Tag Archives: Brand

The 3 Mistakes Small Businesses Make When Creating a Website

So you have decided you need a website! All of a sudden you are faced with a few choices, which we will discuss in-turn;
• Outsource to a Web Design company for a custom-made website
• Use a freelance web designer and adapt a template to suit
• Use a free template based design and do it yourself

We see many small business owners decide to go down the path of having a custom-made website through a web design company. This can require a sizeable investment, with many (by no means all) website companies targeting their product towards larger businesses with charges upwards of $5,000 (we have heard of up to $15,000 being paid).

Mistake One: Not knowing your ongoing costs. The problem here is not so much the quality, as these websites usually look and work fantastic; the issue is cost to manage. We have many clients complain that they have ended up locked in contracts where every little change costs them again, to the point where many have told us they just put up with what they have.

Our Tip: Find out the cost to develop AND the cost to maintain your website
Using a freelance web designer and adapting a template to suit can cost up to around $1,000. That’s factoring in buying a domain and hosting, buying a template and paying for it to be adapted and having a marketing / copy professional write your copy and assist you with targeting your market. This is our preferred method and developing web content and strategy has become one of our most popular services. The big advantage here is you usually get an easy to understand back-end system, which means if you want to change a picture or update some copy, add a promotion or feature a new product, you can do it yourself.

Mistake Two: Being convinced your website has to be one of a kind. The biggest downside here is that using a template generally means your website is not an original – that said does it need to be? If it looks professional, meets your objectives and connects with your target market, it doesn’t need to be one of a kind.

Our Tip: Make sure the web designer and the content writer can work together. You don’t want to ‘middle man’ every question.

Lastly the cheapest option is using a free template and DIYing.

Mistake Three: Not factoring in your time into what DIYing is really costing you. It costs nothing but your time, which can be considerable and sourcing a good hosting company. Be careful though, your website is a reflection of your business and is used by consumers to determine if you are a credible, trustworthy, quality brand. It’s imperative your website communicates that. Only DIY if you have patience, some creativity and great problem solving skills.

Our Tip: Consider outsourcing bits and pieces where you just can’t crack how to do it right.

If you would like a second opinion on a website about to launch or one that’s not delivering the results it should, our Wise Up Online Package includes a website effectiveness audit and a 20 page report uncovering the truth about your website and identifying how you can unleash it’s true potential.

Until next time, W is for Websites. And that just leaves X.Y.Z! Are there any topics you would like covered once we close off the A-Z of Marketing?

Mary-Anne


3 Golden Rules of Pricing for Value

For any business setting the price of your products is one of the hardest decisions that you have to make (along with picking a brand name, choosing the logo colour, deciding on your range…!) There are a few different approaches that you can take, but the most important thing you need to do is build value. This post will discuss the role of value in pricing and show you the 3 golden rules for building your price on a value proposition.

What is Value?

Value is a perception. It’s the reason why a well cut, good fitting little black dress for $150 can be as savvy a purchase as buying 3 tanks for $20. The price paid is considerably different, but so is the expectation of quality, enjoyment and longevity. Value is the combination of all our feelings towards the item we are purchasing. To set the price, we need to understand the value of our product to our consumer.

Many years ago I was the category manager for a premium cosmetics and perfume company. When it came to setting the price on skin care products that were perceived to rewind the aging process, we set the price by analysing what the consumer would pay, based on what it was worth to them – the value they saw in the product. The product cost was around $10, yet the consumer valued it enough to be willing to pay well over ten times that amount.

In our post “How to Measure Success” we looked at how to analyse your gross profit and your wholesale margin, which are both valid ways to set your retail price. But some products are worth far more than they cost to produce, be it because of desired design, quality workmanship or inherent benefits, and this is where developing your price model around value is most beneficial.

3pricing for value profit margin Golden Rules of Pricing for Value

1.       Understand Value-Based Pricing

When you set price using a value based model your objective is to determine the level of satisfaction a customer derives from your product and what price they are prepared to pay for it. How valuable is the solution your product brings to their life? How long do they perceive it will last? How important are the attributes to them?

