In my previous post How to Improve Marketing Messages with Competitive Advantage I discussed how many B2B companies struggle with developing marketing messages. Today, I'm going to talk about some solutions.
When creating marketing messages, the goal is to avoid vague and generic statements. Instead, focus on answering these two questions:
- Why is your company different from the competitors?
- Why are you the best choice for your clients?
If you’re still struggling, here are 5 steps for defining your competitive advantage:
- Appoint a champion – Assign a champion to spearhead the development of your internal team, prep briefing documents, and facilitate meetings and workshops. Hiring a third party may be the best solution, because it provides an objective outside perspective and allows everyone internally to participate.
- Gather key stakeholders – Form a team of no more than ten stakeholders that represent each of your organization’s key functional areas (e.g. senior management, sales, engineering). This team can integrate their knowledge and expertise to define your company's competitive advantage.
- Hold workshops – Workshops are an effective way to gather key members of your team for the purpose of having a focused discussion. The champion can set an agenda and share it with the team prior to the workshop. The number of workshops your company should hold depends on the culture, on whether or not you’ve established a strategy, and to what extent the strategy and the company’s current points of differentiation are understood.
- Prioritize attributes – Develop a list of attributes you often use to describe why someone should work with your company. Common attributes include: customer service, reputation, innovation, quality, knowledgeable staff, etc. For the top 3, brainstorm a list of reasons why your company stands out against the competition when it comes to that attribute. For example, customer service, the list can be generated by asking How quality do you respond to customers, do you provide any training/knowledge sharing to customers, how many customer visits/contact hours does your team deliver annually?
- Validate the list – Once you have a list of possible competitive advantages, validate them by asking prospects and customers which ones are most important. The objectivity and expertise of a third party can assist with the interviews by vetting the statements and prioritizing interview findings.
Now it's time to work on refining your marketing message. Often, this requires some wordsmithing, quantifying statements by gathering data, and comparing the statement against the competition to ensure the messages are unique and specific to your company.
For more information on developing a marketing strategy, including competitive advantage, visit our Services page or call us at 416-598-4684 and speak with Lisa Shepherd.