Something crucial to remember when creating a marketing plan is anticipating your competitor’s strategy. You could be doing everything right: providing the best goods with the best services and prices, and yet your competitor could be outshining your business. It’s because they are doing one other major thing right, which is properly advertising. Being the best at what you do is key in gaining a reliable reputation, but it means nothing if no one knows about it. Having knowledge of what advertising techniques similar businesses are using will help you be a step ahead of them, and possibly allow you to use their marketing to benefit your own. Below is a playful example of how you take your competition’s marketing and advertising and spin it to positively effect your business:
A retailer was dismayed when a competitor selling the same type of product opened next-door to him, displaying a large sign proclaiming “Best Deals”.
Not long after he was horrified to find yet another competitor move in next-door, on the other side if his store. Its large sign was even more disturbing- “Lowest Prices”.
After his initial panic, and concern that he would be driven out of business, he looked for a way to turn the situation to his marketing advantage. Finally, an idea came to him. Next day, he proudly unveiled a new and huge sign over his front door. It read, “Main Entrance”!
Although this is a great example of competitive marketing, there are other steps that should be taken before you throw up a sign. First, objectively analyzing your own business and all it entails: the goods, service, prices and/or whatever else you are offering to consumers, and compare yourself to the competitors. Before you start advertising ‘the best’ of something, make sure you can back it up, and be prepared to explain why what you’re offering is the better choice.
It is also necessary to understand who your target audience is, and make sure you are gearing your advertising to how they would want to receive it. Different ethnicities, cultures, genders and ages all respond to things in different ways, so it is important to speak to your key demographic(s). Other tools would be to note what your competitors did during peak and low sale periods, and use their triumphs and failures as guides. Another extremely important tactic is pushing through when the market is bad in order to maintain your business’ credibility. Staying afloat during hard economic times builds Brand assurance, and you’ll gain more exposure while your competitors sink. In addition, taking advantage of new and changing advertising methods will benefit your business. You don’t have to fear social media, phone applications, and advanced websites because they are extremely useful marketing tools. They not only expose your business, but they gain validity with consumers regardless of the product or generation. If your product is a cutting edge gadget, then an advanced Facebook page will speak to your technology savvy customer. If you are an established company with more of a traditional product or service, then a user friendly Website can be creatively designed to help portray your business as distinguished while maintaining its values.
Every business will have a competitor at some point. Whether you are the number 1 in your field and you are looking to maintain your current status, or you are lost in the mix and want recognition in the industry, competitive marketing and advertising can make the difference between the two levels of success. Like the retailer did in the joke, know your competition, look for a way to turn the situation around and don’t be afraid to ‘put up the sign’.