Wednesday, January 18, 2012

We Give Good Service

Are you better than your competition?  You might think so, but in reality, it depends on who you ask.  Yesterday and today we are focusing on effective marketing strategies that highlight your differentiation.

Principle No. 3 Outside -In Strategy Development
If it's true that effective marketing techniques create a perception of difference between you and your competition, then you must first know how your competition is perceived.  This requires an "outside-in" approach: looking outward at the competition and the market in order to identify what strategic opportunities are open to you.

For example, trying to open a new hamburger restaurant chain with a perception of being the "happy, family place to go for a meal" is a recipe for disaster since McDonald's already holds this perception in the minds of consumers.

Unfortunately, most businesses try to identify their strategy by looking inward to determine why their own product or service is better.  As we discussed, your strategy lies not in claiming you're better, but in creating a perception of difference.

Always remember, your opportunities for effective marketing campaigns lie in what your competition isn't doing.

Principle No. 4 Why Service Is A Bad Word
Obviously, it's important to give good service, but saying you give good service is not as effective as a brand strategy.  Why?  Because your competition is saying the same thing about itself.  Plus, as consumers, we've heard claims about good service so often, and been disappointed so often, that we just don't believe them anymore.  For the same reasons, other words that are ineffective as differentiating strategies include: quality, honesty, integrity, value, experience and the list goes on.

As we've said, the most effective marketing techniques involve understanding how your competition is perceived.  That's crucial because once your market holds a perception about a competitor, then you cannot create the same perception.

Determine the perception you want your customer to have of your business that's different from your competitors.  And when your marketing begins to help you make money (instead of cost you money), then you can feel like you're ahead of your competition.

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