How do I start the process of writing a marketing plan?
Writing a marketing plan may seem complex when you don’t know where to begin.
I frequently suggest completing a competitive marketing analysis as a fantastic place to begin. Companies that conduct competitive marketing analyses in advance have discovered a technique to set themselves apart from the competition.
I worked with a retail company that identified a clear strategy for differentiating itself through its dedication to first-rate customer service. None of their rivals paid close attention to consumer requirements. While preparing for her competition study, this client gathered this information from various social media networks. Voila! This company owner saw a service gap and filled it to perfection. She created a plan with specific steps that gave attending to every consumer contacting her business, whether by phone, email, or in person, a priority.
Another business owner who worked in a sector with minimal entry barriers discovered that his rivals lacked high-quality goods. This business outperformed its rivals thanks to its commitment to offering the highest quality products on the market. Two of its key competitors shut down their businesses in a year. He is currently well-established in his field. This business owner supports completing competitive marketing research right away, stating that he wishes he had done so years earlier because his company would have advanced much more quickly.
What Exactly is Competitive Strategy?
An action plan created by a business to gain a competitive edge over rivals is known as a competitive strategy. This plan was developed after evaluating the opposition’s opportunities, threats, strengths, and weaknesses and contrasting them with your own.
A competitive strategy is crucial when a business operates in a competitive market where customers can choose between multiple similar products—this tactic aids in developing a defensive position within your sector and yields a greater return on investment.
A company’s research, planning, and strategies to expand its market share and stay one step ahead of the competition are collectively referred to as its competitive strategy. The plan covers several commercial activities, including product development, advertising, and customer support.
Following are the four competing strategies:
- Low-cost strategy or cost leadership strategy.
- Differentiating oneself.
- Best-value approach.
- Market niche or focus strategy.
What is a competitive advantage?
You can acquire an advantage over them by giving them a better value than the competition—higher sales and profits resulting from an advantage over a rival.
What does it take to get a competitive advantage?
1. The drive and tenacity of senior management — Like Babe Ruth’s strikeouts, the best managers have frequently failed.
2. A product that outperforms the competition and has a strong case for buying it.
3. To sell a product at the most excellent price possible, management and marketers must possess the appropriate abilities. A company wants its customers to see the value it offers.
4. The capacity to generate excitement about a product using effective marketing. A skilled marketer will make the most of every available asset, even with a modest budget.
5. The managerial experience – Managers’ lack of competence is a significant factor in more than half of business failures.
6. The capacity to continuously create intriguing new items while preserving a large consumer base.
7. Good negotiation abilities to maintain low supplier prices. Firm profitability is to keep costs lower than the competition.
8. The ability to respect partners and employees is a must for management. Increased loyalty and productivity will follow from this.
9. Possessing the ideal location and the capacity to maintain the shortest supply chain.
10. An ongoing stream of revenue even during difficult economic times. When a business is sluggish, a successful business will have fallback strategies.
5 Ways to Gain a Competitive Advantage:
Deliver a Speech at an Industry Event:
Speaking at conferences, meetings, and other events increases your business’s perceived authority similarly. Claire Lew, CEO of Know Your Company, explains the material and immaterial advantages of pursuing this kind of competitive edge:
Speaking at events and conferences has proven to be the most intriguing experiment of all the channels we’ve attempted. The biggest lessons I’ve learned as a CEO have come through speaking, even if it wasn’t our top source of sales last year (we saw 47% of our sales come from inbound marketing, against 38% from speaking engagements).
Delight Your Customers:
Everyone wants to work for a firm focused on making them happy. Consider Naomi Hattaway, a real estate agent who provides children’s tour properties.
It’s a straightforward, budget-friendly choice, but it will undoubtedly excite the families she works with, resulting in more delighted clients and further referrals.
With a similar strategy, you can leverage customer satisfaction as a competitive advantage by rewarding significant client milestones with giveaways (or mailings if your clients are far away). For example, FreshBooks handed out enormous cookies to customers who had used their accounts for ten years.
Invest in Deeper Customer Relationships:
Nowadays, advocacy marketing is a hot issue, yet most advocacy programs auto-generate referral vouchers for their highest spenders.
What would happen if you went a step or two further? What if you put time and effort into building genuine relationships with your most significant clients? Perhaps you could do this by getting a drink together or booking a suite at a nearby sports venue for a small gathering.
The commercial environment is already far too impersonal. Genuine connections stand out and give you a significant competitive advantage.
Create Your Data:
Utilizing data and statistics in marketing content is frequently encouraged for businesses as it offers the impression of legitimacy and authority. You may be the company they mention.
While you should follow rigorous surveying and sample procedures, platforms like SurveyMonkey and Google’s Consumer Surveys make it simple to collect market data. Your industry presence will increase if you distribute your results orderly.
Although many companies consider lowering their costs to stand out, there is merit in going the other way. According to the proverb, you don’t buy a Rolex to tell time.
The practice of charging more is known as “prestige pricing.” Attracting customers who don’t take cheaper products seriously it’s utilized to build a brand’s image and social capital in addition to its profit margins.
The main thing to keep in mind is that your goods or services must be able to support the higher prices you intend to charge. Avoid being the next Fyre Festival, which promised luxury but offered an essential experience.
6 Ways To Sustain Competitive Advantage & Improve Your Competitive Strategy:
Promote Learning Within The Organization:
By promoting organizational learning, also known as internal learning, you can maintain your business one step ahead of the competition.
Your business can learn from past errors and gradually improve its operations by seeking and spreading knowledge.
Deploy a Continuous Improvement Mechanism:
A foolproof method of maintaining your competitive advantage for a very long time is continuously improving everything else your business does.
You should constantly be searching for approaches to enhance quality as a manager. You can experiment with Total Quality Management (TQM) programs and business process reengineering.
Overcome The Barriers of Change:
Organizations and industry businesses frequently fail to maintain their competitive advantage.
To overcome this obstacle, you should establish appropriate leadership and control mechanisms, including staff in decision-making and brainstorming sessions, and change the organizational structure.
The Building Blocks of Competitive Advantage:
The four pillars of competitive advantage are effectiveness, excellence, innovation, and customer experience. Any firm can use these four components to differentiate itself from the competition.
Better innovation results in higher prices/lower unit costs, better quality allows you to charge a higher price while lowering costs, and better customer service will enable you to charge a higher fee.
Adopt Best Practices:
You can research the profitable business strategies that your rivals are doing, modify them to suit your company’s requirements, and then start implementing them!
By implementing the best practices, you may preserve your capabilities and resources while retaining your competitive advantage. Best practices are crucial if you wish to thrive in the four previously described building blocks!
Creating Distinctive Competencies:
To keep their competitive edge, managers must build unique competencies. By building distinctive competencies, you may enhance performance in each of the four areas we previously highlighted.
Keep in mind that your pursuit of distinguishing abilities requires balance. Never sacrifice other crucial areas to gain particular competencies in other areas.