Competitive Messaging Defined
August 2, 2011
This article is the first in an ongoing series on competitive messaging for startup and expansion stage companies.
Prospects buy from you — and customers buy more from you — when they perceive that your company, products, and/or services are better than those of your competitors. One of the best ways to enhance this perception is to develop competitive messages that will truly resonate with your customers and prospects. Effective messages convey your competitive advantage – all of the things that create unique value and set your company apart from the competition.
To develop effective competitive messages, you must:
- Segment your prospects and buyers into distinct groups with similar needs and purchasing criteria
- Analyze all the deliverables you offer in order to develop a good understanding of your competitive advantage
- Craft a preliminary list of competitive messages based on your deliverables
- Find out, through market research (preferably via a third-party firm), which of these messages are the most important to your customers and prospects
- Use your findings to craft the final messages
- Re-evaluate your messages on a regular basis and make changes when warranted
This series will help you create effective competitive messages so you can increase your perceived value in the marketplace and win more customers.
Competitive messaging defined
Competitive advantage is what separates your business from your competitors. This advantage over competitors is gained by either providing greater value to customers or by offering greater benefits and services that justify higher prices. Competitive advantage is what keeps your business alive and growing – it’s the reason you’re in business.
Unfortunately, very few senior managers can accurately communicate their company’s unique value to their customers. Typically, when asked, a company’s leaders can spit off generalized statements indicating where their company stands within the marketplace, but many times those statements do not truly resonate with prospects and customers.
Being able to articulate why your company is different through competitive messaging is an essential component of an effective marketing strategy. After all, your unique value statements will most likely appear on all of your marketing materials (e.g., website, blog, e-newsletter, etc.) and be used throughout the sales process.
Competitive messaging doesn’t always reflect your company’s strengths or product features, as those types of statements may only explain why you exist. Often, prospects and customers don’t really care why you exist. It’s your job to find out what they do care about and craft messages that will speak to those concerns, making prospects and customers want to learn more and eventually buy your product.
The best messages are typically based on specific characteristics, actions, or behaviors that set you apart, and the only way they will separate you is if your prospects and customers believe your messages and believe that you offer unique value.
Continue to Part 2: Competitive messaging benefits at the expansion stage