Compete to Win
Learn the keys to unlocking your competitive advantage
By Kim T. Gordon
Why should customers do business with you and not a competitor? If you can't answer that question quickly and easily, you may be losing customers and market share. It all comes down to what's called your "competitive advantage" -- an essential component customers value -- and it's something you do differently or better than your competition. A strong competitive advantage is the differentiator that makes customers want to buy from you. And this point of differentiation should be the central theme in all your marketing messages.
A true competitive advantage relates directly to a benefit customers value that's unique to your organization. What benefit do your customers or clients get from your small business that they can't realize elsewhere? Choosing the right competitive advantage boils down to understanding what your customers want. It's not about what you offer, but instead it's about how the customer benefits because of what you offer.
It's also imperative to examine what your competitors consider to be their competitive advantages so you can position against them. Take a careful look at their marketing materials to discover the unique benefits they promise. Once you understand what your customers value most and the benefits your competitors use to differentiate themselves, you can get out of your old "me-too" marketing rut and define your own unique competitive advantage. Begin by examining these four primary areas:
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