A well made product would usually offer more than one benefit. Promise of multiple benefits, however, tend to get lost because they leave in the consumer’s mind a vague and defused imprint. Successful consumer products promise one or at the most two benefit and brand franchises are created around those specific benefits. Thus we he have to opportunity for differentiation of similar products based on benefit positions which have not yet been occupied.
Consumers, Who are similar in important ways, tend to cluster around the same benefits. Other customers would tend to cluster around other benefits. This enables differentiation in the product market and has been documented well as “Benefit Segmentation”.
Russel J. Haley conducted research among toothpaste users in the USA (1963) and divided them into segments, each desiring specific benefit from their brand of toothpaste. He uncovered four such benefits segments and their respective brand choices:
Economy : those who are looking for low-price.
Cosmetic : those who wanted white bright teeth.
Taste : those to whom taste mattered the most.
Medicinal : those were concerned about prevention of decay.
Each benefit seeking group or segment had certain common characteristics – demographic, psychographics, and also behaviouristic.
There is no published account of similar research on the toothpaste market in many countries. But if you judge by their advertising, The benefit positions occupied or sought by major brands would be approximately as follows:
Cosmetic: white, bright, teeth : Close-up
Fresh breadth: Colgate, close up
Decay prevention: crest , Colgate
Gum care: Forhan’s
Tartar control: Crest
As you can see Colgate, the market leader by far, is positioned across the broad brand of benefits.
A new differentiated positioning opportunity can be sought by offering a unique combination of benefits.