Defining value includes analysing tangible and intangible attributes – that is what we can and cannot touch. The price of a Mercedes-Benz is set by what the brand believes the consumer will pay. The value is based on what they can touch – leather seats, alloy wheels, superior styling; but also what they can’t – associations of prestige, confidence and luxury.

There is no formula for value-based pricing, as each product will have its own value. You may find it helpful to do a competitive review to see how others are pricing similar offers and also survey your target market to understand what your offer means to them.

2.       Create a Value Perception

Creating a value perception involves positioning your product or service in the market so that it is desirable. The more consumers want your product the more they will be willing to pay. How to do this depends very much on the type of product or service and who the target customer.

Generally speaking you can create positive value perceptions by paying attention to:

  • The presentation of your brand elements including your logo, brand name and website / store front
  • Building social media networks to have large numbers of engaged and active followers
  • Educating your target on the benefits your product can bring (remembering both the tangible and intangible)
  • Demonstrating brand advocacy through customer reviews and testimonials

 

3.       Maintaining your Value Proposition

When you use value-based pricing, your approach hinges on your target market buying into your offer and seeing the value in it. As it comes time to promote your product, the strategy you choose is critical. Thinking back to Mercedes-Benz, how often do you see an ad for Mercedes-Benz:

“Mercedes Benz A-Class, was $90,000, now $50,000. For three days only!”

A product that is marketed on its value needs to maintain that value and it can easily be tarnished. If you can sell your product for half the price you were charging, your consumer will start to question its true cost, and the value they see in it may decline.

Value adding strategies are the best way to maintain value in your product while creating new reasons to buy. The most well-known value add strategy is the free gift. Offering a free gift with purchase does not devalue the original product in any way, you may be directing some profit into funding the gift instead of using some profit to discount the gift.

Free gifts can also be used to drive multi unit purchases e.g. Spend $52 dollars to get your free gift, setting the spend qualifier above your key products.

With the rise of online stores, another strong value add offer is Free Postage on a required spend. Firstly, we suggest you have a flat postage rate in place e.g $6.95 Flat Fee Postage, that way you have created a value for the postage; then set a minimum spend to receive the postage free e.g. Free Postage on orders over $100. This will encourage multi unit purchases, delivering you more profit per transaction, helping you fund the free postage profitability.

Following the 3 golden rules of pricing for value has the potential to deliver you more profit than pricing to make a margin requirement. What is your product? Can you price for value? As part of our mini marketing plan, we analyse your competitors pricing models and give you recommendations on how you should price within the market. For more information visit our product page.

Until next time, V is for Value and I hope you found it valuable!

Mary-Anne


Usability – a Website’s Forgotten Imperative

Creating a website is fast becoming one of the critical marketing strategies for launching a successful small business. Time is spent planning content, getting the brand look just right and implementing search engine optimisation strategies; but often web designers or web DIYers forget the basic imperative – is it easy to use?

This post will discuss some key considerations to ensure usability is on the top of your list when designing your website.

Top 5 Tips for Usability

1.Text to Graphic Balance

We sometimes feel the need to say everything on our home page, in fear that browsers wont delve deeper or to maximise SEO opportunities. On the flip side, other businesses put only graphics mixing stunning pictures with graphic text. When it comes to prioritising the browser’s experience, we recommend aiming for balance. A small paragraph of keyword rich text placed towards the bottom ticks off SEO, while an image slider towards the top of the page lets you show case imagery with variation and reduces load time. Break up your home page into sections, use different column configurations to keep it interesting and balanced.

2.Navigation

When I land on a website, I usually want to get to where I need to go, quickly. A clear navigation panel, whether it be horizontal or vertical, is essential. It can be tempting to get creative with headings, but think of your user; will it make sense to your target? Or are your being too creative? Use your navigation panel to organise your content into logical groups. Drop downs and expanded lists off main headings are great if it helps your user narrow down where they want to be. Also consider easy ways for your browser to get back. Whether it be back one page or back to the home page, there should be an efficient strategy in place.

