Choose to Be Different

A competitor is simply someone (company or business in this case) who competes with you by having a similar business model, product or service that they offer. Many companies offer the similar products or services, but not every company chooses to market, promote or run their businesses the same way.

In this piece I will discuss what it means to be competitive, how to stand out, getting back to basics, all about researching your competitors and delivering market differentiation that will put you above them.

Be Competitive

When I think of competition, I think of my athletic days in high school and college. I think about the two a day workouts, the extra practices and the many hours I had to put in to be better than those I was competing against. Your business model shouldn’t be any different. It takes hard work and initiative to be better than your competitors.

  • Take calculated risks
  • Don’t be afraid to be different
  • Take what your competitors are doing and do it better

Make Sure to Stand Out

If there are 10 workout clothing companies all selling to the same top markets, you need to decide how you can stand out among those 9 other companies. Look at ways a little outside the box to help market yourself. Think about trade-shows, running events, sports competitions and gyms. You want to make sure your clothing is everyplace your competitor is and those places they haven’t thought of yet. Once you have the areas you’ll market in, make sure your product or service has something your competitors don’t as well.

Areas to Focus On May Include:

  • Packaging: Find a unique way to package your product that will stand out among your competitors.
  • Details: Look at all the details of your product or service, is there something you can add to it that your competitor hasn’t yet thought of. Take for instance the little pockets now in most workout clothes for your iPod or phone. You want to think of those details from a customer’s perspective and add something that may put you above the rest.
  • Marketing: Create a unique campaign. Not saying this is a good one or not, but look at the new Old Spice Campaign/Commercial. It is definitely unique and definitely makes them stand out among their competitors Think about how you can create a marketing campaign that is different – maybe not as creepy as this one though.
  • Create a Unique Selling Proposition (USP): Finding your USP takes time and a great deal of introspect, but it can be done. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just something to differentiate yourself from them. Something as simple as offering a coupon with your product or a $10 iPod gift card, etc.

Do the Basics Well

Not many companies do the basics well anymore, once they expand they tend to forget about what is was that got them where they are today. I am not ignorant to think that the days of a hand shake to make a deal are still here, but I do believe those basic qualities and morals would be nice to focus on once in a while.

Get Back to Basics to Ensure a Long and Prosperous Future:

  1. Great Customer Service – there is nothing more frustrating than waiting on the phone for a miserable length of time to then reach someone who you can’t even understand or to only be transferred over and over again with no results. The companies that invest in quality customer service and call centers will be the ones that last. A company is nothing if they don’t have good customer service.
  2. Quality Products: this one is simple, if you want repeat customers and customers who spread encourage others to by then you better have quality products that last.
  3. Honesty: integrity and honesty are qualities that people look in when they are about to make a purchase. With all the technological advances we have today, you will want to be sure you are being honest to your customers and employees or word will get out on some sort of social media.
  4. Strong mission Statement: a mission statement highlights your goals, beliefs, benefits and features all in a minimal amount of words. A company’s mission statement can truly set them apart from their competitors. Mission statements can change as companies evolve so if yours is lacking, don’t be afraid to update it to something worth sharing.
  5. Hold on to Your Brand: it is important for you to protect your brand in order to stay ahead of your competitors. In order to protect your brand you should invest in some sort of reputation management process. To learn more about reputation management, click here.

Do Your Research

I couldn’t skip over the fact that research is a must when trying to out show your competitors. A Competitive Analysis is an assessment of your current or future competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.

Back to my sports analogy; a competitive analysis provides you with an offense and defense advantage over your competitor. It is like a playbook, giving you ways to beat your competitors. Take the time to complete your competitive analysis properly. Once you have the tools, you can come up with a plan to deliver.

New Ideas and Strategies

There are always new marketing ideas and strategies to try, especially with the amount of technology that we have on our hands. Conduct the proper research within and with your competitors to find out which of those new ideas are right for you.

Some say posting videos online is the way to go, in fact 90% of internet content is video, 50% of mobile wireless traffic is video and there are 1 billion unique visitors to YouTube daily. It is also known that audiences retain 50% more from video content (Point Of View Media).

This is only one example of doing your research on an idea and see if it is something that will work for your business and if it is something your competitor as yet to make the most of its capability. Use this example to research and find your own unique idea.

Final Thoughts

Invest time for optimal results – take the time to research customer feedback, study your ROI, and discover new best practices by connecting with your prospects and clients online.

The mistakes that your competitors are making and the ones you want to capitalize on are the fact they aren’t investing enough time in collecting data and other purchasing information to know and recognize their true value proposition. Know that there are always to get ahead of your competitors if you are willing to put in the time and effort to be competitive, do the basics well and research where it matters.

“Nothing worth having comes easy.” – Author Unknown