You need not wait till January 1 before you plan your marketing strategy and tactic to stay ahead of your business competition in the coming year.
Start now to review your business model and other past year activities to look for ways to make short- and long-term positive changes where necessary.
According to this article, for companies, sustaining a consistently high level of performance requires unique capabilities that may differ sharply from the strategies they used to succeed.
Suppose you operate in an industry or market segment where little or no differentiation distinguishes your product or service from your competition as a business leader in the eyes of a potential customer. In that case, you must ensure that your core processes and differentiation strategy set you apart from the rest of your target market. In this case, you need to use consumer trends and customer feedback data to improve customer satisfaction.
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How do you stay ahead of the competition?
Do you want to know how to be on top of your competitors? In staying ahead of the competition, three things you need to keep in mind are:
- Your Team: Having a motivated employee on a competitive wage with structured career development as part of your team of managers, workers, salespersons and marketers on your side is your secret to staying competitive and having a successful business. Your teammates must feel confident that you can cooperate reasonably with them and develop cordial relationships. Healthy competition is good as it encourages you to improve.
- Your Customers: Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. It’s these people that your competitors are after. You are less likely to lose a loyal customer to the competition if you look after them. Offer stellar customer service and loyalty programs to improve customer retention, i.e., keep your customers interested and return to you. This level of performance requires that you give your best at all times.
- Visibility: Using video regularly to showcase exciting aspects of your business, your product/service, and your team will keep your brand top of mind with your existing or target customer. Behind the scenes, videos, product showcases, or lifestyle videos highlighting your product/service can rocket organic traffic to your website/business. These are no-brainer ways to get ahead of the competition. The good thing is that you don’t need a fancy camera or studio gear to make videos — most smartphones have excellent cameras these days.
What does it mean to stay ahead of the competition?
It means to continue to be more successful than your competitors and sustain economic growth and a consistently high level of performance in all your operations.
Why is it essential to stay ahead of the competition?
Businesses compete to increase sales and acquire new customers by changing their marketing strategies regularly. More consumers mean more market share; more sales mean more profit. Maintaining your competitive edge is, therefore, essential. You have to devote the bulk of your time and effort to it.
Here are a few areas you need to focus on that will help your business stay ahead of the competition in your target market.
Know Your Competition in Business
To stay ahead of the competition, think less about what you want to do and more about how competitors can and will hurt you.
Study your competitors and the big players in your specific industry. Find out what they are doing to maintain their customer retention rate and increase their market share. Please find out how to put their strategies within your resources and environmental limits to increase your customer base even in a crowded market. Think of how you can use digital marketing to improve your business.
To know how to stay ahead of your competitors, you need to know who your competition in business is.
Who are your existing competitors and new players in your niche? What are their ability and USPs? What will make a current or potential consumer choose your competitors over you and vice-versa?
Capitalise on the weaknesses of your competitors to make these your strengths.
For instance, if your competitors are weak in providing after-sales support, strive to make that your strength.
Do not copy your competitors! Copying your competitors can be very detrimental to your business!
Instead, consider strategic ways to implement things your competitors might have missed in your business.
Strive to discover unique opportunities that will keep you a step or two ahead of your competitors at all times.
Know Your Customers
Whether or not you like it, your customers are your boss. Without them, you will not be in business. It’s as simple as that.
Customers are the lifeblood of your business, so you better pay attention to their behaviours.
If you operate a B2B company, study your customer’s business imperatives, the brand’s mission, competitive threats and the consumer’s perspective.
Your customer’s expectations are not static! They can change on a whim according to their economic circumstances. So, do you know what your customer’s expectations are now?
I was not talking about your customer’s expectations last week, last month, last year or the past five years. I’m talking about their expectations at this very moment! Do you know of it?
A word of caution, though; don’t get too engrossed in market research. Customers often don’t even know what they want unless you show it to them!
As a business owner, it’s your job to understand your customers so well that you can provide them with the right product or service that satisfies customers at the right moment!
