Tag Archives: marketing plan

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

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New Products and your Marketing Strategy

New products are launched in droves every year and the simple reason is that nothing sells like ‘new’. New product development (NPD) should form a key part of your annual marketing strategy, with the need for new ideas and innovation to keep your business competitive.

This post will help you through the new product development process, to ensure you create new product that complements your current portfolio, fulfils a consumer needs and meets profitability expectations.

What is a New Product?

Well to start off cryptically, a new product doesn’t always have to be new at all. Further, there are few products that are truly ‘new’; most are a new version of something else that already exists. (I’m telling you that to take the pressure off a bit).

New products can be:

  • An existing product with a new feature or twist
    • E.g. GHD Hair straightener, now cordless
  • A product line extension
    • E.g. Cherry Ripe being extended into a Cherry Ripe Sundae
  • A redesign of an existing product
    • E.g. Mazda 6 2011 model vs 2009 model
  • (and least commonly) A new product
    • E.g. The rain triggered awning for your clothes line

Identifying a Need for New Products

In an ideal world, small business would have enough time to mimic its corporate sized comrades and spend a month every year, undertaking a complete review of marketing and promotions strategy and developing a marketing plan for the following year.

We know however that in small business, time is consumed doing business and not necessarily developing business. The likelihood of you sitting down to an annual review is slim (if you can find the time, check out our service plan in Get Competitive with your Competitors) so you may find that for your business, identifying new products happens on an ad hoc basis.

Reasons why you may need a new product can include:

New Product Development (NPD) Process

In my last corporate role, I spent three years as Brand Manager working 80% on NPD. It would take up to 18 months from initial idea to development to product to the product appearing in store. The problem with big business is that there are so many people who have to sign off, that things can move very slowly. The motivation here for you and your small business is that with a good idea, you can be quicker to market; and with less overheads, be more profitable too.

5 Steps for Small Business NPD

1.Identify the market need

  • It is not enough to want to launch a new product because competitors are closing you out of the market or because your current product is slowly declining. You need to identify a market need. What can your new product bring to the market that consumers want or need?

2.Develop a prototype and cost it

  • A prototype can be as simple as drawing a picture with measurements and specifications, or sewing up a sample, or mixing up a batch, to as complex as working with a factory and paying to have a sample produced.
  • Developing a prototype is usually the step that precedes costing; once the prototype reflects what the product needs to look and perform like, you are then able to compile the cost to produce it.
  • When costing up your product, if it something you plan to make yourself, make sure you include a labour cost into your calculation. You may not pay yourself for every batch of cupcakes you make, but one day you might expand and need to pay someone, in which case you want that built into your cost.

3.Analyse your profitability

  • Once you have developed your prototype and costed it, you now need to set a retail price and assess profitability
  • You will want to set a retail price that allows you to wholesale it profitably. Again at first it may not be your plan, but you want to make sure you can profitably take this path if the occasion arises. Have a look at How to Measure Your Success  for tips on how to calculate Gross Margin and Wholesale Price.
  • A tip is to calculate your Gross Margin using the Retail Price, to give you an idea of how much you will make when you sell direct and then calculate using the Whole Price to calculate how much you will make if you wholesale. You want to be profitable at both points. Generally you should make around 50% gross margin when you wholesale, although as a small business you may be prepared to accept less.

4.Refine your new product

  • Based on the profitability you may need to remove elements from your prototype, seek out cheaper materials or brainstorm new ways to produce your product to have a profitable new product.
  • You should test your new product idea, if you can, with your target market to ensure it does meet a need and the purchase price is accepted. This can be through your Facebook page or design a survey through Survey Monkey and incentivise competition e.g. Complete the survey for your chance to win a $20 voucher.

5.Plan your launch

  • Assess if you need to run any existing products out, before launching your new product
  • Create a plan to tell everyone about your new product. It is essential you shout about your new news; use your social media accounts, send an email to your subscriber list, feature it on your homepage, send out media releases.
  • Run a promotion that benefits all your products, using the new product to boost overall sales. E.g. 50% off any other product when you buy our new personalised coffee plunger

New product development is an important part of your marketing strategy. ‘New’ brings consumers back to your brand giving them something different to look at; it keeps you competitive and growing and most importantly, it can have a halo effect on existing products.