3.Key Messages

When you monitor your website traffic, you hear about Bounce Rate. This is the percentage of people that click off your website within 5 seconds of arriving. 5 seconds – it probably took you longer to read that first sentence. With such a small amount of time to make a big impact, it is crucial your key messages are highlighted. What sets you apart from competitors – Free Delivery, Capped Delivery, Free Returns, 24/7 Customer Service, Award Winning; whatever it is, make sure your target will see it within 5 seconds of landing. Is social media a large part of your strategy? Ensure you have sharing buttons, news feeds and sign up buttons, all within sight. If you are aiming to drive blog or newsletter subscriptions make sure you have sign up boxes with clear reasons why browsers should take action “Sign up to our newsletter for the latest info and monthly promotion” or “Sign up to our blog for free property market insight reports every week”

4.Contact Details

Your website probably won’t answer every question every browser has and if it does, some browsers want to make contact with a person or at least know the opportunity is there. Make sure there is a clear call out to your contact page, whether it is on your navigation panel or a button. If you have a contact number, consider putting it on the homepage; and if you have an email address it would be great to put that on the contact form page and if possible on the homepage. I know personally I have been frustrated in the past looking for a contact email address, scouring social media pages and the website and not being able to find one, and have given up contacting them all together.

5.Setting up Links

This final tip for usability is a great benefit for your browser and also for your website dwell time. Set up your links to external websites so that they open in a new window. This means when a browser clicks on that link, your website does not disappear. Instead the new content appears in its own window, meaning your traffic stays on your website and your browser doesn’t have to “find their way” back to you or worse still, forget to make it back to your site at all.

What about Transferability?

When considering usability it not only important to think about who is using your website, but also how they are accessing it.

In our last post I spoke about a major market research project I have recently been involved with under the banner of MumsNow where Wise Up Marketing Solutions together with Motivating Mum undertook a survey of over 1,000 Australian Mums. (A series of reports on Social Media habits, The rise of the Mumpreneur and more, can now be purchased)

We found that Australian Mums are primarily browsing the internet on Laptops (72%), and then surprisingly equally across iPhone and Desktop PC (51%) with iPad creeping up (29%) and with a whopping 50% indicating the next piece of technology on their shopping list is an iPad, we can expect that number to grow.

So before you sign off on your website to go live make sure you check how it transfers across iPad, iPhone, Tablet and Smart Phone. Is it still meeting the key useability benchmarks? (and does it still look great?)

If you would like a second opinion on a website about to launch or one that’s not delivering the results it should, our Wise Up Online Package includes a website effectiveness audit and a 20 page report uncovering the truth about your website and indentifying how you can unleash it’s true potential.

Until next week, U is for Usability and only 5 Posts to go in the A-Z of Marketing! What would you like our next series to be on? Comment below or email maryanne@wiseupmarketing.com.au

Mary-Anne


Setting Goals and Objectives the SMART way

We have reflected many times through the ‘A-Z of Marketing’ on the fact that small business owners are time poor. When you are doing everything yourself, or with only a few people to help you use your time to get the job done, leaving not much time to plan.

Finding 10 minutes for setting goals and objectives can give a clear direction of where you are going and help keep the big picture clarified. This post will also discuss S.M.A.R.T goal setting, and give you a step by step approach to its implementation.

What are Goals and Objectives?

Goals and objectives are the desired outcomes or achievements for your business. They are formalised statements of everything you want (and need) your business to grow toward.

Goals provide a broad overall aim; they tend to be the long term, big picture. It is best to limit your goals to around 5 each year. You are unlikely to have the time or the resources to stretch further and the more you are trying to achieve, the less focus each goal receives.

Objectives are a specific aim or target that, when met, help achieve a goal. Several objectives may combine to achieve a goal.

Often a marketing objective is created to help achieve a financial goal e.g. A businesses goal is to ‘increase sales by 20% by end of 2012’, so a marketing objective is set to help achieve that goal; ‘grow mailing list to 10,000 subscribers by end 2012’ etc.

SMART Goals and Objectives

S.M.A.R.T is the acronym used in goal and objective setting; following is what it stands for and what it means to your planning:

Specific

When setting your goal or objective you need to be clear about what you want to achieve. Each goal or objective should have a single focus; that is, should only be concerned with one achievement.

What are you going to do? Grow, increase, decrease, develop, etc

Measureable

Goals and objectives are the road map for your business. If they are not measureable, it can be hard to determine if they have been achieved. A measurable goal is also easier to manage; we can check our progress and adjust our objectives to ensure we achieve our end goal.

