Ask the Experts | Marketing Through the Competition

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Question: What marketing plans work best for a company that is flooded with competing companies?

Gary Elekes; Founder, EPC Training:

Every marketplace is well known for being unique and tougher than any other marketplace. If I had dollar for every time I heard that from a contracting client I had, I would be flying around on Wally’s private jet right now. The fact of the matter is, every marketplace has lots of competing companies. Every marketplace has contractors that are pretty good at pricing and also contractors that are unaware or uneducated about pricing. Those companies are typically low cost and make us all look a little overpriced in our pricing presentation.

I don’t care if that’s LA, Phoenix, New York City, Orlando, or Chicago, everyone’s got lots of competition. We’ve got to quit worrying what’s going on with the competition and start worrying about what’s going on inside our company. We’ve already talked about tuck-ins, that’s one strategy. But the number one strategy is club agreements. You need fifty percent of your customer database to be on a club agreement. You need to be at no less than one thousand per million or fifteen hundred per million, club agreements within your database. This creates an optimization for profitability. You have to work at that process, it’s an internal and external process. It’s both technician training and having a club program, but it’s also having a culture established that identifies that.

The third component of that is external marketing – lead generation – to be able to go out there to find and replace customers. I think the difference is a brand promise that’s strong enough and compelling enough that customers want to choose you. When I advertise and market, I’m in the marketplace against a lot of other people and there’s a lot of static out there. It isn’t just our competition, its competition around the holidays with retailers. There’s lots of other advertisements going on. The consumer, someone actually consuming in the marketplace, has to be willing to click on your ad or read your direct mail piece or they have to be willing to listen to that radio commercial.

So compelling creative is great but your call to action also needs to be great. You have to have some unique brand promise that makes someone actually want to call you. We ultimately sell four things: we sell ourselves, we sell our company (our brand and reputation, we sell our products or services, and the fourth thing we sell is the money. You’ve got to solve that matrix with respect to your advertising campaign. At the end of the day, being competitive in the marketplace is about controlling what you do internally first, and then going out in the marketplace and being unique.

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