Are you planning any new products for 2012, how did they come about?

Until next week, N is for New and also for planning your New Year ahead

Mary-Anne

www.wiseupmarketing.com.au


Business Jargon 101

Starting out in small business, we all find ourselves in conversations; whether they are about marketing strategies, sales strategies or just a ‘getting to know you’ networking chat, before you know it someone drops a 3 letter acronym and off your mind wanders trying to work out what on earth it means.

Welcome to Business Jargon!

This post will get you up to speed on the most common abbreviations and buzz words so you can drop your own J-bombs and feel nice and smug.

10 Useful Business and Acronyms

We marketers are by nature a talkative bunch, so it seems somewhat surprising that we want to shorten anything. However the temptation to create a three letter abbreviation gets the better of us. I remember starting at Revlon and being handed a glossary of terms for the business where they recognised they used so many acronyms that they had created a beginners guide!

  1. SEO Search Engine Optimisation – making improvements to your website so that it indexes high in search results
  2. SOH Stock on Hand – how much of your product or product components you currently have in stock
  3. WAHM / WAHP Work At Home Mum / Work At Home Parent – the extremely talented and overstretched business owners who run their business whilst wrangling toddlers, calming babies and making school lunches
  4. PPC Pay Per Click – online advertising where you are only charged when a user clicks on your advert. The ad will appear in the advertising network for free.
  5. CRM Customer Relationship (or Retention) Management – your marketing strategies concerned around getting repeat business. Think of FlyBuys as a classic CRM program.
  6. CMS Content Management System – a tool that lets us non-technical people create & update web pages without knowing HTML
  7. B2C / B2B Business To Consumer / Business To Business – used to classify your business type by who your end user is
  8. ATL / BTLAbove the Line Below the Line Marketing Above The Line / Below The Line – seen most often in job advertisements for marketers! The theoretical line separates the communication types. Traditionally ATL is mass media promotion such as TV and Print, BTL is more targeted promotions such as direct mail and in store promotions.
  9. eDM Electronic Direct Mail – preceding this we always talked about DM (Direct Mail), so cleverly a lower case e was placed in front, to play on eMail. eDM is when we email out promotional offers to our customers and potential customers
  10. UGC User Generated Content (which I would also class as a Buzz Word) – is all about interacting with your target market and letting them take (some) control of your brand and its activities. UGC can take the form of customer’s blogging on your behalf or customers uploading photos and videos to your social media spaces

10 Business and Marketing Buzz Word Definitions

Once you manage to navigate the acronym mine field, the next biggest jargon challenge you face are buzz words. These words change from year to year, but once a buzz word is deployed it seems to reach celebrity status with everyone finding an excuse to cram as many as possible into one sentence.

business marketing jargonWorking on a Brand Strategy document with a group of co workers last year we did our best to come up with the most powerful sentence possible. It went something like “We need to think outside of the square to leverage any white space opportunities, whilst fully capitalising on any low hanging fruit”. Understandably this was after days of workshopping and being fairly over it. I just came across this game from Malcom Auld which could have helped us get through. Click here to play along.

