Anyone who has a stake in the corporate world knows that if their business is worth anything there would always be competitors. Even local stores and the smallest business ventures have to deal with business competition and to do so professionally and effectively. Start anything that runs on income and expenditure and makes a profit and not too long from when you begin, you will find people who not only want to do the same thing but are willing to put in whatever it takes to make sure they have the better share of the market. A few others are so fierce in their approach to the business world that their primary motive is to gain and maintain a monopoly of the market.
In the midst of all this market struggle, it is essential to know what exactly you should be doing in order to keep the grounds you have already gotten on the market as you aim at gaining more. The following are competitive marketing strategies that will go a long way to help you deal with pressure from competitors. They will definitely prove very relevant in helping you beat your competition.
First, appreciate the privilege of having competitors
I sincerely believe the most important thing you can possess as an entrepreneur when it comes to thriving in a competitive business environment is looking at it from a positive point of view. That is to say, you ought to have a positive attitude towards competition. Yes, its threatening, but some threats have in them the potential of bringing out the very best in you, howbeit, forcefully. The pressure that fierce competitors bring, if taken in good light would definitely drive you and the business to work harder, plan better and become more effective in your industry.
Sometimes, companies and small businesses never go past a certain level because of the absence of competitors. They get to a certain level of success and are no longer interested in growing nor challenged to make progress because there just isn’t any need to. If these same businesses had some other come along and try to kick them out of the market, they would develop new ways and work harder. But the blessing is that the hard work will not only serve to deal with their competitor but would definitely leave the business far better than was the case before competitors came along.
A competitive business environment is like the jungle. Though challenging, it forces your business to evolve and develop stronger, better ways to beat your competition and keep your place as you gain more territory. The sad thing is that those who try to shy away from it are forced to lose their place naturally to those who are fierce enough in dealing with business competition. Keeping a good attitude with regards to competition also means deciding to be tough. Once you see and appreciate the good side of competition, you will definitely be able to man up to the challenges instead of getting all confused and threatened like many others did before giving up.
Improve customer care
It is sad to say that in this age and time, there are still businesses which do not realize or appreciate the value of customers. This is evident in their poor approach to delivering customer satisfaction. It is most common for those businesses that are so driven by a need to make more profit that they place this over the importance of customer satisfaction. In order to beat your competition, you must set your priorities right. Customers, for the most part, are like babies and women in their approach and relation with products and services of any business. That is to say, the way they are treated and the extent to which their needs are met will determine to a large extent how long they will stay with a particular brand and prefer it over another.
That said, it is important to understand that customer care starts off from the very moment a person comes in contact with your business’ products or services. Whether this happens through a TV add, through a visit at your business center or even a worker or service provider directly or indirectly linked to your business. There are two main parts to meeting customer care, the first has to do with the way services and goods provided are designed to satisfy customers. The second part concerns the way customers are treated and taken care of whenever they come in contact with business personnel.
The second part of customer care is directly linked to the behavior and attitudes of those who work for or represent the business in any way, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Probably an example will throw more light. If a customer visiting a hotel has to meet with a disgruntled, harsh or rude receptionist, you can be sure that It may be the last time that particular customer will visit the place again. This is an important aspect of customer care and dealing with business competition that so many businesses take for granted, not knowing what damage it is doing to their market share and efforts. Then your competitors, whom you have been trying to stay ahead of have to absorb such customers who left your business because some worker of yours just couldn’t give them good treatment.
To this regard, allow me stress that the old statement “the customer is the king” is still true and should be taken very seriously if your business is going to succeed in the midst of fierce competition. Quality customer care is one of the most important competitive marketing strategies that there is.
Then come to think of it, testimonial is still a very powerful form of advertisement especially in a competitive business environment. One person’s good experience on coming in contact with your business or services is far more convincing and can bring in more loyal customers than most of your television ads will. And remember, when it comes to competition, loyalty to a brand is priceless. So many people stick to a particular brand because they feel they have made a pledge of loyalty to it.
