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quite simply, is placing your product or service in a certain way in
the consumer's mind."
In this competitive environment if we fail to differentiate our services
and products from our competitors we will always be seen as a commodity.
To become less of a commodity and a business where people seek us out
we can position ourselves by following the 9 strategies below:
- Develop your
niche - Look for a niche that your competition is not filling. For
example, one travel agency specialized in being the travel agency
for Hollywood Production companies. By going from a general travel
agency to a specialized one they tripled their income.
- Know your competition
- To stay ahead of the game you need to constantly be evaluating your
competition. By knowing the competition you can; copy success, determine
where you have the advantages, and learn from their successes and
failures. To evaluate your competition focus and compare yourself
on the 6 P's --- price, promotion, packaging, personnel, place and
- Understand your
customers - There is no issue more important to you than knowing your
customers. There's an old saying, "Determine the wants and needs of
your customers first then work backwards to develop the products and
services. The feast is determined by the consumer not the chef." Only
by knowing the wants, needs and demographics of your customers (age,
sex, income, geographic region, lifestyle, etc.) can you truly position
- Develop your
unique selling proposition - What is unique about your services and
products over the competition. It could be something as simple as
longer hours, getting back immediately by phone or a more complex
unique selling proposition such as a niche.
- Offer exceptional
customer service - This is one of the main ways to separate yourself
from the crowd. In fact, Time magazine in a recent article stated
that the #1 marketing strategy for companies in the year 2000 and
beyond will be customer service. To move your company to the next
level follow these 6 guidelines to keep customers for life; be reliable,
be responsive, be credible, have the appropriate appearance, show
empathy, and have a great attitude.
- Work your strategy
- Give everything a chance to work. Many companies develop their marketing
plans and don't allow enough time to see if a strategy is really working.
Thoroughly analyze and review your strategy before you lightly discard
- Stress benefits
- "What's in it for me" is what the client is thinking about. What
can they save, gain or accomplish by using your product or service?
- Develop a business
plan - A business plan simply asks, where am I going and how am I
going to get there? The plan will help you focus on where to position
your product or service.
- Become a "little
bit" famous - By writing articles, getting on television and radio
and teaching at local universities you position yourself so people
see you as the expert.
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