted customers have strong reasons to prefer and choose you rather than any other business is a cornerstone of being successful.

While this page looks specifically at a differentiation based competitive advantage including how it’s communicated to the market, I also have a more general Business Strategy page of book recommendations.

I love this topic, so much I started a separate blog called Differentiate Your Business.

What Happens When Companies Don’t Effectively Differentiate Themselves?

That depends on the balance of supply and demand and who has the bargaining power.

If demand is higher than potential supply, the suppliers are in the strong position and prices and profits increase. Differentiation isn’t important in this situation.

If supply exceeds demand, the buyers have the power and prices go down and costs of service go up, squeezing profit. If the imbalance are large cut-throat price wars can destroy any hope of profits in an industry for years until demand and supply rebalance.

The irony is that while supply shrinks slowly, it has every reason to increase quickly when supply is short. There is money to be made by supplying more and the existing competitors and new market entrants know this. Quickly the industry has over-capacity and prices and profits decline.

The Lowest Cost Alternative

Yes in theory a business with significantly the lowest costs can prosper, even when prices are at rock bottom. However in this globalised world, there is normally someone, somewhere who can make or supply cheaper.

Most of the time there is no alternative. Businesses must be different. Fortunately there are some excellent books that can:

1) help you to be different and develop a differentiation based competitive advantage that may be sustainable for years.

2) help you to communicate your key points of difference to your customers. Being different is no use if either customer don’t know about it or if customers don’t value it.

My clients don’t care if I’m seven feet tall and stand out at networking events. It’s not relevant to anyone who wants my services. As it happens, I’m only six feet four tall but I’ve often been the tallest person in the room.

The Best Books About Differentiation Strategy & Competitive Advantage, Customer Value, USPs & Branding

You will only see the books I’ve rated at Four Stars (meaning good and well worth reading) and Five Stars (excellent and very highly recommended). Reviews of lower rated books appear on Amazon.co.uk but I haven’t brought the reviews across to my own website.

If you read my reviews, you’ll see I try to explain why I like them but also to identify any weaknesses. My job as a reviewer is to help you to find the most appropriate books rather than to help sell more books.

Here are links to page 23 – 4 – 5

The full title of this book by Robert Woodruff and Sarah Gardial is

Know Your Customer: New Approaches to Understanding Customer Value and Satisfaction

In my review posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave this book Four Stars. This means it is Good and Well Worth Reading, provided you don’t mind the academic nature of the book.

Here is my book review.

A challenging read

I read a great academic summary by Robert Woodruff on customer value and how you had to consider issues at the different levels of the customer’s thinking.

I was encouraged to buy this book, expecting to learn a lot. [continue reading…]

in Best Business Books

Get to Aha! by Andy Cunningham

The full title of this book by Andy Cunningham is

Get to Aha!: Discover Your Positioning DNA and Dominate Your Competition“.

Normally I have a simple rule, the book has to earn four stars to be considered worthy of featuring on this blog. I only gave this book Three Stars in my review at Amazon.co.uk and yet, I’ve decided to feature it.

Let me explain why.

It’s a specialised technology strategic marketing book masquerading as a book written for the general market. As a result, I graded it as Three Stars, but, if it had included Technology Businesses in the title/subtitle, I’d have given it Four Stars.

Here is my review.

Very interesting for technology based businesses (Four Stars) but for the rest Three Stars

This book about positioning is interesting since it says that your position in your market isn’t so much about choice but is hardwired into the type of business you have – your business DNA.

You make the most of what you are and the natural advantages you have and, if you try to go against your DNA, success will be hard if not impossible. [continue reading…]

in Best Business Books

Stop Competing on Price by David Gomez

The full title of this book by David Gomez is

Stop Competing on Price: What every salesperson, entrepreneur and business professional needs to know to differentiate their product or service and make price irrelevant“.

In my review at Amazon.co.uk, I rated it as a Four Stars book, which means that I consider it to be good or very good.

Here is what I posted.

Thoughtful guide to differentiation

I read a lot of books about differentiation strategy and how to communicate those differences quickly and believe there is always room for more to increase understanding and clarity over what to do. [continue reading…]

in Best Business Books

The full title of this book by W Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne is

Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing – Proven Steps to Inspire Confidence and Seize New Growth“.

In my review at Amazon.co.uk, I rated the book at the FIVE Stars level, which means that I consider it to be excellent.

Here is what I posted.

