Differentiated Marketing: The Definitive Guide (Top Brand Examples)

The most loved brands in the world nurture intimate connections with their audiences.

They speak directly to their market is a way that makes them feel they’re speaking directly to them.

But on such a grand scale across such broad markets, how can they be so relevant?

The answer is differentiated marketing.

In this article, you’ll learn how great brands leverage this strategy to grow brand equity, intimacy, and market share.

The most loved brands in the world nurture intimate connections with their audiences.

They speak directly to their market is a way that makes them feel they’re speaking directly to them.

But on such a grand scale across such broad markets, how can they be so relevant?

The answer is differentiated marketing.

In this article, you’ll learn how great brands leverage this strategy to grow brand equity, intimacy, and market share.

What Is Differentiated Marketing? (Nike Strategy Example)

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What Is Differentiated Marketing?

Differentiated marketing is a strategy used by brands to appeal to multiple segments of their target market.

It provides brands with a means to be more relevant and expand their reach and market share while remaining consistent with their brand positioning and messaging.

They do this by tailoring specific offers and messaging to specific segments of the market while staying “on-brand” and in-line with the longer term brand strategy.

There are many ways a brand can differentiate from their competitors and this is where strategy comes in.

There is no one size fits all approach and there are countless ways a brand can engage it’s audience and achieve its objectives.

Every industry and market is different which is brand strategists must define then analyse the market and define the best approach for each circumstance.

Pros and Cons Of Differentiated Marketing

Differentiated marketing is simply a tool brands can use to get in front of their audience and like most tools, there are advantages and disadvantages to consider.

ADVANTAGES

Be more relevant to specific segments

Be more specific to market needs

Flexibility to test different segments

Expanded reach and revenue

Increased market share

DISADVANTAGES

Increased research & development costs

Increased marketing and management costs

Inconsistent results 

Risk of customer response

Risk of diluting brand equity

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Differentiated vs Undifferentiated Marketing

Differentiated marketing is about refining offers and marketing messages to be more relevant to a more specified segment of their target audience.

Undifferentiated marketing takes the opposite approach in that there is not differentiation across market segments, offers or messaging.

Essentially undifferentiated marketing approaches all market segments in the same way which is otherwise known as mass marketing.

Examples Of Differentiated Marketing Strategy

One of the best brand examples to illustrated differentiated marketing in action is Nike.

Nike is a sports and lifestyle brand that create a variety of products and offers for many different market segments. For each segment, their differentiated marketing strategy allows them to be more relevant to each market segment yet each campaign fall in-line with the overarching strategy of the brand.

Nike Differentiated Marketing Example

For example, Nike will run campaigns that provide specific products and messaging to track and field enthusiasts that will be more relevant to their passion for running.

They can speak directly to their desires, fears, challenges and goals to appeal more directly and be more relevant.

Likewise they’ll run campaigns that will have seperate targeting for football enthusiasts as an example.

These campaigns will again, be more relevant and consider the athletes, environments, passions and desires of football enthusiasts which are often completely different to those of other market segments.

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How To Create A Differentiated Marketing Strategy

Developing a differentiated marketing strategy is all about specificity.

Each market segment is different and the strategy needs to consider not only what the want and need, but what messaging will resonate with them and where they’re most likely to congregate so the campaign can reach them.

Here is a process you can follow to define yours.

Step 1: Define Your Audience Segments

Every brand has a target market they want to appeal to yet within that market there may be multiple market segments which each represent a more specific group of people.

To create an effective differentiated marketing strategy you need to get clear on the market segments that exist and the market segments you want to target.

For example, within the sports shoe market, you’ll find a track and field segment yet you’ll also find the tennis segment which you may or may not want to target.

Step 2: Understand Each Market

Once you’ve dissected your market into the segments you want to target, it’s time to drill down into each segment to get to know them better.

The more you know about each market segment, the more relevant and relatable you can be with your differentiated marketing campaigns. 

For each segment you should understand their

Circumstances

Behaviours

Beliefs

Passions

Fears

Desires

Hopes 

Dreams

Step 3: Create Unique Offers For Each

It is possible to create a differentiated marketing strategy for different