I get contacted by sales people all the time asking me if I would like to attend their events. Oddly and they all seem to use the very same sales pitch. If you receive these calls, then I assume you have heard this sales pitch too:
“Your competitors are attending!”
It is basically going back to the old phrase:
“Everybody’s doing it” and reminds you of:
“if everybody jumped off a bridge would you too?“
Now this sales pitch must be very effective because it is repeated, over and over again.
So why does this technique work for sales people?
I would be lying if I said that when sales people said that my competition was attending that I didn’t have the immediate urge to attend as well. I am a very competitive person, I believe that my company should have ALL the business and not share any prospect or revenue. (realistic, I know)
Even part of me wants to attend just to single-handedly make it a worse event for my competition. But then logic kicks in. Asking questions such as; is this profitable? Is this the best way to spend the budget?
When I ask myself these questions, I am quick to talk myself out of attending.
See, if I am going to invest thousands of dollars of my marketing budget and take employees away from their day-to-day activities, I want the ability to grab leads and close them quickly without them knowing about my competition.
Just think about it, the instant your competition is at the show, is the instant you will have to get in a discussion about how you compare to your competitors, this prolongs the sales cycle and not to mention probably significantly lowers the conversion rate (assuming your competition is comparable is some way).
Sometimes if the show is large enough, or has the correct audience.. maybe. But most likely, I am leaning towards “no”.
Emotion from competition plays a huge role in our marketing strategies.
Think what you do the instant you want to optimize your site? You go to your competitor’s website and see their meta description to help you come up with keywords, then implement it to your own. This is common practice, but when you break it down – You are actively looking for keywords that are not easily obtainable.
What do you do when you have copy writing issues? You go to your competitors’ marketing materials and see how they talk about their product and copy it. This strategy completely ruins any product differentiation and tends to hurt you rather than help.
Lastly, you look at your competitors; paid search and go afters similar keywords. Now you get to go head to head and pay more per word! Great way to optimize a budget. (totally kidding here)
I am not saying that you should not look at your competitors at all, but I am saying do not base decisions off of it.
In undergrad (go Drake Bulldogs!), I had a creative advertising professor that said, “not all agency ads are good ads.”
At the time we all dreamed of working for agencies and admired all the work that came our of these creative firms. My professor said this to outline that, just because someone is doing something.. doesn’t mean it is done correctly.
I believe this also applies to your competition. How do you know that the content your competitor produces is worth copying? How do you know the keywords are the best ROI? And how do you know their PPC campaign is even profitable?
The truth is, due to our competitive nature – we make assumptions.
Companies actively choose to go head-to-head without making decisions based on their own data or customer base.
This thought process leads to entire industries to have minimal product differentiation, which then just leads to a battle on price. If you are a very large company with buying power, maybe this is the battle you have always wanted.
Although for the vast majority of companies created, I doubt their mission statements are
“To beat [insert competitor here]”
Most companies set out to be different, they find a niche or weakness in the industry that allows them to quickly grow.
We all start with the creation of a great SWOT analysis to know how we stand out from everyone else. Those that succeed are the ones that actually stick to their niche; building brand loyalty and creating clear product differentiation.
You can do the same, it just means that you do not allow your competitor’s actions to be your guiding light for your marketing strategy. To truly stand apart from your competition, find out who your ideal customer is, understand their pain point., learn how to talk to them, and continually try to improve their brand experiences.
By using your own factual data, you will see an increase in product differentiation, lower cost per customer, and speed of your sales cycle due to your honed in the approach of your customers’ needs.
Nobody subscribed today…
It’s your turn to stand out!