Okay, the marketing train is leaving the station and luckily you are just in time- now show me your ticket. Where are we going? We are going today to visit all of your competition, and learn how to DOMINATE them.
First let's clear your conscience. Your competitor wants you out of business. You ensure they can only afford the above-ground pool, have to buy mulch by the yard, and can only afford to go to Europe once this year. I go to Europe twice every year, my pool is heated and I don't lay my own mulch because I watch my competitors and exploit their weaknesses.
This economy has created more empty store-fronts than Camden, NJ, and has bankrupted more CEO's than Communism. The "GOING OUT OF BUSINESS" sign is always in stock, and you can decide whether you will be displaying it, or the other guy/girl (political correctness always kills my concision).
So let's get started measuring your own competition, and exploiting their weaknesses:
1 - Get a map and figure a reasonable radius with regard to how far people will travel to buy from you. If you are an online business, buy a globe; if you sell candy, make it about a 10-15 minute travel distance.
Either way, you want to forecast every possible competitor your customer has reasonable access to. Mark them on your map.
2 - Now you want to study their prices, products/services, promotions and the market that they are trying to reach. Our one client's competitor markets to everybody looking for his product, so we stole the child market niche from him and left him with the adults. After all, children made up over 78% of the market he was trying to reach, so we were glad to cease advertising to his itty bitty 22%. If you market to people- people don't listen, if you market to 45-year- old unemployed stockbrokers who need to revise their life insurance, than those people will listen.
Your market is a large pizza with several different toppings. Select slices with toppings that make up the largest percentage of the pie, and you will have the fullest stomach- and wallet.
3 - Do the opposite of your #1 competitor.
That is unless you have the dominant market share, in which case keep up the good work. The competitor of the client I mentioned above was using a really sleek marketing-friendly website to attract new prospects. We went the other direction and gave his website more of a mom and pop feel which is essentially online marketing contrarianism. Now, customers uncomfortable with the competitor's format would come to us.
After all, if you do that same as the person with the #1 market share, why would they come to a lesser known brand unless it was different?
Charles Schwab didn't open the first brokerage firm, he opened the first discount brokerage firm. Listerine said your mouth will "smell like a hospital", Scope said they were a "good-tasting mouthwash." The point is to attract people that want an alternative to the #1 dog. Be a cat, but don't lay around all day because only the cast of the Jersey Shore can market that.
Don't compete — DOMINATE.
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Matt Steffen was Listed by Forbes as the #1 Marketing Consultant Who Avoids the B.S.