Whatever the market is for your business, whether your company is a start-up or established, you want to follow a strategy that will take you from one in the crowd to head of the pack and set you on the course for leadership.
This is not rocket science. But sometimes companies become so enamored with their product/service that they lose sight of the customer’s viewpoint.
Study your Market
You should be regularly researching your customers’ needs and trying to anticipate their wishes. The head of a California company once said, “People here are different.” But the fact is that people everywhere are motivated by the same human desires. Every customer wants to know, “What’s in it for me?” Listen to the feedback and act on it.
Trends matter to keep your product/service relevant. Maybe it’s time for a packaging change. Remember how chewing gum used to be a stack of sticks? Now it comes in a flatter pack that fits easily into pockets without bulging. The Internet wasn’t always a major resource for customers and “going green” wasn’t as critical as it is today.
How about your competition? If you want to win a battle, you need to know your adversary’s strengths and weaknesses (as well as your own), so your strategy of attack can be most effective.
Develop a Solid USP
What can you offer that your competition can’t deliver and that customers will want? That is the essence of USP or Unique Selling Proposition. Lowering your price won’t work because the competitors can follow suit. Consider, for instance, why you like flying with one airline versus another. Your product/service has to stand for something, not necessarily a concrete feature. You want to create a perception among customers that your company excels in delivering a particular user benefit, ideally the only one to do so or the one to do it best.
Go for Non-Stop Innovation
There is no resting on your laurels, even for the number one in your category. The marketplace changes rapidly and your company has to keep up to stay in the running. Become the “Apple” of your market. That means firing up the troops. Provide inspiring leadership internally. Encourage creativity in the workplace. Develop ideas that will make competitors say, “Why didn’t we think of that?”
Focus on One Image
Once you set your course for the suit department, forget about side trips to see what’s in casual wear. Stay focused on presenting a consistent image for company. If yours is the fun market, make every communication related to your company look fun. If you’re after the upscale buyer, give your company a style and attitude that fits that segment. Target, target, target. Don’t try to please everyone, only those who count.