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Differentiated Marketing

May 13, 2021

As competition grows stronger and stronger, brands are always looking to reach more and more people. Differentiated marketing is a strategy that can help brands reach a wider audience. In this article we will discuss differentiated marketing, the difference between positioning and differentiation, the advantage and disadvantages of differentiated marketing, and an example of differentiated marketing strategy.

What is Differentiated Marketing?

Grow your business with differentiated marketing strategy

Differentiated marketing is a strategy that involves creating marketing campaigns that are targeted at two or more customer profiles or market segments. The primary goals behind differentiated marketing campaigns are to reach a wider audience, increase brand awareness, and increase sales. 

One of the first steps when marketing campaigns are being drafted is to determine who your target market is. Marketers create target profiles for the various demographics and psychographics their target customers fall into. Oftentimes more than one customer profile is created. The different customer profiles can be conflicting, meaning one marketing campaign might expertly cater to one profile but not another.

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Differentiated marketing means the campaigns are specifically designed to expertly target more two or more of these customer profiles simultaneously. 

What is the Difference Between Positioning and Differentiation?

Positioning and differentiation are intertwining concepts that go hand-in-hand, but there is a difference between the two marketing terms. Let’s explore the difference between positioning and differentiation to better understand how they can help your differentiated marketing campaigns. 

What is Positioning?

Positioning requires marketers to determine the niche or position they would like their product to occupy in the market relative to its competitors. Positioning establishes the place marketers would like their product to hold in the minds of their target audience. Value propositions are targeted to address the pain points of a specific customer base. 

What is Differentiation?

Differentiation refers to the way marketers make their product stand out against their competition. It details how their product provides value that is unique to the competition. 

When customers are choosing between two similar products in the same category, the differentiation of each product helps the customer determine which they would like to buy and why. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Differentiated Marketing

two marketers discussing strategy to grow their marketing efforts

With any marketing strategy there are going to be advantages and disadvantages. Differentiated marketing is no exception. To give you a well-rounded view of the concept, let’s explore some of the advantages and disadvantages of differentiated marketing. 

Advantages of Differentiated Marketing

One of the main advantages of differentiated marketing and the reason it can be so appealing is that it helps brands reach a wider audience. Your brand is reaching more people because you’re targeting more than one audience. It’s also reaching a more varied audience. This is one of the driving factors behind another advantage of differentiated marketing: it increases revenue.

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Another advantage of differentiated marketing is that it really lets brands test the market, how their customers perceive them, and who their competitors are. Testing multiple audiences really lets you get to know who your customers are, what they think of your brand, and the other products and services they are buying instead of yours. This is invaluable information for future marketing campaigns. 

Disadvantages of Differentiated Marketing

One of the disadvantages of differentiated marketing is that it can be costly. Targeting two or more market segments is more expensive than only targeting one market segment. You’re spending more on ads and social media promotions. You’re also spending more time to create and cater to these different market segments. But the idea is to design differentiated marketing campaigns to increase sales, therefore covering the added costs. 

Another disadvantage of differentiated marketing campaigns is that different target audiences may respond differently to your efforts. One of your target audiences might respond positively, resulting in an increase in sales, while your other target audience might respond negatively and not make any purchases. 

Differentiated Marketing Strategy Example

Let’s explore an example of how brands use differentiated marketing. In order to start gaining market share from Apple, Microsoft was going to have to appeal to a wide audience when marketing their new Surface tablet. 

Differentiated marketing is a strategy that is useful when trying to gain market share from a competitor because it helps you appeal to a larger audience. Microsoft’s commercials featured college students, children in school, families, and business professionals all happily using the tablet to satisfy their individual needs. 

They also placed the product on several celebrities and thought leaders from NFL team staff on the sidelines to detectives on popular tv shows. Their Surface tablet is just one product but they marketed it to appeal to multiple audiences who could all find this product useful. This example of the differentiated marketing strategy shows how to use it to gain market share from your competitor. 


Differentiated marketing is a strategy where two or more market segments are targeted in a brand’s marketing campaign. Differentiated marketing campaigns strive to increase brand awareness, reach a wider audience, and increase sales. When creating a marketing campaign, brands first must determine their target customer profiles. Using the differentiated marketing strategy means marketing campaigns target two or more of these customer profiles. 

Positioning involves determining the niche a product or service is going to occupy in the market compared to its competitors. Brands use positioning to establish the place they want their product to occupy in the minds of the target audiences. Differentiation is the way brands market their product or service to stand out against their competitors. Brands use differentiation to help their customers pick their product over a competitor by addressing specific pain points. 

A couple advantages of differentiated marketing include helping brands reach a wider audience, increasing revenue, and collecting data on how customers perceive them. Some of the disadvantages of differentiated marketing are that it can be expensive and that different target audiences might respond differently to your campaign. 

An example of a brand using the differentiated marketing strategy was when Microsoft marketed their Surface tablet against Apple’s tablet. They targeted more than one audience, including college students, business professionals, and families in order to help them gain market share from Apple. In what ways do you see your favorite brands using differentiated marketing?

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