When I was much younger, I had the opportunity to study the martial arts. Like most kids, I was there for one purpose only – to be a ninja. While I hoped to punch a few bad guys and swing the nunchucks, my instructors had something else in mind. They wanted to encourage discipline and confidence when confronting an adversary – specifically, larger and stronger opponents.
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As a small business, you too may have visions of grandeur, however, there may be a bigger and more dominant competitor standing in your way. How do you win when facing this harsh reality?
Some marketers feel compelled to go after a stronger rival head-on, slugging it out in hopes of eking out a victory. But there may be a more sensible way of dealing with the giants in your industry.
Let’s review a few ways to sharpen your fighting-style:Strike Pressure PointsIt’s not a surprise that a huge, multinational conglomerate can sell things at rates lower than most. If you find yourself losing the price battle, shift your focus to smaller, yet vulnerable areas. These areas can include: carrying boutique items, faster service, better location, stronger warrantees, accurate knowledge of customer needs and more.When dealing with a competitor’s strength, forget about landing a knockout blow; instead, look for smaller, incremental victories.Be AgileLarger companies tend to be slower in responding to things such as new technology, news or consumer opinion due to bureaucracy. Use their lag time to your advantage. Think of ways to be “first” in key areas and garner customer trust. When the bigger guys finally catch on, you’ll be a few steps further.One Inch PunchLarger organizations can often afford to market effectively in many places. To follow in their path with a limited budget will only lead to lukewarm results. Instead of spreading a thin marketing budget around several projects, focus on one thing at a time. In other words, be deliberate in your marketing and concentrate your strike on a single target; the impact will be substantial.Don’t Fight At Their DojoIf you discover that your larger rival is buying up many of the ads on a certain station or publication, search for an alternative – a place where your product or service can shine without distraction. When you compete on the turf of a major opponent, many of your dollars will be spent on playing catch-up rather than developing a relationship with your audience. It’s quite simple; opt for being a big fish in a smaller pond.
You’ve probably gathered that successful small business marketing is more about skill rather than brute strength. So if you find yourself dealing with a behemoth, know that victory hinges on your ability to fight in an intelligent way.
Walter Dailey is a former ad agency partner and experienced marketing professional. He is the lead consultant and executive producer at Dailey Sound Vector Media, a creative services organization that specializes in developing commercials, jingles and marketing campaigns for small businesses throughout North America. Ask Walter your questions firstname.lastname@example.org