Monday, March 22, 2010

MBA: Product Differentiation/Quality

SECA 8 Product Differentiation/Quality Organizations are always mindful of potential future competition from rivals and potential entrants. Provide an assessment of your company's current differentiation (or product quality) strategy.

Why has the company adopted this particular strategy?

I actually was hoping this wouldn’t come up because this is one area where I group is still lacking. As I’ve said before, our group’s strategy revolves around speed to market and cost.

We do rely heavily on our brand (ESPN), which is one of the top three brands in sports. That brand loyalty differentiates our products from our competitors. We also recently outsourced QA. In the Internet world a QA person is rare let alone a group, which is what we have. We hope this will reduce the amount of defects (which are not rare in Internet products) thus further differentiating us from competition.

We differentiate ourselves from the general social networks (Facebook and MySpace) by focusing on a particular part of networking (sports) where Facebook and MySpace don’t have a particularly strong focus. Also, we differentiate from our sports competitors (Sportsline.com, Foxsports, etc) with our integration strategy. Eventually, we will tightly integrate with the rest of ESPN and leverage many existing products.

What is the impact of the strategy on profitability (or organizational sustainability)?

Our group is still too new to determine this strategy’s impact on profitability or organizational sustainability. However, I feel integration is the key in differentiation. We lean very heavily on cost leadership and speed to market, which hinder our ability to build a “better” single product than, say, a start up, which can solely focus on that on product. That said, our road map to bringing all our product offerings into a single product, tightly integrated with the content and data already provided by ESPN would have tremendous positive impacts on both profitability and organization sustainability.
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