Competitive Positioning through Gifts of Information

December 9, 2009

Remember how competitive positioning used to work?

We had some product or service that was so different, or we had some inside intelligence or patent that made ours the go-to brand. The goal was always to keep this expertise within the company, and never let our customers or competitors get at it.

Those were the good old days.

Today, everything can be copied. Your products and your services, no matter how unique, will never give you a true competitive advantage because they can always be duplicated.

Today’s competitive positioning is about one thing – how well we communicate. Don Schultz, known by many as the “father of integrated marketing”, has said for years that the only aspect of your business that can’t be easily replicated is how you communicate with your customers and prospects. Just look at the competitive positioning of Southwest Airlines or Starbucks…it was never really the services, it was always the culture…the communication.

The Real Competitive Advantage

Competitive positioning in 2010 begins and ends with sharing your expertise. Delivering ideas (gifts) so helpful, so creative that your customers and prospects are motivated to share this information with others. That means creating a content strategy with your customers’ informational needs at the center. That means sharing your expertise on blogs, through white papers and eBooks, with webinars or webcasts, through articles or podcasts. Find where your customers are at and actively give them your expertise.

If this sounds completely opposite of former best practices, you are correct. The old competitive positioning meant we hold on to our expertise. Today’s competitive advantage is in sharing this content everywhere our customers are at, positioning us as the trusted solutions provider.

What if you were known as the trusted, expert information provider for your industry? What would that do to your competitive positioning? 

This guest post was written by Joe Pulizzi, founder of custom publishing-matching site Junta42 and co-author of the book Get Content Get Customers. Joe can be reached at joe[at]

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