Published 12 July 2017 Category: Compass Tips, Business, Startups, Marketing

Leave Your Competitors in the Dust

Customer engagement is akin to Motor racing. Motorsport enterprises undertake massive preparation and intelligence gathering long before a race starts, so they can start in the best position possible. Then they sync interdependent teams to real-time data feeds throughout the race. They don't win because they do something magical once; they win because they start the race in a better position than competitors and tweak everything continually, consciously and in a coordinated way.

Teams have to adapt and improvise, no matter what’s thrown at them. Does that sound like marketing these days? Brands need to be sharp and strong to withstand the constant go, go, go of our current world. In both motorsport and marketing, you need a vision and a plan, but a preset game plan isn’t enough. Marketing teams need to be able to make decisions on the fly and adapt; just like motorsport professionals…and the road to profits is paved with unfair advantages.

Think about that statement. It's the reason why some of the best ideas can flop, and why some of the most average people can be wildly successful. Somewhere along the way there was a competitive advantage.
But it's also one way to pull ahead of your competition - find and create unfair advantages. Here are four ways you can leave your competitors in the dust.

Position strengths to weaknesses
Even if your competitor has a better product and is willing to sell it at a lower price, you can still win. Every competing company has weak points - places where your brand can outperform. Things like domestic customer service or extended guarantees on a product can go a long way if done right. Your job is to find these points and exploit them in your marketing and presentations. Let your prospective customers know why these selling points are important and why it makes your brand a better choice.

Stay lean
This is about maximising value and minimising waste. Value refers to features a customer wants to pay for while waste essentially is everything else. This means you must be in constant contact with your clients and understand why they're buying your product. Ask them how you can enhance it. Any additional features your product offers -- no matter how attractive - should be dropped if your clients don't want them.

Go after large clients
Larger clients can often result in more business and increased revenues, which means more resources for marketing and hiring new employees. But large clients can also be easier to service than smaller companies. It's a strange phenomenon, but smaller companies sometimes need more hand holding and have more service issues than middle-market companies with established systems.

Additionally, larger clients can give your company credibility when meeting with other potential prospects. But don't worry if the idea of approaching a larger company scares you. Your smaller size should be an advantage since it allows you to move faster and continually think outside of the box. Also position the idea that a change in vendor will inject a sense of freshness into the project its working on.

Know your numbers
Many entrepreneurs don't know the critical numbers that can either make or break their business. Here are a few of the basics that every startup should be tracking:

  • ACV (Average Customer Value). This refers to how much money the average customer spends with you over a given period of time. 

  • CPA (cost per acquisition). This is your cost every time you acquire a new client.

  • ROI (return on investment) on marketing campaigns.

  • Break even. This is the volume of sales you need to cover the cost of making sales.

Every company will have different numbers, but identify them for your business and then commit yourself to tracking and improving them.

Just like motorsport, business is all about timing, precision and agility where the smallest advancement or advantage can mean the difference between winning and losing.