Differentiate with Competitive Insights
June 1, 2008Differentiate with Competitive Insights
By Adams Hudson
If you’re stuck on how to differentiate, you can learn a tremendous amount from competitors: To know yourself is wise. To know your competition is lucrative.
In the process of knowing your competition, you better define your skills, motivations, and challenges. You begin to know yourself much better. What are you doing right? What’s wrong? What are some things you never would’ve thought of — or done — or that you would rightly avoid in the future? Knowing your competition can hold the keys to much of this insight.
Discuss similarities among your competitors as those things that are “standard.” Discuss differences between you and your competitors as those things that are rare, unusual, coveted, and valuable. For in truth, they are. Only in this truth can your prospects be expected to want and pay for those differences.
Who do you want to study? Certainly not the losers. Not the folks in your market who don’t do what you do. Study the guys who, in general, look like you and seem to be growing. The healthy guys. Find out who they are by looking in the Yellow Pages, the newspaper, your mailbox, on billboards, the radio and on TV. Your new customers who were using someone else are another good source of competitive intelligence.
Next you’ll want to study their message. Read their ads, their sales letters, listen to their radio and TV spots. Use your “idea file” to store copies of their ads, newsletters, flyers, sales letters, postcards, etc. This will be very helpful to you.
The more you know about your competitors, the better prepared you’ll be to sell against them, to exceed their levels of service, and to ensure that you are providing greater value to your customers. There is immense value in creating your own uniquely-improved competitive advantage. After all, if you can’t tell the difference — how will your customers?
Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink “Creative Marketing that Works.” His company creates a full line of marketing tools for contractors including Customer Retention newsletters, Yellow Page ads, “turn-key” Marketing PowerPacks and custom copywriting. You can get a free subscription to his “Sales & Marketing Insider” by faxing your letterhead to 334-262-1115 with the request. Also check out www.hudsonink.com on the web for free marketing tips or call 1-800-489-9099 for more info.
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