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The Strongest Differentiator – A Different Point of View

by Hank Barnes  |  February 20, 2018  |  Submit a Comment

When looking for differentiation, I continue to see clients looking at their product features or service capabilities as their primary source of differentiation.   While in some cases, product can be a differentiator, that is seldom sustainable–as features always seem to get copied.  Similarly, service capabilities often come across as claims that everyone makes.

But what is the alternative.

This week I spoke with a few firms that have what I believe is the strongest form of differentiator–a different point of view.  I’ve blogged about this before (and it echoes the work of Ken Rutsky) but now is a good time to revisit it.



A unique point of view is difficult to copy (first mover to the point of view is critical).  And, it establishes a new way of thinking about a problem or opportunity.   Your features and capabilities matter, but they become proof points to reinforce the value of your new perspective.

Let me give you an example.  There is a firm that is in the outsourced contact center business.  Not a whole lot exciting there.  But when you think about that market, the reason for outsourcing is almost always about cost and efficiency.  Despite service and experience mattering, the overwhelming focus is minimizing cost.  The rest is gravy.

But what about a high growth business–like unicorns.   The customer experience is critical to their ability to grow.   And customer contact is mission critical.   Imagine a different type of outsourcer–one whose point of view is you outsource with different priorities.  The top priority is to accelerate growth and deliver great experiences.  Cost matters, but it is a secondary  concern.

That is the perspective the firm I spoke with brings to the market.  It carries with it some other interesting elements.  The vast majority of their interactions are digital, rather than voice–inverting the traditional metrics of the industry.   They welcome clients who can’t predict the scale they will need due to their hypergrowth mode.   They analyze their efforts to suggest other innovations that can help their clients accelerate growth.  And oh yeah, as a byproduct (particularly of the inverted interaction metrics) they can drive efficiency and cost savings.

Its a strong story, but the differentiator is all in a different point of view about outsourcing—targeting a customer base with different objectives, approaching it with a different philosophy, and totally throwing traditional metrics out the window.

The beauty of it is they can target their perfect customer and still find others that aspire to those goals.

Can you frame your story around a different point of view that rethinks traditional approaches, models, and metrics?   It could be the thing that makes you stand out more clearly in the crowd.


Category: go-to-market  

Tags: differentiation  messaging  point-of-view  positioning  viewpoint  

Hank Barnes
VP Distinguished Analyst
5+ years at Gartner
30 years IT Industry

Hank Barnes provides research and advisory services on go-to-market strategies for technology providers. He focuses on issues related to positioning, storytelling, the technology customer life cycle, and customer experience. Read Full Bio

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