Some companies compete worldwide, some nationally, some locally. Think about your market and its boundaries when you assess your competitors. If you have a peek into the workings of your close competitors, you’ll be surprised how many routes there are to contact your customers and close sales. You’ll also uncover some useful marketing strategies and perhaps even some suppliers you can buy from in the future.
Watch your successful competitors to learn how to run a better, more profitable business. They’ll have solved most of the problems you’re facing. They know what your customers want and how to provide it. Your objective in studying them is to learn what they do well and then improve it with your own innovations.
Good business is about standing on the shoulders of giants. Who can you learn from? Whose expertise can you borrow? Who has done the hard graft and the research, so that you can pinch it (in an honest way, obviously) and use it to help your own business thrive?
To find customers and keep them, your product or service must offer advantages over those of your competitors. To deliver a better product or service than others do you must understand that there’s a difference between a product’s features and its advantages.
A product may come in red, green, blue or orange; these are features. A service may be delivered on weekdays, on weekends and on holidays; these are all features too. A feature may have no value at all to a given customer, because just being different doesn’t make a product better. On the other hand, when a feature does have value to a customer it’s because it delivers some advantage to them.
My least favourite phrase in marketing is ‘new and improved’ because that’s impossible. If it’s new, then it’s not improved! I think those marketers need to choose one or the other.