This is the second in a three-part series on Strategic Secret Weapons – three critical steps that are often overlooked but pack a massive punch. Our first article focused on the power of consumer insights and how valuable this information can be to brands. Next up – the competition.
Part Two – Competitive Analysis
Brands seem to fall into two categories when it comes to the competition: “ignorance is bliss” or “analysis paralysis.” Meaning, they either ignore the competition or they overly focus on them. Taking a more intentional approach to the competition yields greater results, often with less work.
- Focus only on your top competitors – Too often, competitive analysis becomes an audit and not an action plan. It’s hard enough to manage your own marketing plan, much less that of 12 competitors! Pick one or two brands that are serious threats to your customer relationships or that are ripe for you to move in and pick up market share. And if you are surveying and analyzing your customers (see part one), they have likely told you who your biggest threats are!
- Study the “Four Ps” – Analyze your competition based on the classic Four Ps of marketing: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Somewhere in there is the opportunity. Does your product or service have a unique advantage over other competitors that you can exploit? Is there a significant pricing gap that you need to address? Do you have a distribution problem where you aren’t visible or available? Is there a marketing strategy you could put in place that would allow you to market smarter not harder? Pick two to three opportunities you are going to focus on this year to chip away at (or keep at bay) your top competition.
- Take calculated risks – We aren’t saying put your business at risk, but do think outside of the box. Be a little disruptive. What if your sale started earlier then it typically does? What if you added an incentive to your clients when they signed a contract? What if you created a strategic alliance with a partner that improved your perception and awareness?
Interesting that both Sun Tzu, a Chinese military strategist, and Michael Corleone of The Godfather are both credited with this sage bit of business advice: “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” There is strength in knowing your target AND your competition.
Up next…. In our next chapter, we will tackle the last strategic secret weapon: Crafting your Brand Story.