The summary of the matter is this; improve customer care and satisfaction at all cost. You will be happy you did when the tides of competition are so strong.
Use an expert designed business plan
Even if there were no competitors, a business will not stay long or thrive without making use of a business plan. The issue is not just to make a business plan but to have one with the potential of propelling the business forward and keeping it above competitors. For one thing, the business plan helps those in control of the business to easily find their way in the face of difficulties and competition. In simple terms, it should be a “master plan”.
There are so many advantages to making a business plan, especially one that is professionally designed. The main one being its assistance in making management more productive and effective. Managers depend very much on a business plan to carry out their function and the effectiveness with which those functions are carried out goes a long way to determine how well the business can deal with competition.
Once a business plan is properly drawn, subsequent research has to be made to as changes emerge in a competitive market environment to ascertain what changes should be made on the business plan if need be.
When the business plan is settled, the next thing to handle in order to make sure that your business is ready for every form of competition is to have a strategy with which to execute the plan you already have. There ought to be a strategy that prepares you for every challenge that may come up in the course of executing your plan. To say the least, without strategy, executing the plan will be quite difficult and especially challenging when it has to be done in the midst of competition. A business with a strategy is a business that is organized and ready to face its competitors.
Specialize as much as possible
There are masters when it comes to diversification of a business’ supply of goods and services. However, we must all admit that as with every other aspect in life, there are no masters without mastery. And mastery takes time, resources and a lot of effort. There are businesses which over time have learnt to wisely diversify their products and services so that they manage different brands at the same time.
On the other hand, this may not be very possible for some business until they get to a certain level of market occupation and business success. If your business has just started out or has been running for some time now but is not able to cope with diversification, remember specialization is just as powerful a tactic, if not more powerful. If your business is into producing men’s shoes for example, you can concentrate the business’ resources into making it such a formidable brand that effectively takes charge of a good share of the market. Here is the trick; don’t just make men’s shows that are good. Make shoes that are irresistible. Then when the time comes that you must have gotten enough resources and trust from the market, get into another line of production, ladies’ shoes if you will. Your success with the first would no doubt lay a firm foundation for the new brand. Specialization is sure one of the most effective of all competitive marketing strategies.
However, be sure to never get so confused or challenged by business competition that you make the mistake of getting into inappropriate diversification. Let each new brand be a compliment or version of the other. There are different versions of Axe perfumes, different version of Avon lotions and so on. It is alright and more effective against competition if you are presenting different versions of the same brand rather than just trying to get into a completely different type of product altogether.
Advertising is still a formidable tool
The amount of money big and successful businesses put into advertisement each year speaks for itself. There is definitely something powerful about advertisement, without which no business will go beyond a certain level of success, much less be able to face competition successfully. Nevertheless, business men and women should understand that not all advertisement types or mediums work for everyone. The mistake some businesses are making is letting their advertisement strategy follow that of their competitor. But because your competitors seem to be making progress with a certain formula does not guarantee that it will work for you too.
If any business must use the formidable tool of advertisement to successfully beat competitors, it need to properly understand who its customers are and determine what type of advertisement method will best advance its course. I could say that when it comes to advertisement, one has to avoid the “war” mentality of business. This implies that instead of carrying out an advertisement campaign to undermine the progress of your competitors, solely concentrate the purpose and effort of your advertisement to advancing the course of your business. That should in fact be the only aim.
Put more resources into research
Once the vision of a business is settled and purpose declared, research is what is needed for smooth and easier attainment of goals. Without research, every business endeavor is more or less an issue of trial and error. Millions have been put into business ventures and great losses incurred because research was undermined. Taking business steps without research is like walking in the dark. You never know when and what may go wrong. Dealing with business competition will definitely be a whole lot easier when proper research is carried out. proper research makes it easier to beat your competition.