The measurement needs to be quantifiable e.g. change in dollars, percentages, averages, counts etc.

Attainable

We all know how de-motivating unachievable goals can be, when the bar is set too high and there seems to be no possible way of reaching the goal, a majority of us will put it in the too hard basket and move on.

Set your goals and objectives so they can be achieved, but with a stretch, this will cement your commitment to the task.

Realistic

A realistic goal or objective is one that supports your businesses knowledge and skill base. It fits in to how your business works and it doesn’t require investment in time or money that is not available.

Often long term goals (3-5 year plans) are broken down into short term goals (annual plan) so that they become bite size pieces that are realistic. These short term goals are supported by objectives to give them day to day meaning.

E.g.

Long Term Goal

  • Be the #1 provider of business cards in Australia by 2015

Short Term Goal

  • Increase repeat sales by 20% by 30 June 2012

Marketing Objective

  • Increase customer loyalty by 25% by 30 June 2012 using a customer rewards program
  • Increase customer base by 15% by 30 June 2012 using a customer referral program
  • Send a promotional offer to every customer 4 times per year during the 2012 financial year
Timely

Giving your goal a deadline, draws a line in the sand. It gives you a definitive point where you have to stop and say “Did we make it?”

Whether it is weeks, months or years, a timeframe forces you to stay on track, it motivates you and for some of us last minute magicians, it’s the shove needed to get the job done.

Goal setting objective setting SMART

This infographic is great to print out and place somewhere in your work space to assist you in creating SMART goals and objectives.

To help get you into the swing of thinking SMART, here are some business goals rewritten as SMART goals

Goal SMART   Goal
Achieve   increased awareness by December 2011 Increase awareness by 5% by 30 December 2011
Grow sales to   $15k Grow sales to $15k by 30 June 2012
Increase the   market share we hold in key areas so that we are satisfied we are growing by   financial year end Grow market share a minimum of 10% in Sydney,   Melbourne and Brisbane by 30 June 2012
Increase our   profitability from $5k to $40k by December 2011 Increase our profitability by a minimum of $1k per year for the next   5 years; to be measured at each financial year end from 2012 – 2017
Get more   likers on Facebook and followers on twitter and readers on the blog Grow Facebook likers to 500 by 30 December 2011Grow Twitter follows to 300 by 30 December 2011Increase blog subscription by 20% by 30 December   2011

As 2012 approaches quickly, think of what you want to achieve. What goals and objectives will you set? Will they be SMART?

Until next week, O is for Objectives and also getting organised to grow your business in 2012.

Mary-Anne

www.wiseupmarketing.com.au


Long Live your Product (with Life Cycle Management)

Countless products are launched every year, landing in the market with a reason to be, a well thought out way to connect with the consumer and hope that the investment will pay off for the brand owner. But what comes next?

Product Life Cycle Management is the key to ensuring your brand thrives year in and year out. This post will help you understand its importance to your marketing strategy and give you the tools you need to identify the different stages of your products life cycle and strategies to maximise growth throughout.

What is Product Life Cycle Management?

I love a good analogy as much as the next marketer and this one was just too hard to resist.

Think of your product like roses in your garden, it is not enough to simply plant (your new product in the market), water it (with promotions occasionally) and expect it to flower year after year. At some point, its vitality is going to dwindle and you need to either deadhead them or dig them up and start again.

The product life cycle (PLC) refers to the stages a product travels through from launch to eventual obsolescence. Managing the PLC is an important part of your marketing strategy and guides you in adapting your approach by product, to ensure you are promoting, developing and phasing out products at the right time.

Four Stages of the Product Life Cycle

Product Life Cycle Management

1.      Introduction

This is identified as the launch stage of your new product.  Sales are increasing slowly, as there is currently limited awareness. Costs are high with large amounts of advertising and promotion required as well as the product development and production costs having been incurred.

The introduction stage will see your business operating at a loss and so this is the most critical stage in your product lifecycle, ideally  you want to move through this stage quickly. Understandably this is where the  highest percentage of failure occurs.

