When you spend time looking over your marketing materials you should continually ask yourself, “How does this marketing piece distinguish us from our competitors?”
The easiest way to answer this question is by answering another question. “If I were to take someone else’s logo and replace it with the logo on this current piece of marketing collateral, would it make a difference?” In more instances than not, the answer is no. The reason is because most promotional pieces are centered on the services or products provided, not on the experience created or the brand message.
So how can you ensure you don’t commit the brand message faux pas in your marketing pieces? It starts by taking the time to figure out what truly makes you unique from other businesses. As you begin this process, categorize things about your competitors. I recommend three categories:
1. What can you learn from your competitors and do better?
If there are cars in your competitor’s parking lot, they are doing something right. It is naïve to think that they are under-performing you. Do not fall into the trap of complacency with how things are done in your business. How can you take ideas your competition is doing and innovate upon them to make you more unique? What areas of your business are you currently lax in that could use revamping to ensure you stay the market leader?
2. What are your competitors doing worse than you?
When you find gaps in how your competitors are doing business, exploit those gaps in a positive way for your business. In many instances, customer service can make the winning difference between businesses that thrive and those that fail. Use customer testimonies and stories to your marketing advantage.
3. What are your competitors doing the same as you?
Much the same as you should be assessing your competitors, your competitors are probably also assessing you and incorporating your great ideas into their facilities. What unique things that you once offered no longer set you apart? How can you improve these things to maintain your competitive advantage in the market place.
Once you have analyzed these three areas, create a marketing message that distinguishes you as the “go-to” business in your area. Note that if you have businesses in multiple markets, your message in each market may be different based off of the competition and your current strengths in that market.