The presence of competitors in the market only makes research more important and as far as competition is concerned, research is one thing absolutely necessary if you must stay ahead of your competitors or at least thrive in the midst of this business opposition. Market research for example should precede any important decision that the business could make and the results or findings of such research should guide decision making and strengthen the business venture against competitive strategies.
Research helps you understand what is trending in the market as well as the developments your competitors are making in a bid to outsmart you. It gives you the edge over customers by helping you better understand their preferences and what you can do to stay relevant to their needs. Just like we have earlier established the importance of customer satisfaction in a competitive business environment, it is good to note that any business which does not engage in market research will have a serious shortcoming as far as market customer satisfaction is concerned. The logic is simple. You cannot satisfy customers whose needs and preferences you do not know. And you cannot know these needs and preferences well enough as to guide wise decision making without engaging in proper market research.
Then there is the advantage of successfully carrying out marketing campaigns. Market research guides and provides valuable information that is necessary for successful advertising campaigns. If market research is unsuccessful, there is a great chance that advertising campaigns too will fail to meet their desired objectives. This will help the business discover new opportunities and even how to exploit them. If it is done properly and on time, business research could place a business far ahead of its competitors and give it a serious advantage over them. The reason why some businesses never make it to the top amongst their competitors is that they deliberately decide to be followers instead of leaders. Much of the time it is because they want to be spared the cost of research, not understanding that it also cost them the privilege of staying ahead in the market.
Do the best you can to stay a visionary
Losing site of the vision and purpose for which a business was established may be an easy thing to do in the face of fierce competition. In the midst of the challenges that rage on, never lose sight of the fact that staying true to the vision is more important than facing competitors and winning the “fight”.
In this regard, I must say there is something more important that having all the profit in business. If you are only concerned about making profit, you will definitely lose you customers in the process. A good name for your business is far more important and will speak better for you in the face of competition than all the money you may have to use in carrying out advertisement campaigns or promotional sales in order to fight competition. As a matter of fact, making a good name for the business will better secure your place of preference in the hearts of your customers and win even more of them to your side. Mind you, having a good name does not mean being a philanthropist, it simply means genuinely having your customers at heart, doing the best you can to meet their needs profitably and letting them in on your efforts to make things better for them.
Consider moving into partnerships and mergers
Some competitors can easily become partners with your business to make a more formidable business venture. However, it is not always easy to find competitors who are willing to merge, especially if one is way more prosperous than the other. Businesses which are almost on the same level and are struggling with bigger fish in their industry could merge in order to successfully face competition. Though this may not be possible for every form of business venture, it is a good way to stay in the market and possibly ahead of competitors when it comes to businesses that either have same kind of goods and services or complimentary goods and services.
Aside from forming a stronger business to withstand competition, it is a great way to build a monopoly and keep potential competitors off the market and one of the most effective of all competitive marketing strategies. If in a certain town there are two major companies that produce car tires, instead of competing with each other, they could both merge to make keep other competitors away while devising ways to make business mutually more profitable. Mergers are usually an easy way to fight against and beat your competition.
Don’t fall prey to the traps that have brought several businesses down
In the midst of all the pressure from competitors, many businesses resort to dangerous methods of dealing with the challenges. There are definitely some extents you should never go if you desire to make it in a competitive business environment.
Don’t make your advertisement campaigns about competition. This would make you look desperateto your customers and will portray your brand to be threatened and intimidated. Your adverts should be about delivering information on recent changes in goods and services as well its advantages.
Don’t try to mimic bigger brands as a way to get more customers. Similar packaging, naming and other things you may copy from a more prosperous brand will only make your products and or services look like a counterfeit of something else. This may not only cause loss of those customers you already have but may also keep others from purchasing your products or services. Worse still you may be forced to rebrand after such an incident because many people would have loosed trust in your brand. If you are going to engage in competitive marketing strategies, be sure to stay away from being an impostor or even giving people the impression that you are one.