Strategies for success during the introduction phase:

  • Clearly define your market so that at launch you  are effectively targeting the consumer most likely to become your customer
  • Build a dominant market position, stand out from  your competition, don’t just be a “me too” product, have a unique reason for consumers to connect with over the competition
  • Pioneer something; be the first to launch, a true new product is rare but valuable (See Ideas and Innovation).
2.      Growth

Once awareness has increased and with an appropriate distribution strategy, you will identify that your product is in growth, which will be when you first break even (this will be discussed in next week’s post on Measuring Success) and begin to make a profit.

When your product is in growth, the market has accepted your product and consumers are trialling it. This is the time to increase your distribution to make sure you are matching supply of your product with demand.

During growth, naturally, competitors will enter the market. Noticing a new popular product will motivate them to launch similar products in order to capture some of the market (see Get Competitive with your Competitors).

Strategies for success during the growth stage:

  • Monitor pricing to ensure you stay competitive against new competitive offers
  • Confirm your actual customer matches your forecasted target customer and adjust your message. For example we have a launched a building and construction product for children, but on researching sales we find out it is popular amongst teens. We therefore want to ensure our marketing and promotions do not exclude teens by being too “childish”
  • Look for new distribution channels – use your sales history to sell the product in and growth your market share
3.      Maturity

Your product can be identified as being in its maturity phase when sales volume slows down and beings to plateau, that is becomes “stuck” at a certain level, stops growing and may be just slightly declining. This is the sign that action is needed or your product will begin to rapidly decline.

Products reach maturity for various reasons including competition reaching saturation, price wars giving unpredictable volume (this week’s special gets the sale) and the initial excitement for the product settling. This leads of course to a decrease in profit, both from a decrease in sales but also from an increase in promotional expenditure.

Strategies for success during the maturity stage:

  • Apple is the first company that comes to mind that demonstrates innovative product lifecycle management. Realising most mobile phone users are on 18 – 24 month contracts, Apple releases a new modified iPhone around every 18-24 months, by addressing that the current model is reaching maturity and releasing an update they effectively refresh the product lifecycle back to introduction and growth every two years. The result is a loyal following that feels they are up to date with the latest technology and will not move to a competitive offer
  • The Apple example illustrates the strategy of modify or relaunch. Create new news and interest around your product. Survey your customers (See Market Research ) to find out what is missing from your product; monitor your competition (see Get Competitive with your Competitors) and find out your competitive gaps; re launch your product to recapture market share and return your product to growth
  • Look for new users or new uses for your existing product and develop strategies to communicate and increase awareness for your product with these groups
  • Create new promotions, competitions and offers to maximise sales of your product while it is in its maturity phase
4.      Decline

This phase is identified by both a decline in sales volume and tapering off of profits. Allowing the product to reach decline should be strategic, meaning you identified the product in maturity and planned that it would not be refreshed, but instead would be deleted at some point in the future.

The choice to let a product decline can be as there is a new product planned for launch which will replace the current product but is not going to be positioned as an update or refresh.

Strategies to minimise loss during decline:

  • Minimise spending promotionally rather than trying to stimulate sales with competitions and discounts, allow sales to taper off naturally
  • Decrease the number of SKUs over time, so delete the worst performing sizes or colours first so you have a tighter offering in the market, then gradually run out of the product

The most important advice for using PLC management in your marketing strategy is to regularly review your sales volume and profitability; this is where the flags will be going up that will help you identify what stage your product is in, allowing you to plan your products life more effectively.

What stage in product life cycle is your product in? What are you planning to do, to maximise that stage?

Until next week L is for the life cycle of your products and also for the lifecycle of the rose, which evidently go from maturity back to growth every year, if only we could bottle that ability!

Mary-Anne

www.wiseupmarketing.com.au


Why your Retail Business needs a Facebook Page

Facebook pages have become the successful launching pad or website complement for many small businesses and WAHers (I am hereby coining this for “Work At Home ers”). For small businesses without a bricks and mortar presence, Facebook gives the opportunity to have a conversation and demonstrate the personality of the business and therefore bridge the service gap.

This post is going to focus solely on Facebook Pages for bricks and mortar businesses, with strategies to benefit both Retail and Professional Service industries.

This post assumes you have a Facebook page running for your business. If you don’t, please contact me at maryanne@wiseupmarketing.com.au, I can direct you to some fantastic articles and free eBooks that take a step by step approach to helping you get started.

