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4.9 Versioning Strategies
There is no superset of features that can be used for product and service differentiation because demand is subject to the development of new technologies, changing wants, the social context, culture mores, and the fickleness of fashion. Here is a subset of the attributes of products and services that can be modified:
- Focus on the uniqueness of the product or service.
- Have a version that is simpler and easier to use than other products or services.
- Introduce a product or service that uses new emerging technology.
- Design a more attractive product and frequently refresh the product.
- Use creative and attractive packaging and labeling and continuously refresh the packing.
- Increase or decrease the size and weight of the product.
- Differentiate the product by performance, including speed and capacity.
- Offer different levels of convenience. Offer convenience that is not available in the marketplace.
- Product or service is available quickly and price-differentiated by availability.
- Use packaging and labeling that are unique and up-to-date.
- Offer products and services that are more reliable and durable than competitors.
- Have better customer support and warranties than the competition. Differentiate your products by the length of the warranty and the level of customer support.
- Increasing the cool factor, prestige, and elitism related to the product or service.
- Focus on how the product improves health and personal attractiveness.
- Focus on how the product or service improves some form of intelligence such as reasoning, verbal abilities, analytical skills, social adaptation, and emotional adaptation.
- Focus on how the product improves physical abilities and the ability to compete in sports.
- Illustrate how the product improves the children and family in some way so as to differentiate them from the masses.
- Focus on how the product or service facilitates connectivity and communication and social networking.
- Improve the brand through marketing and promotion efforts.
- Modify the price.
As you can see from the above list, and from the chapter, there are numerous strategies for versioning. Some of them require significant product and development and research and development (R&D), and others require modest investments and change in a product or service. Some of them require repositioning of the product through marketing and promotion efforts. The FAD (features, attributes, and design) template, which is introduced in Chapter 7 "Conceptualizing Products/Services Using FAD", is very useful for identifying features and attributes that can be used to version products and services for Midas, Atlas, and Hermes customers.