Your company does not exist in a vacuum. It is part of the larger market in which your customer has many options. If someone is searching for your products or services, even if they are referred to you, you can bet they will look at other companies in your space too.
So, the question for today is, how well do you know your competitors?
Most of us know in general who our competitors are and what products and services they offer. But too often we don’t know much more than that or if we do know we may not be using the information as effectively as we could to improve sales, marketing and customer service operations.
This is where a new focus on competitors called competitive marketing that can help. When you focus more specifically and directly on what your competitors are doing and how well they are doing it, you gain the competitive advantage.
Done well, competitive marketing means you can almost predict what your competitors are going to do next.
A strong competitive marketing plan includes these ten elements:
- Competitor name and general background information
- Corporate team background
- Products and services
- Market strength and presence
- Branding/message/customer focus
- Customer loyalty index
- Product trends and directions
- Lead sources/win-loss analysis
- SWOT: Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
If this sounds a lot like competitive research or analysis, you’re right. The difference between competitive analysis and competitive marketing is what you do with what you know.
Competitive research gathers the data, competitive analysis draws conclusions and provides recommendations, competitive marketing turns that information into direct action. Actions that result in your company’s ability to:
- Win more sales deals
- Arm internal customer champions with competitive facts
- Give customer confidence in their choice of product/service
- Train new sales reps
- Provided a better customer experience
- Improve strategic planning
- Accelerate new product development
Competitive marketing is an important new tool that manufacturers can use to leverage their company strengths and protect against their weaknesses. To know your competitors is to beat them at their own game.
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About the Author
Clare Price is President of CFP MediaGroup, LLC. She is passionate about helping manufacturers increase sales and revenue through effective marketing strategies and programs that deliver measurable ROI. As a marketing strategist, competitive analyst and Growth Architect she can help your company develop the plans, programs and systems that will “right-size” your growth; delivering sustainable long term growth that is right for your company, products and team.