Ask everyone – “Why not like us on Facebook?”

Once you have set up your Facebook Page it is important to let your clients know and to ask them to like you on Facebook.

  • Print a small strut card and place it on your reception counter or at your register
  • Update your business card with your Facebook page name
  • E Mail your database to announce the launch of your Facebook page
  • Add a Facebook news feed on your website homepage

Building up your offline clientele in your online space gives you the ability to extend your brand and promotional message so that it is regularly in front of your customers, keeping you top of mind.

What should your business “do” on the business page?

  • Use a profile picture of your shop front if you are in retail
    • This acts as a visual cue for your clientele. It reminds them who you are when you pop up in the newsfeed and when they walk past, too
  • Use a profile picture of your staff if you are in professional services
    • This reminds your clientele they know you personally when you pop up in the newsfeed and reminds them of the one on one relationships they have built up
  • Communicate in a style and tone that reflects your bricks and mortar business
    • Don’t be overly casual just because it is Facebook. Your Page is still a reflection of your brand and should align with your overall brand strategy
  • Post photos of new stock that has come in, stock that is on sale and people interacting with your stock
  • Post videos that are created in the workplace featuring staff and clientele
  • Educate your clientele by sharing relevant articles, think of the magazines you keep that are relevant, now look for those sort of articles and spreads online and share
  • Boast a little! Announce any awards you have been nominated for or better still, have won, congratulate staff members on achieving service milestones or on new qualifications. Keep building the sense of community
  • Announce events and invite clientele to attend

5 Ways Your Business can benefit from a Facebook Page

1.Profile Tagging

When clients come in, ask them if they have seen you on Facebook. If they say they like your page, tell them you plan to send them a shout out when they leave.

Kylie’s Hair and Nails had a great morning with Rebecca Appleton, we love your new look”

Profile tagging delivers in three ways:

1. Like a thank you card, it gives your clients a warm and fuzzy feeling of being important to your business

2. Through the newsfeed, it reminds your other clients of what you do and why they liked you

3. Through the newsfeed of your client, your business is promoted to a greater network, attracting new likes that are valuable

Always make sure you have told your client that you will do a shout out to ensure they agree. It could offend to shout out without warning.

2.Check In’s

“Check In” is usually done on an iPhone or Android phone whilst at a location. A user goes onto Facebook and selects the place they wish to “Check In” and this then broadcasts their presence across their newsfeed and on the page of the place
they have checked in.

So like a profile tag, it then means your business is promoted to the network of your client. To take advantage of checking in make sure when you set up your page you selected “local businesses and places” as your page category and entered in your full address. This allows your clientele to find you when searching and then can “Check In” when at your place of business.

Encourage “Check In’s” by offering special discounts and offers for clients who check in.

“If you “Check In” today, you’ll get 10% off”

We have developed process cards to take staff and clients step by step through the check in process. Get in touch if you would like a copy.

3.Photo Tagging

Like profile tagging and “Check In’s”, Photo Tagging also promotes your business to your client’s network. The additional benefit of photo tagging is you are promoting your products at the same time.

“Alice trying on our latest pair of Religion Jeans”

“Tom choosing between Aviators and Wayfarers, what do you all think?”

Photo tagging gives the opportunity to start a conversation between current clients and potential clients about your product range, further motivating potential clients to come and find your retail store.

4.Geographical Targeting

Another benefit you can tap into as a business with a physical location is geographical targeting. You can create a Facebook Ad campaign and target a radius around your business (smallest is currently 10 mile, which is 16km). This means your ad only shows to those who have selected their location and it falls within the radius you select. Instead of running an ad to everyone, or for example, shoe lovers, where there will be a lot of wastage, you can run your ad to shoe lovers within 16km of your retail location.

5.Reach clients outside of your location

Finally your business can benefit from having a Facebook Page by using it to extend your reach outside of your location.

Upload albums of your new arrivals, sale stock, most popular, offer free postage and free exchange for any Facebook orders. You may find you attract some new clients that your retail store could never service before, whilst also increasing the convenience for some of your existing clients to shop from home.

It is important to keep up to date as the rules of Facebook Pages are always changing; these tips are current at the time of publishing. I will endeavour to
update this post as changes occur.

