If you’re in business, you have competition. Regardless of what product or service you offer, other companies do the same. Many of your competitors have an advantage over you. Some are smart enough to market those advantages. The question is, do you recognize your competitive advantage?
Before you can recognize your competitive advantage, you need to know and understand a few things.
Do you have a clear understanding of your audience? Do you know who needs and wants your product, who it helps, and what problems it solves? “What’s your niche? The answers to these four questions will help you define your target audiences. What are you great at? What sets you apart? Where’s your expertise? What can you do better than anyone else?” — How to Target Your Audience (Without Breaking the Bank.) Here’s more on identifying and reaching your target audience, Do You Know Your Target Audience?
Okay, this sounds obvious, but to recognize your competitive advantage, first, you need to know your competition. However, I’ve found that many organizations know little when it comes to the advantages a competitor has over them and vice-versa. Oh sure, most businesses know who their competition is, what they offer, and when they outbid them on a contract, but do they know why? Where do you begin? By monitoring their activities, following them on social media, conducting Google searches on the company and product, reading reviews, and following industry periodicals.
“By monitoring competitors on an on-going basis you get to know their behavior and so can start to anticipate what they will be likely to do next,” says Arthur Weiss, managing director of UK-based Aware, which helps businesses gain competitive intelligence. “You can then plan your own strategies so that you keep your customers and win (not steal) customers away from competitors.” In other words, keeping tabs on your competition is a great strategy for growing your business.” — Inc: 10 tips on how to research your competition.
What value do you bring to the table? Value is the convergence of price and benefit. Cutting too much from a product or service to reduce price may not benefit the customer. As counter-intuitive as it sounds a lower price might not be what the customer needs. We can all recall times, we’ve made the lowest price mistake and didn’t receive the benefit we needed for a product. The Lowest Bid Mistake. Conversely, pricing a product so far above the competition that consumers question what they’re paying for isn’t a beneficial strategy for your business or client.
Questions to Answer to Recognize Your Competitive Advantage
- Superior product or service: How does your product beat the competition?
- Lower price: Is your product less than competitors for the same or similar product?
- Customer service: Does your customer service top your competition?
- Individual solutions. Does your company work directly with clients to create a specific product to fit the customer’s needs?
- Reviews: How does your business rank on Google reviews, Yelp, and customer testimonials?
- Location: Do you have a locational advantage that can save your audience time and money?
- Reliability: Do you have numbers you can share about your delivery time, quality, and service after the sale?
- Trustworthiness: Have you been in business longer than your competition? Are there awards you’ve won and accreditations you’ve achieved, that speak of your trustworthiness?
- Add-ons: Are there other benefits to working with your company?
What is Your Competitive Advantage?
By understanding your target audience, knowing your competition, and analyzing your value to the client you can take the next step and market your competitive advantages, but that’s another post.
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