Listening to John Oliver’s take on Net Neutrality, he brought up how Comcast and Time Warner compete with each other – Comcast does not offer their services in a same state if Time Warner is already established in that state and vice-versa.
While this ‘arrangement’ is good for these companies, it isn’t good for the public. Creating a monopoly comes with a high price for the public. The biggest cost is no choice, which means you will pay top dollar for that service. In addition, monopoly controls the messages you receive and gives power to other companies that you may or may not want to support.
Living in Quebec is no better, all we have is Bell and Videotron.
As a small business, how does this information help you to reduce the competition’s position with your target market?
Competing as The Small Company
Target a certain location: Just like Comcast and Time Warner, target a certain state/province or city and own it. Get the local media to notice you, build a community and know your target market intimately.
Go where the competition is not: It may take more work to enter a new market. If the competition is not serving it, take the time to review it carefully because this may prove to be a great opportunity for your business. Remember, if you are unsure about how to move forward, call us!
Implement pricing strategy: There are certain pricing strategies you can implement to get ‘in the market fast.’ Of course, like everything else, you need to do your analysis first before implementing this type of strategy.
Collaborate for collective impact: A growing trend is putting aside self-interests and collaborating with competitors and other leaders in your industry to build new products and advance shared objectives. A perfect example of this collaboration is with the top 12 Public Relations Firms in Canada; they got together and created a council to promote the business of public relations. At the same time, it helps to advance their shared objectives, keep and win clients.
Increase your marketing budget: You’ve heard it before. You want to get ahead of the competition, then promote the heck out of your company!
Develop processes & Invest in technology: Processes or marketing operations can make or break your budget. Technologies such as CRM, email platforms and websites that connect with each other help track the customer behaviour and provide analytics that will help you scale your company.
Clearly define your value proposition: Most of us don’t spend enough time finding out what makes our company unique. For example, you need to answer these questions: What do you promise? More importantly, can you keep your promise? Why should your target market listen to you? Buy from you?
Customer Conversations: Once you’ve started to get clients, have you stopped to talk to them? Ask them why they bought from you, or why they left you for the competitor? Customer insight is invaluable.
What Not To Do
Create a pricing agreement with competition: While Comcast and Time Warner’s market entry planning looks more like a pre-agreement than strategy, I suspect they didn’t call each other to agree on pricing. Price fixing is against the law.
Promote your company as the only guy in town: Just like Comcast and Time Warner, they never promote, “Hey, we’re the only cable company in Boston!”. Instead they advertise, “Switch to us!”
Trash the competition: Don’t, just don’t. You’re company won’t look good and you’ll put too much attention towards the other guy.