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Using Positioning as a Differentiator When Competitors Have the Same Features

Learn why and how positioning can be the key element that distinguishes your product from its competitors. See examples of this in practice with companies like Discord, Slack, and Microsoft Teams.

2 min
March 16, 2023
Robert Kaminski
Senior Product Strategist

It can be challenging for companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors. 

Especially when competitors have the same features.

This is where positioning is powerful.

To clarify how you can do this with your product, let's walk through some examples of companies you are familiar with in a very competitive space.

Examples of this in practice

Slack, Discord, and Microsoft Teams do very similar things but position themselves differently.

Despite all three having similar features such as threads, reactions, channels, and video chat, they each have a distinct identity and value proposition that sets them apart from one another.

Let’s walk through these examples together.

visual matrix showing how popular tech companies use positioning as a differentiator

Slack positioning

Target ICPs

They target growing enterprises and startups, messaging the best user experience 

Alternatives

Email, Teams, Skype

Problem

Clunky, poor UI and boring

Benefits

Allows teams to work faster and more flexibly than ever before

Discord positioning

Target ICPs

Targets younger creative groups and gamers, messaging fun and ease of use 

Alternatives

iMessage, in-game chat 

Problem

High latency and not cross-platform

Benefits

Provides easy way to talk and hang out more often

Microsoft Teams positioning

Target ICPs

With its existing products and large user base, has an advantage over startups. Teams targets existing Office365 users, messaging a more complete experience. 

Alternatives

Email, Slack, Skype, iMessage

Problem

Not connected with Office365 accounts

Benefits

Improves Office365 workflows

The takeaway? 

For early-stage startups, being very specific in who you target is the only path to carve out a unique spot in the market.

If you're curious to learn more about positioning frameworks or want to chat on this topic, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.

Join the discussion

I shared this topic on LinkedIn and 100+ product marketers have shared their thoughts with me here.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this!

Get help with your product positioning

Have a great product but struggle to clearly explain it on your homepage?

Anthony Pierri and I help early-stage startups with this exact problem.

Let us help you get a clear and compelling homepage message without burning your runway.

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