The Nature of the Focused Differentiation Strategy
Focused differentiation is the second of two focus strategies. A focused differentiation strategy requires offering unique features that fulfill the demands of a narrow market (Table 5.7 “Focused Differentiation”). As with a focused low-cost strategy, narrow markets are defined in different ways in different settings. Some firms using a focused differentiation strategy concentrate their efforts on a particular sales channel, such as selling over the Internet only. Others target particular demographic groups. One example is Breezes Resorts, a company that caters to couples without children. The firm operates seven tropical resorts where vacationers are guaranteed that they will not be annoyed by loud and disruptive children.
While a differentiation strategy involves offering unique features that appeal to a variety of customers, the need to satisfy the desires of a narrow market means that the pursuit of uniqueness is often taken to the proverbial “next level” by firms using a focused differentiation strategy. Thus the unique features provided by firms following a focused differentiation strategy are often specialized.
Table 5.7 Focused Differentiation Firms that compete based on uniqueness and target a narrow market are following a focused differentiations
strategy. Several examples of firms pursuing a focused differentiation strategy are illustrated below.
Whole Foods Market focuses on selling natural and organic products. The supermarket’s reputation for high prices has led to a wry nickname — “Whole Paycheck” — but a sizable number of consumers are willing to pay a premium in order to feel better about the food they are buying. After all, you are what you eat!