Don’t spend all your resources fishing for new customers and neglect your existing customers. Focus on strengthening your relationship with your current customers.
They have kept you in business until now; as the saying goes, old friends are the best.
Keep the lines of communication open with your existing customers and ask their opinions on how you can improve their experience with your brand.
Where proper, offer perks, discounts, etc., to show appreciation to your long-term customers and discourage them from abandoning you for your competitors.
Keep in mind that it costs more to get a new client than to keep an existing one. Every client you lose (because of not meeting their needs) not only translates to a loss of income but also means an increase in the client base of your competitor!
Focus on Your Employees
Our greatest asset may be our employees in the struggle to stay ahead of our competitors! Your competitors may duplicate your strategy and tactics but not your employees.
If someone asks you the following questions, what will be your response?
- Are you motivating your employees to do well and rewarding them?
- Do your employees have a voice and know that their advice is vital to the growth of your business?
- Do your employees have a vibrant working atmosphere?
- Do your employees have access to the right tools, technology, and training?
Focusing on your employees is not only about money. Once employees feel motivated and secure in their jobs, they will strive to put in their best.
Since your employees deal with your customers, they will go the extra mile to make the customer experience pleasant and memorable if you treat your employees well.
Focusing on your employees will also help you weed out employees who do not value your company culture and keep those who do.
There’s no point wasting time with an employee with no regard for your company culture.Keeping up with the latest developments in your industry, investing in new technology etc., will go a long way in keeping you ahead of your competitors. Click To Tweet
Improve Your Marketing Efforts
Are you making it easy and rewarding for your existing customers to recommend you to their family and friends? Do you offer perks such as a “refer-a-friend” discount to current and new customers?
Remember that word-of-mouth is one of the best marketing efforts available. But also remember that the same word-of-mouth which satisfied customers can use to help you grow your business, dissatisfied customers can also use to destroy your business.
A single unfavourable tweet, post, or review on a social media account can hurt your brand in today’s digital world. Investing money in your digital and social media marketing can significantly change your brand.
Make more effort to tell people who you are, what you do, and why they should patronise your brand. Your marketing doesn’t have to be expensive, but it must be strategic.
But don’t cut costs and give the impression that your brand is of a lower value than your competitors. You must show confidence and prove that you are worth your customer’s money.
Continually measure the results of your marketing campaigns and make improvements. Learn from your data what’s working and what’s not. Improve what’s working and do away with what’s not working.
Are you innovative and improving the quality of your product or services? Do you invest in the latest technology to boost production and improve the quality of your products and services? Are you considering exploring new markets, forming strategic alliances, and exploring recent locations?
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study found small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) use technology to grow faster and create more jobs than SMBs with low levels of technology adoption.
Follow the 80-20 rule that allows you to get things done at a reasonable level instead of aiming for 100% perfection, which will help you innovate quickly.
Keeping up with the latest developments in your industry, investing in new technology, etc., will go a long way in keeping you ahead of your competitors.
For example, Apple uses its cash hoard to maintain a decisive advantage over its rivals: When new component technologies (touchscreens, chips, LED displays) first come out, they are costly to produce, and building a factory that can provide them in mass quantities is even more expensive. So their cash hoard is a crucial driver to their innovation.
Stay Ahead of Your Competition in Business
In our digital age, it’s challenging to stay ahead of your competition. However, in a competitive market, the slightest advancement or advantage can mean the difference between you staying ahead of the competition or not.
Have it at the back of your mind that, whatever way you decide to stay ahead of the competition, your plan of action will evolve and change with industry trends, customer input or franchisee performance.
You need to take a step back and check your business performance with a fresh pair of eyes. Engaging the services of a digital marketer will help you stay ahead of your competition.
So why are you waiting? Schedule a marketing consultation session with me now!
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I look forward to helping you grow your business online and stay ahead of your competition.
Disclaimer: The content provided in this post is for informational purposes only. It would be best to always get independent, professional accounting, financial and legal advice before making any business decisions.
First published on: Nov 20, 2018.
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