Winning over new customers today does not happen by simply listening to what your competitors are saying but it also entails developing a smart strategic plan based upon real-time information of what your customers will act on. Gaining and analyzing competitive intelligence has always been a large part of strategic planning in corporate America. Restaurants, for instance, are extremely competitive within tight market niches filled with skilled strategists that are astute at matching customer’s needs to specific dining preferences.
While these types of companies recognize the endless benefits of mining their competitive data, they have also learned that it is equally important – and in some cases more important – to match this data against their high frequency customers’ needs to ensure their strategies synchronize with their deepest needs.
It is important today to review the strategies of your firm against both your customers’ and competitors’ offerings to ensure your strengths are truly more attractive to your customers. This focus on value – rather than specific features – is a big part of positioning a brand more favorably against its competition. Winning the positioning battle is the primary goal of any strategist because it leads to the springboard to growth that can provide instant results when carried out correctly.
Here are a few suggestions for building a competitive advantage using a centralized and timely business model:
- Know why customers come and go. Understanding how many have come in three month intervals and why long-standing customers have stayed is vital to building a better value strategy. This is especially important in today’s environment where clients are pushing back on rate increases and turning to outsourced solutions on an increasing basis.
- Generate continuous news. There are many types of news items that are extremely attractive to news outlets such as opening a new office, hiring a new employee, changing a practice area to include a new service, are just a sampling of what is news worthy.
- Market new events and webinars. Companies often are engaged in external events that they do not publish in any form other than to signup customers to attend. This is a lost opportunity for positioning of your company given how easy it is to promote these types of events at very little expense, if any.
- Know how your firm is trending. It is vital to understand your own firm’s trend lines to better inform your strategic decisions in the near and long term. For example, if you your firm has been in business for a long time and you have not conducted customer affinity research for an equally long time you might find you are totally out of step with your market. This can be a very rude awakening and one that should be prevented at all costs.
Maximizing your organization’s value often is accomplished by turning what is considered every day events and information into actionable competitive intelligence and initiatives that will help you achieve your growth goals. And that’s something always worth the value to achieve.