A successful business follows one core marketing concept: "Find a need and fulfill it." However, there may be many players offering similar services and products in your field. This is where having a competitive advantage can lead you to the top.
To be in the top 10% of your field, you need more than just a competitive advantage. You must also communicate that advantage loud and clear through everything you do.
Competitive advantage is defined as "a superiority gained by an organization when it can provide the same value as its competitors but at a lower price, or can charge higher prices by providing greater value through differentiation. Competitive advantage results from matching core competencies to opportunities."
In other words, when you create a competitive advantage for your business, you can win either by charging less than your competitors through improved efficiencies or by charging higher prices than others because of the added value you provide.
In 1985, Michael Porter, a Harvard Business School professor, wrote the definitive guide called Competitive Advantage. In his book, Porter defined three ways companies can have a competitive advantage:
Where does your business fit in these models?
If you haven't defined your competitive advantage or aren't clear what it could be, first answer these questions to help refine your search.
Once you've completed these steps, the research phase is done. Now you must analyze your findings in order to discover where your products and services can realize a competitive advantage. The answer may not appear right away, so you must continue to revisit the process until it becomes clear.
Once you've found your competitive advantage in the marketplace, it's time to communicate that advantage in every marketing piece and everything you do until it becomes a part of the DNA and culture of your company.
One of the most effective ways to keep a competitive edge is to think like a prospective customer and compare your business frequently to your competition. What does your competitor offer that your business does not?
While it's helpful to stay informed of what your competition is doing, you should avoid copying their ideas. Rather, if you see a good idea that you'd like to implement, find a way to add more value and make it an even better idea. For example, if your competitor offers free shipping on purchases of $100, you could provide free shipping on all purchases and possibly even returns, which removes potential risk when placing an order.
If your competition sells a comparable product, an easy way to add extra value to your business is through service. Whether you have longer business or customer support hours, free shipping, a better warranty, free training, or live phone operators (no automated phone service), it's often these types of value-ads that really stand out when customers compare businesses.
Another great way to gain customer perspective is with a customer survey or questionnaire. Ask your audience how you can improve, what new offerings they wish you provided, and what they like best about your company. Their answers could easily point to innovative ideas that will give you a competitive advantage.
As more businesses and marketers have turned to email marketing, it is fair to wonder if direct mail marketing still works as effectively as it once did.
Email marketing is a good way to stay in touch with customers and prospects. Just like social media marketing, it has its place in the marketing mix. However, a downside to the massive increase in marketing emails is that only an estimated 19% are even being opened (according to the Direct Marketing Association).
Direct mail marketing still works, and it works very well. However, marketers cannot just create any type of campaign and expect it to be successful. Here are some tips and suggestions from the pros:
Head to the link below to learn more information from the Small Business Administration (SBA). Then start setting up your next direct mail print campaign today! 3 "Old School" Marketing Tactics that Still Matter
We've all been there... You're at a Chamber of Commerce networking meeting or a neighborhood party and meet a new person. Relatively quickly the conversation turns to what you do for a living. You respond, "I'm a (fill in your profession here)." Your new friend tries really hard to express interest and not have their eyes glaze over while discreetly scanning the room to see if they can find somebody more interesting to move on to. Ouch! How do you change from boring to being memorable?
Step One: Your listener is expecting you to say that you do this or that. Instead, learn how to explain what you do wrapped in a story or an example. Think about how you solved a customer problem with a solution you provided. Make it short, concise, and easy to remember. Your goal here is to quickly and clearly state a common problem (the antagonist) that your service or solution solves in the form of a story. Obviously, if you can weave in a little drama and excitement, your story will have more impact and become memorable. You want your listener to imagine themselves being in the circumstance you describe. The next part should be about how you and your company (the hero) came to the rescue and wiped away the problem. You want your listener to be able to easily remember this story, so they can connect you with the story and tell anyone else they meet what solution you provide because they remember your story. You could stop here and be head and shoulders above most of your competitors, but why stop when you can really amp this up?