Back to Your Feed

How do you balance investing in competitive differentiation with building for customer retention?

2 Answers
Sandeep Rajan
Sandeep Rajan
Patreon Product Lead, Member ExperienceFebruary 22

I generally don't believe in investing in differentiation for differentiation's sake – if the feature doesn't solve a core customer need then I'd have a hard time prioritizing it over a feature that does simply for the purpose of checking a box on a table unless there's a strong belief (preferably: clear evidence) that it will drive a purchasing decision, and that is the right priority for the business at the time.

That said, the place where I could see this being a key driver of strategy is if you're looking to enter a new market or serve a new segment. In this case, differentiators may help test & validate a new unmet need, allowing you to move more quickly to establish a winning position in an adjacent market. 

643 Views
Melissa Ushakov
Melissa Ushakov
GitLab Group Manager, Product ManagementAugust 31

When building a product strategy, you want to focus on identifying your target users and creating a plan to solve their biggest problems. You'll consider your product's unfair advantage and how you can lean into it. Many times, we, as product practitioners, overemphasize the need to differentiate. Don't get me wrong, you do need to have a clear why a user would choose you over your competitors, but it's okay to have boring solutions for the problems that are not core to your strategy. Let your users guide you to the problems that are worth spending the time and effort thinking of new and interesting ways to solve.

417 Views
Top Product Management Mentors
Sheila Hara
Sheila Hara
Barracuda Sr. Director, Product Management
Chris Omland
Chris Omland
Workiva Vice President Of Product Management
Natalia Baryshnikova
Natalia Baryshnikova
Atlassian Head of Product, Enterprise Agility
Anton Kravchenko
Anton Kravchenko
Carta Sr. Director of Product Management
Omar Eduardo Fernández
Omar Eduardo Fernández
GitLab Director of Product Management
Jacqueline Porter
Jacqueline Porter
GitLab Director of Product Management
Ashka Vakil
Ashka Vakil
strongDM Sr. Director, Product Management
Rupali Jain
Rupali Jain
Optimizely Chief Product Officer
Julian Dunn
Julian Dunn
GitHub Senior Director of Product Management
Devika Nair
Devika Nair
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Director of Product Management