Determining your marketing advantage
The best way to take leaps forward in your market, and surpass your competition is to know what you are good at and capitalize on it. In other words, figure out your marketing advantage, unique attributes, etc. and then use them to take advantage of the opportunities present in your market. Of course, to be able to do this, you have to determine what your advantages are. The following is a look at how to determine your marketing advantage over your competition.
Your advantage can typically be fit into one of five categories:product, pricing, promotion, distribution, and service. If you excel in one of these areas, you know what you should be focusing on for your marketing campaign. Of course, to determine your competitive advantages you have to first identify your strengths, and then identify your competition's weaknesses. If you can line them up to match (in other words, if you provide low prices, and the competition's biggest weakness is price), then you have your marketing advantage, and should figure out a way to capitalize on it. Let's take a closer look at where an advantage is typically found:
- Cost: The idea here is to provide the same level of quality or better for a lower price. So, ask yourself, "Can I be a low-cost producer that sells equivalent or better goods or services in the marketplace for less money to the consumer?" If you answer "no", or can't definitively answer "yes" then this is not your marketing advantage. However, cost matters, so it is an area you should work on.
- Differentiation: What makes you stand out? How can you distinguish your product in the marketplace? Is there anything about your product or service that really makes it great?
- Innovation: Industry leaders often have innovative products, services, or ways of doing business, that eventually change the industry. Could your marketing advantage be creating a new way of doing business? For example, if you sell groceries, you might become innovative by delivering them to people's homes, or having curbside pickup.
- Growth: Is your marketing advantage that you are targeting new customers or areas? Or that you are releasing new products? This can be a huge advantage as it may open up your target market, and could help you earn more from existing, loyal customers, who are so impressed with the products they already have from you, that they are willing to try the new products as well.
- Relationships: Next, ask yourself what you can do to improve your production, promotion, and distribution? Often, the biggest advantage that you have is that you have a connection or someone hooking you up. Is there any partnership or relationship that can be formed with suppliers, distributors, etc. to help you improve your current situation?
- Time: Are you faster? If you can reduce the time it takes to get a product or service to the customer, that can be a huge advantage. It means having time to devote to other things. It means more satisfied customers.
Your marketing advantage or competitive advantage should be the foundation of your marketing plan.