Competitive Messaging Benefits at the Expansion Stage
August 9, 2011
Key benefits of competitive messaging. This article is part of an ongoing series on competitive messaging for startup and expansion stage companies.
Once you have a good understanding of what competitive messaging really is, it’s important to go through the process of identifying your competitive advantages, conduct research to see how customers and prospects rate those advantages in terms of importance, and craft competitive messages based on your findings. These practices will help you:
Understand exactly what your target prospects care about. You’ll find out what your target prospects want by hypothesizing important purchase criteria and then testing it until you get it right.
Differentiate your company from the competition so you don’t have to compete on price. If your company cannot answer the “Why Us” question, why would your prospects want to buy your product? If this question is left unanswered, almost all purchasing decisions will be based on price.
Improve your sales and marketing productivity. Using the right messages gives you the opportunity to differentiate your company from the competition in a succinct and meaningful way, making your products and services easier to market and sell.
Measure how well you are communicating your value proposition to improve your messaging over time. If you perform this practice regularly (e.g., annually), you’ll be able to measure and adjust your messages over time as the market changes.
The prospect and customer research also will help you:
- Understand how your company maps up against the competition, which will help your product development efforts.
- Understand the awareness of your company and its products as well as the awareness of your competitors, which will help youadjust the communication channels you’re using to reach your target prospects.
- Understand the effects that your current marketing efforts have on the perception of your company and its products in the minds of your target prospects.
Competitive messaging as a company-level strategy
Once you’ve identified what you deem will be effective competitive advantage messages, you’ll want to roll them out throughout the entire organization and make sure they appear in all of your marketing materials. You’ll want all employees to use the messages in their daily conversations and for the sales team to use them during the sales process. You’ll also want your employees to be thinking about the messages as they work to make improvements in the company. This will help make the reality behind the statements even stronger. The more your employees have the messages in mind, the more they will try to align the company to those messages.
To be successful in rolling out your competitive messages, you’re going to need complete buy-in across the company that you got the messages right. If you don’t have the buy-in, you won’t get the messages out. Because of this, you need to make this practice a company-level strategy and involve the right people from across the organization.
The CEO and the rest of the executive team must buy-in to the value of the research, determine the long- and short-term strategic goals for the research, communicate the importance of the practice to employees, and dedicate proper resources to the effort.
At the executive level, this means:
- Setting the long- and short-term goals
- Appointing an internal manager to oversee the process
- Approving an approach and plan that is right for the company
- Properly resourcing the effort
- Communicating the importance of the initiative to the entire company
- Reviewing the results and making adjustments on a regular (e.g., annual) basis for each segment
Continue to part three: Processes, roles and metrics for competitive messaging
Stay tuned for more information on developing a competitive messaging strategy for your company.