MARKETING TIP #116
Running Past Your Competition

Businesses need to be proactive while the economy is correcting itself. Believe it or not, this economic climate is great for building your brand and market penetration. The strong will survive and thrive when it corrects; unfortunately, the complacent will fall.

"Athletes often choose times of stress to mount attacks: strong runners and bicycle racers may increase their pace on hills or under other challenging conditions" to beat out weaker opponents during the most difficult leg of their race."

- According to Gary Lilien and Arvind Rangaswamy of Penn State's Smeal College of Business and Raji Srinivasan of the University of Texas in their paper Turning Adversity Into Advantage: Does Marketing During a Recession Pay Off?

I've been talking with senior business leaders who concur that this is the time when businesses rise to the top and are one step ahead of competitors when the economy bounces back. But they also caution that this takes an extremely focused strategy as buyers are more discerning with their purchases.

Does your messaging speak to your buyer? Is the information what they need to make an informed decision? When was the last time you analyzed what's working and what's not?

A targeted approach to branding requires targeted planning, including:

Adjusting your message to match your audience.
Segment your clients and prospects. Make sure the right message goes to the right audience and that the call-to-action is beneficial. Make sure the message is meaningful and strengthens your brand. Have you done a brand assessment lately?

Reaching your audience on their terms.
Understand what tactics your audience responds to and at what frequency. Through web analytics and buying patterns; they're telling you how to communicate with them. Have you done a market assessment lately?

Reinforcing your competitive advantage.
Know what makes your company special and stick to your core values. Reinforce your unique selling proposition in your messaging. By earning the unbiased 'implied third-party endorsement' of editors, Public Relations can help establish you as an authority. Have you done a PR assessment lately?

Outsmarting your competitors
Pay attention to how you are positioned against your competitors and how buyers interact with them. Be aware of your conversion rate versus your competitors. Gaining more of the audience's attention may be as simple as emphasizing your added-value program. An integrated marketing strategy can communicate these benefits quickly and easily while showing a return on your investment. Have you done a competitive assessment lately?

Above all, branding is a building proposition. Whether we're in an economic up or down, it's important to keep it rolling and keep in front of your target audience.

North Star Marketing has been building brands since 1989; we've been through rough economic times with you and we understand how to thrive during them. Each of our clients has different needs and we have the resources and experience to develop an effective integrated marketing strategy - branding, interactive, public relations - that will put you ahead of your competitors today and tomorrow. Give me call at 717-392-6982 or email bsmith@northstar-m.com.

Here's a recent quote from one of our new client:
"Thanks for all you have done for us so far. North Star has done more for us in two months than the last two agencies combined!"

Best,
Bowen Smith
Executive Vice President

P.S.
Sign up for our Web Trends 2009 Summit. See you there.

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