  1. Low Hanging Fruit – I believe I was exposed to this phrase in 2009. Unfortunately the person who used it paired it with a squeezing two imaginary pieces of fruit hand gesture, making it hard to keep a straight face
    when later repeating it. Low hanging fruit are the easy wins – the opportunities that will take minimal effort for you to action.
  2. White Space – Arriving in 2010 to replace low hanging fruit as the ‘must drop in a sentence’ buzz word in the office. White space (which I liked to whisper for dramatic intent) is the gap in the market; it’s something that no one else is doing and gives you chance to grow the market in both size and your share.
  3. Think outside the Square – We all know what this one means but it doesn’t stop it from being used, almost redundantly to suggest we need to be creative to solve our current problem. We need to come up with a solution that everyone else isn’t doing.
  4. Mind Shift  – Whether it is our organisation or our consumers, we often talk about needing a mind shift. A mind shift needs a different approach to thinking inside our business or it’s about our consumers being educated about a new way to meet their needs which will become their new norm.
  5. Blogosphere – Is the realm where all blogs exist on the internet. It sounds more impressive than straight out saying that.
  6. Reputation Management – Tracking what people are saying about you online and proactively responding to feedback, to ensure your online reputation is positive and reflective of your brand.
  7. Exit Strategy – This is the plan of what to do with product in the retail environment if it doesn’t sell. A new retailer may want to know if there is an exit strategy as part of their trading terms. The economic downturn really brought out exit strategy as a buzz word in sales meetings.
  8. Customer-Centric. We talk about creating a Customer-Centric business, meaning we want to focus on our customer, be the solution to their problems and put their needs as the objectives we need to meet.
  9. Webinar – Ok so this is a little less buzz word and a little more of a buzz strategy. A webinar is a seminar or presentation held on the web. Think of it as a mass video conference. People can watch from anywhere and it is usually available for viewing after the live event.
  10. Viral Marketing – Creating and executing a promotional element that is so exciting that it is sent out by consumers through their networks (In
    other words spreading like a virus!)

Buzz Words are always evolving and today’s hot ticket quickly becomes passé, so if you want to talk the talk be sure to keep up to date on the latest buzz words.

Now that you are up to speed on what’s what, we would love to help grow your business with our Wise Up and Grow report, where you fill out a BAT (that’s our Business Analysis Tool) and we give you some great advice on your SEO, help you identify your Low Hanging Fruit and think outside the square to ensure your CRM is on track.

Let me know if you have any great buzz words or need a 3 letter acronym demystified.

Until next week J is for Jargon (thanks Melanie) and also for the Jigsaw puzzle (thanks Katrina) we are all putting together as we Journey through the A-Z of Marketing

Mary-Anne

www.wiseupmarketing.com.au


Ideas and Innovation: Brainstorming for Small Business

Coming upon “I” in the A-Z of Marketing, I have to say, I was lacking inspiration (oh hang on there’s an “I” word); I didn’t need just any “I” word, I needed an “I” word that had something to do with Marketing and Small Business. Then I had an idea! Actually, the idea came to me during a swim, which is where I find a lot of my ideas start, so I decided to dedicate this post to Ideas.

The ways in which ideas can be generated and the techniques of pushing ideas past the barriers of what we know until we reach innovation are both paramount in keeping your small business at the top of its game.

Where do Ideas Come From?

“An idea is nothing more nor less than a new combination of old elements.”  James Webb Young

It always seems that there are some people who are just “full of great ideas” and others who are not. Ideas are our subconscious processing inputs and coming up with solutions, so it’s no surprise the more we sit and try to think of a great idea, the further and further it gets from our reach.

We all had an idea when we started our business, an idea of what we could offer a group of people that would be different in some way to the other options available. Had we sat down and thought, “I want to start a business, I just need a good idea” it is more than likely that we would have come up with nothing. But perhaps days later, when out on a walk, or having a shower, the idea would pop into our mind, as if out of nowhere.

So there lies the power of the subconscious. I read an article years ago and the crux of it was, to come up with a great idea, pose a question to yourself, then go and do something completely unrelated and with any luck your subconscious will do the rest.

But what do we do when the ideas won’t flow?

How to Brainstorm

Brainstorming is a creativity process where a group tries to find a solution for a specific problem by gathering a list of ideas spontaneously contributed by its members. It is a technique for finding alternatives to a problem. It is usually undertaken in a group setting, as the dynamic allows each new idea to generate other ideas, summed up best by the phrase “bouncing ideas off each other”.

To allow ideas to flow, some say it is best to follow the “rules” of brainstorming:

  • All ideas should be initially accepted without judgment or criticism. Negativity is a road block for idea generation.
  • Ideas can be imaginative and impossible. Take a “no holds barred” approach, it is easier to later refine ideas than to make them more unique.
  • Don’t limit the number of ideas generated; keep the flow until there are no ideas left. The more ideas that are generated the more likely the right idea will have been unearthed.
  • Allow each idea to be combined, improved and expanded.

