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Smart companies quickly negate the effect of new competition and often increase market share by applying these seven winning strategies.
To remain one of the leaders in your market, you must have a significant point of competitive differentiation. Conduct market research and customer surveys to determine what makes your business distinctive. Then, work with your team to further develop that point of differentiation, making it even more compelling.
Develop a clear, concise, one to three sentence unique selling proposition (USP) across marketing channels and communications. Each time you communicate this message, you’ll clarify how your business differs from competitors. This may be related to quality, price, service, or something unique, such as all American-made or an ethical approach to sourcing products. Finally, make sure your branding continually reinforces your unique selling proposition. Repetition makes it memorable.
Your loyal customers don’t stay loyal simply because they like your products and services. They are reliable because they believe in your people, organization, and ability to solve their problems and provide more effective solutions than your competitors. In other words, your loyal customers will likely be more receptive to an answer from your business than from your new competitor.
It’s an excellent time to revisit your customers’ and prospects’ pain points to develop more innovative solutions to their problems. Consider their financial, support, process, operational, and productivity pain points, among other categories specific to your industry (if B2B) or your customers’ lives (if B2C). Conduct surveys and have your sales and support teams conduct qualitative research to uncover the granular details. In the process of discovery and listening, you'll likely find that you develop closer relationships with your customers, which also helps protect you from the threat of new competitors.
There are many sales channels you could be using, and, likely, you’re only tapping into a fraction of the potential there is to reach your target customers. Are you using retail and wholesale? How about direct-to-consumer? The marketing channels you should prioritize include search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, mobile marketing (SMS messaging), social media marketing, referral marketing, and video (YouTube and your website).
Would your products or services make sense for audiences outside your current demographics or B2B market? With some modifications to your offerings, would you be able to expand your audience? Or are there products and services you could offer your existing customers that would simplify their lives or their operations? For example, many office supply distributors now offer janitorial supplies. When new competition emerges in your market, it’s a good time to think opportunistically in ways a less experienced competitor cannot.
Is your company streamlined in both operations and staffing? Lowering your labor and operational costs using enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions enables you to set more competitive pricing. Your experience in the industry and the data you have collected over time will allow you to find cost-cutting measures that your competitors can’t yet. While competing on price alone is ultimately a losing game, this strategy can help retain customers in the short term, especially if you become more cost-efficient to deliver more competitive pricing.
Across the globe, 96% of consumers say customer service is an essential factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand. And 72% of consumers say that when contacting customer service, they expect the agent to “know who they are, what they have purchased, and have insights into their previous engagements.” Never have consumer standards been so high (B2C and B2B) for customer service. When you consider that 89% of consumers have switched to doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience, it makes even more sense to prioritize customer service as a strategy for dealing with a new competitor.
Aside from great deals, little excites customers and prospects like real innovation. What can your business do to get people excited about your products and services and how they are delivered or the mission of your business? It’s time for some internal brainstorming sessions! Innovation is the key to driving referrals and word-of-mouth marketing. When your customers and prospects are likely talking about your new competitor, now is the time to get innovative and become the hot topic again.
Your new competitor will have a much easier time taking market share from your existing competitors than from your business when you apply these strategies. Let us know which strategies are most suitable for your business by engaging with us on LinkedIn!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 16, 2022, and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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