Few small business owners are thrilled when a competitor shows up and steal their thunder, much less their customers.
But competition is a way of life for any business owner.
From inventors to entrepreneurs, history is full of examples of others who have altered ideas to create new products, enhanced an already successful product or just flat out stole a patent or idea.
If an idea has merit–it will probably be copied or stolen at some point, so getting used to the competition is a by-product of success. Then again, some ideas will just plain flop (like the above Ford Edsel).
Need an affordable marketing partner to weather the storms of the competition, build web traffic, new prospects and profits?
Podcast #22 discusses three main ways your small business can stay ahead of the competition.
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Weathering The Storms Of The Competition.
Host: John D. Verlin
Good afternoon to you. John Verlin with once again, another Digital Marketing Update from On Demand Advertising Solutions, podcast #22.
Today we’re going to talk about…and this is prompted by an email I got several weeks ago from a listener. His name is Don. And Don, I want to thank you for asking this question that prompted me to talk about all of this.
And by the way, if you do have questions or comments, feel free to email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And will feature it perhaps on the podcast. And answer some of your questions.
The Storms of the Competition, is what I’m entitling this podcast. How to prevent or maintain your business in spite of the competitors. It changes, and storms crop up every ten or fifteen minutes you have a severe thunderstorm and a warning. And it could wipe out your business. Or wipe out anything if you’re not prepared.
So, consider this sort of a siren test, the weather sirens for your small business to prepare against the competition!
And I know a lot of small businesses will say, there is no competition. There is competition. The competition is what is in the mind of the prospect. And you many times can’t control it. So, if you think you’re safe, you’re not.
And just today, as an example, Amazon just bought Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion. Now, and this has been talked about all day long on Twitter and social media. Stocks have gone up and gone down. Things happen because of this.
But, you don’t this is going to be a game-changer for Walmart or any grocer in the country? You don’t think this is a storm that could wipe them out? Prices at Whole Foods could go down because of Amazon’s platform and delivery systems.
There’s a whole list of things we could talk about. This is a storm on behalf of Walmart and grocers that maybe they saw coming, maybe they didn’t.
This is kind of thing, that of course it’s going to be on a smaller scale for small business. But these are the things you may or may not anticipate. So, what can you do?
Well, there’s three key things I want to talk about. And again, when you think about price, like a lower price for like insurance? A good example of what I want to talk about is if you look at it or if you’ve seen on Twitter, at least I have been following them on Twitter, is Progressive Insurance.
With Flo—that’s their brand mascot. Flo—I like her, she’s funny. And that’s the purpose by the user—to get you to like her. So, here’s Flo and she’ll show up on Twitter. Maybe our price isn’t the lowest..we’re happy for you. You may have seen that with a couple of other competitors. Like when she’s in a beauty pageant—and she’s crying because she didn’t beat the price and that kind of stuff.
Well, Liberty Mutual…I saw this after Progressive started doing this with little ads on Twitter. Liberty Mutual now has “combine your insurance and save $761.” Or Progressive would say, “you could save up to $629” .
But that’s price. OK. Now that’s a problem, because you’re going to compete head-on with price. But, they’re consistently talking about their brand. In spite of price—and Progressive, I like the way they did it.
Well, maybe our price isn’t the lowest. But guess what? They’ve got a presence out there with a memorable message. And it’s funny. And I remember the beauty pageant. Flo is crying, she didn’t win. The other two women are waving, like they’re happy, they won. But they’re communicating their brand and message in spite of price.
And they’re even having fun with it. They admit that they might not always be number 1, but they’re consistently talking to prospects and customers by in this case, Twitter. That’s point number one. Consistently be talking to your customers and prospects is a way to fend off competition. Why? Well, think about it.
Maybe they are going to do something different. But if you’re consistently out there, and this is why next week I’m going to go over and more into this on the power of the blog. As a part of your marketing platform. Why you need one and why it’s so powerful. But you can shift your message because you have a consistent platform.
In this case, Progressive vs Liberty Mutual. You can consistently be talking to them. Building that brand relationship. That is huge for small businesses. Because, guess what? Most small businesses are lazy. They’re not going to be doing this.
This is what I tell prospects when I meet with them and I go through a powerpoint explaining step by step the marketing platform. Why all of this is important. And this is one big reason. So you won’t get run over by the competition when a storm erupts. If they do something you don’t expect, what are you going to do?
Well, you’ve got a pattern of consistently talking to your prospects and customers. You can now alter your message to shift when the competition does something. First point.
The second point: consistently provide or offer value. Again, you’ve got a message that you’re doing, on-going with prospects and customers through social media, advertising, however you’re doing it. Now you can shift and offer something. Maybe, now through June 30th you get something.
Whatever the offer is, is to counter your competition. And this is small business marketing. This is the way it is.
But with these platforms, you can build an on-going presence with the brand. And you can alter and shift it as needed. So, that’s point number two—consistently providing an offer or a value to compete, to stand out.
The third point; consistently stay top of mind. It goes hand in hand with the other two. Basically the fact—and I’m seeing these in talking about Liberty Mutual and Progressive—I see their posts everyday.
It’s got to a point now, I can tell you about them. I remember them and they’re in my mind now. Cause I’ve seen them everyday. They’re consistently keeping their brand in front of prospects.
So this is why this marketing platform and consistency is so important. If you’re a small business and you’re not doing this on a regular basis. Well, I don’t have the budget…how could you NOT do it? That’s my question.
Because you’re leaving yourself vulnerable. They only way to beat the competition is to stay one step ahead of them. I won’t go into it all now, but it’s the reason we recommend podcasts and video on your marketing platform with a blog, to have the edge…cutting edge, the latest stuff.
Now when artificial intelligence takes over, I guess that will be a whole other thing. I probably won’t be around to see it, and you may not either!
At any rate, those three things: consistently talk to your customers and prospects, make this a part of your marketing plan.
Consistently offer or provide more value to zig and zag with the competition. To prevent that storm from developing. And, as part of that, to answer your customers questions, needs or wants or any issues.
That will help you build brand loyalty with them. And finally, consistently staying top of mind.
Those three things are some really good ways to control those storms from the competition. To keep them at bay.
Because the things I’m suggesting to you that I found over the years, most small businesses don’t do. Again, I don’t want to be critical, but people are lazy.
They don’t want to make the effort or the investment. Do you have someone on your staff that handles your social media on a regular basis?
Everyday, each week of the year? If you don’t you should consider that. Or hire someone, freelance it or what ever you need. This is how important it is.
If it’s so important for a big company like Progressive to be on Twitter…maybe it’s important for small business too.
Because those platforms that are available level the playing field between huge corporations and small mom and pop businesses.
You can see what Steve Jobs said about what the web does, it’s a level playing field now.
Next week, I’m going to talk about why the blog is like nuclear fuel for your small business long term existence.
Nuclear fuel—that’s pretty big stuff. Why that blog will provide that for your small business long term existence. Be listening next week for that.
John Verlin’s my name, email@example.com is my email.
Website: www.OnDemandAdvertisingSolutions.com is the web address to visit. Love to hear from you with questions, answers, your thought, whatever!
See you next week and tell your friends about these podcasts, share it with them. They just need one idea that may improve their business. We’ll look forward to talking to you next week.
All podcasts are recorded by Verlin Studios / Gardner, Kansas
Copyright, John D. Verlin 2017