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Creating a competitive marketing strategy begins with research and evaluation. The features and benefits of a company's products or services needs to be identified. Analyzing the competition and how its products or services are positioned in the mind of the consumer is fundamental to developing a competitive marketing strategy. A firm needs to come up with a creative approach to communicate how its products are different and create a superior value for the consumer.
The foundation of any competitive marketing strategy is the identification of a target market. It is important to determine what type of customer will most likely be attracted to the firm's products. Besides the type of customer, it is crucial to identify segments that are large enough to sustain profitability. A firm may need to identify more than one profitable segment in order to form a sound strategy.
Gathering information on how that segment lives, including lifestyle preferences and demographics is important to be able to appeal to them and stimulate their interest. A firm will want to know how to reach that segment, how to advertise to them and what their needs are. For example, manufacturers of organic, natural toothpaste are keenly aware that the product is only going to appeal to a smaller, niche segment. This means that the toothpaste will need to carry a premium price, highlight its exclusive benefits and be distributed in specialty high-end retail locations or be sold through specialty mail catalogs.
In this case the manufacturer has developed a competitive marketing strategy that feeds on the health needs of some members of the overall population. They may be deeply concerned about additives and preservatives in commercial toothpaste. This segment is willing to pay a higher cost for a product that will not expose them to artificial chemicals. They may have interests in physical fitness, the outdoors and health food and may frequently shop in small, privately owned health food stores.
Any competitive marketing strategy seeks to differentiate a firm's products from its competition. This means that the firm is going to have to thoroughly understand its direct and indirect competitors and find some angle or need that is not being met in the market. For products that are mature or have a great number of substitutes, this can prove to be more difficult, but not impossible. For example, some manufacturers of spaghetti sauces position their product as having better taste and fresh ingredients while others emphasize its general appeal amongst all family members.
Essentially, a competitive marketing strategy seeks to serve or appeal to a particular set of consumer needs in a superior way. The product or service has to communicate some sort of value to a particular group of consumers. Commonly referred to as positioning, this activity states the main benefit of choosing the firm's product or service over a competitor's. It is usually a strength that the company possesses relative to the competition, such as personalized service or an exclusive location.