Understanding Your Marketing Competition When Creating a Branding Strategy
Why does marketing competition matter so much? Research shows that consumers need to see somewhere between five and seven physical impressions before they’ll remember a brand. That fact can motivate a business to invest in a branding strategy. Strategic branding can increase your company revenues by 23 percent.
Do you want to create a branding strategy for your company? The first step to creating a branding strategy is to understand your marketing competition.
Check out this helpful article on how to get started and we’ll also show you how this understanding can help grow your business.
What Does “Branding” Mean?
Branding includes any name, symbol or unique design that can distinguish your goods and services from the competition. Consider your branding as what others are going to say about your business when you aren’t even in the room.
When you have mastered these basics of branding, you will have created a lasting impression in your customers’ minds and be front of mind when they’re looking for your services or products.
Your branding strategy shouldn’t mirror what everyone else’s brand on the market looks like. Words, color and shapes all matter when it comes to competing in business.
Your branding game plan should be designed with the goal of standing out above whatever competition in business you may have.
What Does Competition in Business Mean?
Competition in business means those other companies that target the same market segment as your business with similar products. Market competition inspires a business to increase its sales volume by manipulating four basic categories of marketing. These four components include:
When these four key components are united effectively, they can promote a company’s unique branding strategy and help it rise above its competition.
What Types of Competitors are There?
There are three types of competitors in business. These types include:
Direct Competitive Business
These are the companies that promote the same services or products, to the same clientele, to the same sales territory as your company. AT and T Cellular and T-Mobile are an example of direct competitors. Both sell cellular phone services and products in the US.
Secondary Competitive Business
These companies will offer similar (but different) services and products like yours but are targeting a different customer base within the same territory as you. Gucci and Old Navy are examples of secondary competitive businesses. One clothing market sells high-end garments, the other sells affordable, off the rack garments.
Substitute Competitive Business
These companies offer different services and products than yours to the same clientele within the same market territory. Examples of substitute competitors are Weight Watchers and McDonalds. Both companies are competing for the same customer base, but for a different outcome.
How to Research Your Marketing Competition
Once you know these levels of competitors within your territory, you’ll be able to start creating your successful branding strategy. Follow these steps to know what your competition is all about and how you can stay competitive within your markets.
Gather Your Data
Use the 4 P’s referenced above to gather the following data on each of these three types of competitors:
Buy your competitor’s product and try them out. Were there particular features that you liked? Who do you think supplies their parts?
How do their prices compare to yours? Do they have a return or discount policy? Can you guess how much it cost to build each product?
Who are your competitor’s target markets? Where do their company brochures say they are frequenting the most? Who is commenting on their website or social media platforms?
Ask your competitor’s customers what they like most about your competitor. Then ask them where they first heard of their products and also ask your competitor’s distributors if they have any opinions about your competitor’s sales strategy.
When you have this raw data in hand, you can then begin to do your own SWOT analysis to find out what keeps your competitor in business.
What’s a SWOT Analysis?
SWOT is an abbreviation for “strength,” “weakness,” “opportunity,” and “threat.” A SWOT review of a competitive business will help you create a better understanding of how they make their business decisions.
Start by analyzing your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses. Are they expensive? Do they have high visibility in your mutual sales territory? Do they have top-quality people working for them?
With this review in hand, you’ll be able to identify how you can design your branding strategy to emphasize their weaknesses and counter their strengths.
Speak With Your Competitors
Make it a goal to personally know your competitors. This way you’ll collect important information on their decision-making styles and how you can set yourself apart from them in the market place.
Don’t be surprised if some actual friendships begin to form from these conversations. Even though two companies compete with each other, it’s not unusual to refer customers to each other. You may even see an innovative partnership or two form when it comes time to launch a special project.
Pinpoint Your Competitive Branding Advantage
With your SWOT results and conversation outcomes in hand, you’ll be able to identify the competitive advantages the other companies don’t have. Now you can start to build your branding strategy accordingly.
Don’t think that your strategy should be all about what others are doing. You’re using this wealth of information to leverage your competitor’s weaknesses and show customers why your product is a better solution to help solve their problems.
Ready to Understand Your Marketing Competition? Let Us Help!
If you’re ready to understand your marketing competition, begin with identifying which are your direct and secondary competitors. You can also start with your own SWOT analysis. When you have a list of what your competitors are good and bad at, you’ll be able to see a clear path on how you can differentiate your services from theirs.
Follow your competitor’s conversations on social media. What kinds of answers are they giving out? Visit their booth at any common trade shows you both may attend. Chat them up and you just might discover their distinctive selling proposition.
We’ll also share our on-demand marketing experts who can give you the support you need to grow your business and move with confidence. Give us a call today!