I found brainstorming works best in a group environment when you use a large writing area. Draw a big circle in the middle of the space and write your problem, each idea then branches off, ideas can be joined together and new
ideas can branch off existing ideas. This is also known as a mind map (especially useful if you only have yourself to brainstorm with)

What is Innovation?

Like milk and baby’s nappies, new ideas don’t stay fresh for long. In our post on Getting Competitive with your Competitors we talked about the need to adjust your strategy annually to stay ahead of the competition.

The ideas we have for our products and services when we start out may not be the best combination for ongoing success 12 months later. This can be due to competition, the consumer evolving or saturation in the market. In marketing we know nothing sells like new! Having worked as a Brand Manager for two international cosmetic brands, the power of “new” always amazed me. Mascara sales would peak at +50% when we introduced a new variant; perfume sales would peak at +25% when we added a limited edition to a current product. “New” gets people excited and it gives them a reason to buy again.

Innovation is the process of becoming better or more effective; it is striving to stay ahead, to be first amongst competitors, to deliver solutions to needs consumers may not have even realised. Innovative products create demand and instead of fighting to take a bigger slice of the existing pie, they expand the pie in size and then claim a bigger slice than was originally available.

Brainstorming for new ideas often leads to innovation; it is open minded, unrestricted problem solving approaches like this that allow innovative ideas to come through. To innovate we ask:

  • Is there a better way of doing this?
  • Could this product do more than what it does now?
  • What are other industries doing, is there learning’s we can use from these?
  • What is the ultimate version of our product or service?

In the Jack Collins book Innovate or Die, he says simply to ask:

  • What can be added?
  • What can be taken away?
  • What can be adapted?

And renowned management writer Peter Drucker gave us three conditions that must be met for an innovation to be successful:

  • Innovation is work. It requires knowledge, ingenuity, creativity, etc. Plus, innovators rarely work in more than one area, be it finance, healthcare, retail or whatever. This work requires diligence, perseverance and commitment.
  • To succeed, innovators must build on their own strengths. They must look at opportunities over a wide range, then ask which of the opportunities fits me, fits this company. There must be a temperamental fit with the practitioner and a link to business strategy.
  • Innovation is an effect in economy and society, a change in the behaviour of customers, of teachers, of farmers, of doctors, of people in general. Or, it is a change in a process, in how people work and produce something. Innovation must always be close to the market, focused on the market, and market driven.

The benefit of bringing innovation into your business is that it gives you an edge. You will not have to compete on price and you will not be concerned when new businesses emerge mimicking your offer.

We understand how hard it can be as a small business owner to brainstorm and even more so when your business is just you, but the opportunity to bounce ideas off others is invaluable. Make sure you take advantage of networking both online and offline to help you draw inspiration, develop new ideas and innovate to keep your business moving.

We also offer an email support program we call the Business Bounceboard, which allows for unlimited email support and advice. It’s a great way to get input on new ideas and be pointed in the right direction when you get stuck.

Until next week I is for Ideas and Innovation and hopefully for adding a little inspiration.

Mary-Anne

www.wiseupmarketing.com.au


The Decision Making Process of the New Consumer

What did we do before Google, Facebook, Twitter, Trip Advisor, You Tube and everything in between?

The ability to research has become quicker and easier than ever before. As consumers we are presented with not only an increase in information, but also the falling away of geographical barriers to purchase.

The new consumer is influenced less by what they are told and more by what they uncover. This post will look at the decision making process of the new consumer and how to use the internet and social media to connect from awareness to purchase and beyond.

Traditional Decision Making Process

Marketing theory has traditionally painted the consumer decision making process to move through 5 stages, with strategies to maximise the opportunity to attract and maintain the consumer through each stage. The process has looked something like this:

  1. Need recognition. When the consumer feels they have an unsatisfied need, this creates a motive to act.
  2. Identification of alternatives. Consumer research begins; this might include different categories to fulfil their needs as well as different brands or providers.
  3. Evaluation of alternatives. The consumer compares their options; they might seek out offers, opinions of friends, relatives and respected bodies.
  4. Purchase decision. With the decision made on what to buy, the consumer will now make a series of small decisions including where, when and how, until the actual purchase is made.
  5. Post-purchase behaviour. The consumer will either be satisfied or dissatisfied with their purchase.

