If you’re the only gladiator in the ring, you’ve already won. How many companies can say that’s true for them? Even if it is, how long will it stay true? Being first to market with a revolutionary product means having a huge competitive advantage, but like track stars with staggered start lines, what looks like a big lead often isn’t by the time the runners round the first bend. Markets shift, shrink, and become saturated. Competitors develop new twists on established formulas. Audiences aren’t eternally loyal. Here’s how to meet the challenges of keeping your sales and marketing departments competitive in any marketplace.
Know Who You Are
Too often, marketers focus on brand development without truly understanding that brand. They know what they’d like to be but not what they are. You’ve seen examples of it in B2C advertising that strikes a discordant note – the budget-conscious label that suddenly re-brands itself as aspirational and trend-setting, for example, or the health-conscious supermarket that dilutes its brand by repackaging itself as a thrifty option. Some brands can be multiple things to multiple audiences, but they do so carefully and thoughtfully, not at a stroke.
Know yourself. Know your audience segments. Know where you’re aiming and solidify that position before moving forward with revealing new facets of who your company is.
Hit the Ground Running
Winning begets more wins. Earn a few quick wins in the early phases of a campaign or brand reinvention, and you’re already jumping out ahead of your competition. Building momentum early can also carry you through plateaus on which competitors find themselves stuck. Momentum alone can’t sustain your organization, but it can propel you past roadblocks that will hinder your competition.
Build for Success
Another mistake many companies make is thinking too small. They’re ready for the first phase of a project but have no idea where to go from there. They want to bring a new-to-market product out quickly, and their early results are promising. What happens when “new and improved” no longer feels new to your audience? If your only answer is to find another audience, your success is already limited by the upper bounds of your audience size. Transitioning from a strong growth phase into a mature market is a challenge for companies that rely solely on expansion and acquisition, so build in a customer retention strategy from the start. Be ready to handle your own success at every phase of a campaign.
Get Everyone on Board
Before you can sell to others, you have to believe what you’re selling has value. That goes for everyone in your organization, not just the sales team. From the front desk to the CEO’s office, people should be knowledgeable about product and service lines, what sets you apart from your competition, and how your latest campaign fits with who you are. If every person your clientele encounters is knowledgeable and enthusiastic, rivals gain less of a foothold when dealing with new leads and existing customers.