A detailed how to guide for developing blue ocean strategies

I’ve been very impressed with the authors’ blue ocean thinking, ever since I read the early articles in the Harvard Business Review. I gave the Blue Ocean Strategy book a five star review.

When the revised Blue Ocean Strategy book was published several years ago, I appreciated the extended text and give it five stars again but I was a little disappointed as well. [continue reading…]

in 3 – Your Strategic Positioning, Best Business Books

Chase One Rabbit by David Parrish

The full title of this book by David Parrish is

“Chase One Rabbit: Strategic Marketing for Business Success: 63 Tips, Techniques and Tales for Creative Entrepreneurs”.

In my review at Amazon.co.uk, I rated the book at the FOUR stars level, this means it’s in the good to very good category.

Here is what I wrote.

A good introduction to strategic marketing that deserves to be read by many small business owners

Although this book is targeted towards entrepreneurs in the creative industries, I believe it deserves a much wider audience of small business owners. The general messages in the book apply to all sectors and whilst the examples and stories used are from creative businesses, they are easily understood.

The main purpose of the book is to introduce the ideas of strategic marketing as opposed to operational marketing. You’re probably familiar with operational marketing because it tells you how to use marketing media – how to have a good website, how to get ranked in search engines, how to use display advertisements in newspapers and magazines, how to create a direct mail letter or how to use social media. It’s probably how you think about marketing. [continue reading…]

in Best Business Books

All Business is Show Business by Scott McKain

The full title of this book by Scott McKain is

All Business is Show Business: Strategies for Earning Standing Ovations from Your Customers“.

In my review posted to Amazon.co.uk, I rated it as Four Stars. This means I think it is Good and Well Worth Reading.

Here is my book review.

Capture attention and keep customers interested through “entertainment”

I enjoyed reading this book and it covers three important concepts:

  1. A high concept – a short, powerful summary of what your business is all about.
  2. A powerful story – expand on the core concept through a powerful, emotional packed, memorable story which creates a real connection with customers – I wrote about this in my blog on the Core Myth.
  3. The ultimate customer experience – a similar concept to what I call the perfect customer experience and the ideal customer experience.

[continue reading…]

in Best Business Books

Managing Customer Value by Bradley T Gale

The full title of this book by Bradley Gale is

Managing Customer Value: Creating Quality and Service That Customers Can See“.

In my review posted on Amazon.co.uk, I rated this book as Four Stars. This means I think it is Good and Well Worth Reading.

Here is my book review.

Puts “value” numbers to the idea of differentiation but it has a big company bias

This is a landmark in the development of the concept of customer value as a way to make decisions about differentiation strategies.

While Michael Porter argued that the only ways to gain a competitive advantage were a cost advantage (in effect coming from the supply side) and differentiation advantage (from the demand side), he didn’t provide many practical tools for understanding the customer purchase decision and how companies could differentiate themselves in ways that matter. [continue reading…]

in Best Business Books

In my review of

The 22 Immutable Laws Of Branding by Al Ries and Laura Ries

posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book a rating of Four Stars.

This means I think it is Good and Well Worth Reading.

Here is my book review.

Branding in terms of what the brand stands for

This is a no nonsense guide explaining how to build a brand for your business which attracts customers and increases sales and profits.

There is a big business branding issue that small companies shouldn’t copy. I hate much of the advertising done by big businesses and the way that encourage small businesses to waste their money doing stuff which doesn’t have a chance of working. [continue reading…]

in Best Business Books

The Irresistible Offer by Mark Joyner

The full title of this book by Mark Joyner is

The Irresistible Offer: How to Sell Your Product or Service in 3 Seconds or Less“.

In my review posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book a rating of Four Stars. This means I think it is Good and Well Worth Reading.

Here is my book review.

A great way to simplify a complex idea but it’s expensive for what’s there

The premise is simple…

Your customers are going to give you a few seconds to make the sale. What are you going to say? [continue reading…]

in Best Business Books

Beyond Price by Mary Kay Plantes and Robert D. Finfrock

The full title of this book by Mary Kay Plantes and Robert D. Finfrock is

Beyond Price: Differentiate Your Company in Ways That Really Matter“.

In my review posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book a rating of Four Stars. This means I think it is Good and Well Worth Reading.

Here is my book review.

A leadership approach, for big rather than small businesses

Beyond Price is a book about how to escape harsh price competition by differentiating your business so it was bound to catch my attention.

The problem with reading a book that deals with your own special interest is that you find yourself thinking “I don’t do it like that, it’s wrong.”It isn’t of course, it’s just a different perspective. [continue reading…]

in Best Business Books