Think back to the late 90’s when the humble DVD player launched. Your decision making process went something like this:

  1. Need Recognition: Saw an ad on TV or in the newspaper about DVD players and how the quality of DVD is far superior to that of Video. Thought about never having to rewind a video again, this motivated you to learn more.
  2. Identification of Alternatives: Looked at catalogues and at Harvey Norman and found out there were two brands you could choose from.
  3. Evaluation of Alternatives: Talked to friends who had bought a DVD player about what brand they got and what they thought, talked to a few salesman about the different brands, read an article in Choice magazine.
  4. Purchase Decision: After deciding to buy a Panasonic DVD Player, you reviewed the newspaper and catalogues and decided to go to Harvey Norman on Sunday and buy their advertised deal.
  5. Post-purchase behaviour: You watched your first DVD that you hired and felt satisfied that you just eject it and return it.

The Online Effect

Fast forward to the year 2010 and you hear some buzz about a new personal computer called an iPad. Let’s review the decision making process:

  1. Need Recognition: You saw Steve Jobs on the news talking about the iPad, your friend also sent you an email with a You Tube clip of a leaked iPad, your friends are debating on Facebook which store they will camp at for an iPad,
    iPad is trending #1 on Twitter. The hype is getting to you and you can’t imagine not being able to have your photos, music and apps for business everywhere you go.
  2. Identification and Evaluation of Alternatives: You go on the Apple website and read about the different sizes available and that you can also choose to have Wi-Fi compatibility. You don’t even consider any other brand as you are an Apple devotee. You check out blogs in the US of those who got an iPad on pre release, read reviews on how much space you might need, you sign up to Optus and Telstra to find out what their data plans are. You sign up to Apple to be notified when they are releasing the iPad.
  3. Purchase Decision: You order your iPad online and it gets delivered to you on the day it launches. You get the 32GB with Wi-Fi.
  4. Post-purchase behaviour: You sit on the couch and update your status on Facebook to say how in love you are with your iPad, you Tweet that you can’t work out how to get your wireless printer working and post on an Apple Forum how your iPad has completed your world.

With the increase of information, we see the identification and evaluation of alternatives merging into one step; they are done concurrently as the consumer gathers information from multiple sources.

How to win the New Consumer Over

I love this illustration from Orbital Alliance: I look at it to draw ideas for marketing to the new consumer. I see this as the new consumer decision process; the online stratosphere has increased the information available to consumers. The inputs are greater than ever before and (literally) at their fingertips.

My tips for maximising your connection with the new consumer

  1. Increase Awareness
    1. Optimise to be seen in search results
    2. Use social media to create a brand name
    3. Use pay-per-click advertising to get in front of your consumer
    4. Advertise in popular newsletters of complementary businesses
  2. Maximise your Consideration
    1. Make your homepage work harder (you only have seconds to convince them to stay)
    2. Use a blog so your consumer can get to know you better
    3. Make your offers clear and easy to understand
    4. Use press releases to ensure there is hype about your product on multiple platforms
  3. Convert to Sales
    1. Offer service that your competitors don’t (or can’t)
    2. Reward regular purchases
    3. Add value (don’t just try to cut the price)
  4. Compel to share
    1. Asks for reviews and recommendations
    2. Use Social Media to thank major customers

The new consumer is just like you, they have changed a lot in the last 10-20 years. Don’t lose sight of how differently you make your decisions as a consumer and make sure you are adapting your business approach.

How has your business evolved to maximise the new consumer? Our Website Effectiveness Audit gives a third-party review of your website and helps you ensure you are maximising awareness and consideration to help you
convert sales. Click this link for more information – Package Info

Until next week, D is for Decision Making and also for … the coolest Alphabet Book that I just bought for my son’s birthday

Mary-Anne

Wise Up Marketing Solutions


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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