Long term success in any business requires building a sustainable competitive advantage and so all the businesses that set long term goals have it as priority.
If your goal is to gain competitive advantage, you must provide a better overall value to customers than competitors. Making this goal a part of marketing plan will let your startup gain competitive advantage in marketing.
In this article I will discuss step by step process to gain competitive advantage in marketing.
Step 1: Identify the Competitive Advantage:
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To start with, you have to think like a customer; just think back when you last ordered a pizza. There must have been a reason for ordering from that particular restaurant. Maybe it was the taste, the location, the delivery speed, the price or some other value the restaurant offered you. That’s what you call the competitive advantage.
Now, coming back to your business; why do people buy from you? Does it make them feel good? Does it save them money? Does it make them smarter or help them avoid pain? Think of all possible options. Also make a list of why customers buy your competitors. Think about as many competitors and their products and services as you can.
Compare the lists and do your analysis. The unique benefits that you offer are your competitive advantage and this is what you have to highlight more in your campaigns.
Step 2: Prepare Yourself before Setting Sail:
To effectively gain competitive advantage in marketing, you have to keep an eye on what competitors are doing, when they are more active and when not and so on. Your competitors would be spending millions of dollars each year on marketing and to take advantage of this, you need to monitor them.
Make sure to:
- Sign up to their mailing lists to receive timely updates from them.
- Look out for ads they are placing and keep an eye on their website for changes. Use tools to speed up small tasks.
- Check their organic rankings.
- Follow them on Social Media.
Step 3: Be Ready to React:
This is all about acting quickly, and being reactive according to the situation. There’s no specific guide to react faster, but knowing some basic strategies can help you devise your own. Here I am listing a few of them:
- Align products with customer needs; identify the customer groups that can benefit the most from the products and services you offer and target them only.
- Attack new markets; be the “first to market” where your competitors have not thought about yet.
- Target the unhappy customers of your competitors.
- Clearly express your competitive advantage to their audience. Do outsmart your competitors in ads positioning if you have a powerful message!
- Expand distribution channels by hiring affiliates. Offer them commission better than the competitors, i.e. give them a reason to sell your product and not the competitors’.
- Sign strategic partnerships.
- Emphasize more on better customer service.
Depending upon the industry, market scenario and consumer trends, you may find more options to gain competitive advantage in marketing but the above discussed basic steps will surely help you despite new competitors entering the market or existing competitors improving their own products or services.