Become Your Own Customer to Create Your Edge – Part 2

January 13, 2009

565617-90600ca2-4795-4c27-91d4-9931469f070bLast Friday I laid out the basic framework for finding your competitive advantage by viewing your industry from the customer’s point of view.  To see that post, click here.

This time around, let’s go over a few ways that you can use your competitive advantage to successfully market your company.  Assuming that you took some time to find the area(s) that your company goes above and beyond the competition, you’ll now want to use that information in your marketing materials.  Highlight the big differences that you will use to build your success.

1. Equip your sales and customer support teams with the information they need.  These are the people that interact with your customers at the most personal level, usually answering many questions and offering endless assistance.  Make sure they know how to describe the advantages of choosing your company over another.

2. Don’t be afraid to reference your competition in marketing materials. Making false claims is illegal, but explaining the advantages and disadvantages of companies within an industry is not.  Dominoes is doing this in their ads against Subway right now.  If your service is more convenient, say it.  If your products are cheaper, say it.  Direct comparisons will help attract attention.

3. Build your competitive advantage into product names and descriptions.  Using your website, flyers, brochures, or ads as a way of communicating, come up with many ways to answer your customers questions about your products.  Direct, convincing statements like “The One Stop Shop for All Your Travel Needs” let a customer know exactly where you stand.

In addition to marketing the advantages, you should always try to build on them.  Take your strengths, the things that you are good at, and improve them.  Take your competitive edge to the next level and blow away the competition.

If you are the fastest at something, how can you make it even faster?  It might be as simple as streamlining the sales process and cutting out a step or two.  If you pride yourself on being the most user friendly, what can you add to make it even more so?  Try adding some information to your site, cutting our unnecessary options, or giving the user more control over what they get.

This is when some simple brainstorming sessions with you and your employees can really pay off.  Don’t discount any ideas, there is always a way to make things better.  We want to hear what you have to say. What are some of the ways that you market and improve on your competitive advantage?  Leave your comments below.

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