Don’t forget about marketing, positioning and acquisition of customers as a key part in your differentiation strategy.
It’s easy for Product Managers to solely focus on the bits and bytes of how the product works once someone’s in it, but if you cannot acquire or entice new customers - you need to move your differentiation focus further up the funnel.
Is your product too hard to set up or use? Does it take a long time for users to see value in your product?
It’s key to partner with sales, product marketing, support and solution engineering to get the full picture here.
I'll keep this one rather brief.
I find that some product managers do not always listen to their customers and their problems as the guiding light for improving and differentiating their products. Instead, they fall in love with a shiny new piece of technology that may not be solving a critical problem.
Sustainable Competitive Advantage.
1. Product attributes are insufficient and can be replicated by competitors with enough investment and determination
2. Pricing models and all their nuances can be undercut. Customers' willingness to pay may be negated by the next recession or evaporate when a new shinier, cooler competitor product arrives
3. Human capital, though harder to build up and retain, can still be hired away from you. Everybody has a price.
So, what makes for sustainable competitive advantage? Leveraging economics of scale but more so economies of scope, driving flywheel type effects (positive network externalities), preferred access to resources or markets, etc