A firm's competitive strategy is traditionally owned by the marketing department. It includes how to persuade customers through messaging, pricing and targeting. Marketers must research the proper keywords and price ranges to include online, in ads and in marketing collateral. Putting in the time on this research gives a company a strong competitive advantage because it knows its messaging will resonate with the target market.
Perform online keyword research to learn how potential customers are searching for solutions in your industry. Using a tool like Google's AdWords Keyword tool, you can simply type in your company's website URL and it will populate a list of keywords being used to find your site. You can also manually type in a list of keywords having to do with your company, and the tool will show you other keywords commonly being searched for to find companies within your industry. ClickZ states you should use the most popular keywords in creative concepts, messaging and copy writing to help your target audience find you online. Doing so will give your online marketing strategy a competitive advantage.
Segment your market to provide targeted offers that meet the needs of each segment. The University of Delaware defines market segmentation as the process of dividing a total market into groups of people who have similar needs. The University of Cambridge states that marketing segmentation allows companies to tailor their marketing messages to be more persuasive. It also allows a company to create a narrower competitive scope and dominate the niche markets it is targeting.
Conduct price testing to find the amount that wins you the most sales. It may seem obvious to price yourself low to stay competitive; however, some consumers will equate a low price with low quality. At the same time, pricing yourself too high may mean alienating part of your consumer base. QuickMBA states that raising or lowering prices may give you a temporary competitive advantage; however, conducting price testing will provide long-term advantages. ClickZ states that price testing can be time consuming but ensures you're not leaving any money on the table. To conduct price testing online, simply use an marketing tool like LiveBall or Unbounce to create two or more web pages for the same product that show different prices. Then use the tool to split the incoming traffic between the various pages in real time. The tool will have a simple button you can use to adjust the percentage of traffic sent to each page. Whichever price converts the most web visitors into customers is the price you should set for the product.
Differentiate your company from competitors through feature sets. Periodically improve existing features, add new features or create an entirely new version of the product. The University of Cambridge states that differentiation is rewarded by consumers with a premium price. Create features that consumers value highly and market your company as uniquely positioned to meet these needs.
- ClickZ; How Keyword Research and Competitive Search Fuels Display Campaigns; Hollis Thomases; Feb 2011
- University of Delware: Chapter 9: Market Segmentation
- QuickMBA; Porter's Five Forces: A Model for Industry Analysis; 2010
- University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing: Porter's Generic Competitive Strategies (Ways of Competing)
- ClickZ; Price Testing: Are You Leaving Money on the Table; Tim Ash; February 2011
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images