Need help with your Facebook for business strategy? Our Mini Marketing Plan looks at all elements of your marketing mix and gives you strategies to grow that you can start working on immediately.

Until next week F is for Facebook and also for Frenemy (also known as your old boss)

Mary-Anne

Wise Up Marketing


Get Competitive with your Competitors

Competitors are the concern of all businesses, no matter their size. Too often we wait until sales have dropped unexpectedly or enquires are down until we look at what the competition are doing. In this post we will discuss how to get competitive with your competitors, to ensure you stay at the front of the pack and connect with your target market.

How to Identify your Competitors

When we ask our clients who they see as their competitors, they always have a list of 3 or 4 businesses offering the same or similar product or service. When we do our competitive analysis as part of our Mini Marketing plan, we generally find quite a few more.

Why the difference? As a business owner, when you look for competitors you tend to think as a business owner. “My business is selling flowers online. What other major online florists are there?” When we identify competitors for a client, we
think like a consumer “My mum’s birthday is coming up, what could I get delivered to her?” All of a sudden we find fruit baskets, chocolate hampers and gift vouchers as competitors for our online florist.

We see most businesses as having two types of competition:

Direct Competitors

These are the companies offering the same or similar product or service. These are our most obvious competitors, but not always our biggest. E.g. Gilette vs Schick Razor, Cornflakes vs Weet Bix, Channel 7 vs Channel 10 etc

Indirect Competitors

These are the substitutes for our type of product or service. These are not always as obvious and are where we need to think like our consumer and understand the options available to them. E.g. Razors vs Wax Strips, Cereal vs Toast, TV vs
watching a DVD etc

So to identify your competitors, consider the substitute categories too and you will have a more complete idea of who your competitors are.

Update your Market Analysis

Many businesses start off with a Business Plan or a Marketing Plan or some points in a notebook on how they could turn their hobby into an income stream. As part of this planning process, formally or not, we tend to do a Market Analysis.

We ask ourselves:

  • Where does my offer sit in the market?
  • Is there demand for it?
  • Are there competitors? Are they doing a good job?
  • Is the market saturated with offers or is it fairly open for a new entrant?
  • Is that market a good size or is it small and niche?
  • What are consumers willing to pay?
  • What is my competitive advantage?

We do a fairly thorough job in attempting to answer those questions. We launch our business and we rarely reassess. When we ask our clients who they see as their competition, they stop and think, they even do
some fresh research and overwhelmingly we hear “Wow! Now that I’m looking I’ve noticed a few more have popped up”.

We recommend a scheduled maintenance program (just like servicing your car)

Competitor Analysis Schedule

Don’t Get Mad, Get Even

Just like when you launched and took share from other players, new businesses are launching all the time and a few are after your piece of the pie, these competitors want to take your consumers and make them their own.

If you follow our scheduled maintenance program above, we are sure your top 5 list of competitors will be constantly changing and we are sure you will find new entrants that look and sound surprisingly (and frustratingly)
like they are trying to be you!

It’s a compliment really; they are competing with you because you are on their top 5 list. Your business is being perceived as successful, credible and desirable and so you are a threat.

The best way to get even is to be even better at what you do. With our scheduled maintenance program, every month you are going to review your top 5 competitors and as part of that you should look at:

  • What part/s of their offer is stronger than yours?
  • What part/s of their offer is weaker than yours?
  • How are they promoting?
  • How many touch point’s they have? E.g. Website, Storefront, Blog, Twitter, Facebook Page, Newsletter
  • How you can stay up to date with their touch points E.g. Subscribe, Like, Follow, Visit

Then take that information and learn from it. Learn how to put your own spin on what you see as working well for the competition. For example, if you are an online florist and a competitor has just put up a section on what flower for what occasion, think how you could implement a similar page, but in a way that it reflects your brand and its communication style.

Competing with your competitors requires you to invest time in monitoring the competition regularly. At a minimum, aim to do the annual review – you’ll be glad you did! We offer a thorough competitive review a part of our Mini Marketing Plan package and sometimes it really works to have an outsider look in with a fresh perspective. Get in touch if you’d like to know more.

Until next week C is for Competition and also for creativity.


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