It’s practically the new year and many of us are looking to wind down, but as any good business owner knows – the market never sleeps.
There’s always new ideas waiting to be found, created, and brought to reality, but it’s up to those of us that are ambitious to make it all happen.
If business has been slow, or even if it’s been crazy lately, maybe a new marketing strategy is a smart business move for the new year. After all, there’s always room for improvement, and the only question is: where?
Fortunately, the answer lies somewhere where you can already see it. Competitive advantages – do you have them? Of course you do, but do you utilize them as a marketing tool, and if so, are you utilizing the right ones?
Sit down for a minute and evaluate your business…
Do you have stellar customer service, do you do house calls, do you offer some sort of perk or package that other places just can’t match?
Brainstorm for a while and see what you come up with when you focus on the idea of competitive advantage. Get a list of 10-20 things that make your business stand out, even if it includes things other businesses similar to yours already have.
It’s okay to be the same as your competitors in some aspects so long as you can differentiate in others. Focus on service to start. Typically, the most marketable feature of a business is the way it goes about conducting its customer service.
Does your business in particular stand out in anyway when it comes to service? Do you do free consultations, give away samples, give demos, sponsor regular customers with freebies, or anything else out of the ordinary?
Now start to think urban. Get creative, let the blood flow…
Does your logo look like an everyday object that one might pass by regularly on their way to the office? Does your competitive advantage come directly from your product itself, and if so does anything locally abundant match the shape of your product?
Basically you’re looking to place your business or product in direct contact with it’s potential customers, but in a subtle, alluring way. Wait a second…is this guy talking about guerilla marketing?
I sure am. Did you think this blog was about marketing through tv, radio, print, branding, etc? Well you were wrong!
Although all of those things work well in their own ways – and trust me they do – they also can be quite costly. The new year is all about a fresh start though right, so why go with the old, overdone type of marketing when you can bring something to the table that sparks some real conversation about you business, whether good or bad.
Guerilla marketing isn’t always frowned upon, but sometimes when the media gets a hold of a guerilla story they can portray it in a dimmer light than the one you had when you came up with the idea. That’s okay though, because the point of it is to garner the attention of your local, potential customers. If the idea is clever enough, the media won’t give it bad coverage, and if it finds a way to twist the story, it will only bring about more curiosity.
Odds are you aren’t even bringing in nearly as many people as your business would attract if somehow everyone knew about it. No one business completely captures and ends up selling to all it’s potential buyers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to!
Maybe a guerilla campaign just isn’t your thing though. That’s fine too, but that doesn’t mean you can’t think of a clever way to display your product as superior to others or inventive, and unique in its own way. Even if you sell something that many other people do, there are always ways to differentiate and bring light to your competitive advantages.
Take a look at some of these photos of great marketing ideas put into action and think about how your business could do something similar to make its potential customers see that they might have need for your product or service.
Here we see a car insurance company made genius little cutouts that fit over the wheel wells on a vehicle. The cutouts show the axle and brakes of the car with its wheels missing and give the illusion that the tires have actually been removed. This is done by designing the background with the look of a street.
The cutouts are usable on essentially any vehicle and force the potential buyer to investigate. Upon investigation they find they aren’t in trouble, but even if just for a split second they were most likely worried about the situation actually being reality.
When they inspect further they see a small ad for the agency who placed the cutouts and if all goes well they question their current insurance and contemplate if adding to it or switching agencies is a smart move.
What’s awesome about ads like this is that they give off a vibe of creativeness and intelligence, and those who interact with the ad are more than likely to associate your business, it’s model, and your service with that same type of intelligence and innovative quality. That in itself – is its own competitive advantage.
The ad speaks in many different ways and it’s extremely relevant to what it’s trying to market or sell, which in this case is vehicle insurance.
Side note: the best part about this type of advertising is that it’s CHEAP. On top of that it draws more attention than a weak radio spot or a short tv commercial if done right. Talk about cost effective – this type of marketing takes more effort more than money in order to produce.
Time is money, but when you’d be spending time AND money creating any other type of advertising campaign, it’s clear that this is a much more frugal option, and potentially a much more viral one too.
What about this one? It doesn’t take much to print out a couple of those posters and get a couple of those pixel-looking dogs made. The most you put into this is the time you spend moving the ads to various places around town in order to find those missing customers you’ve been searching for.
The campaign here is simple – the dog is cute, but if it had been recreated from a picture from the camera being advertised it would’ve been a lot more vivid. This speaks to the quality of the camera; you don’t even have an example of what it can really do, but for some reason you’re intrigued and imagine it to be far more superior any other camera, as it suggest that other products will give you an outcome similar to the pixelated dog you are seeing.
And how about this coffee ad? The company realized that your average city trash receptacle is much like a coffee cup. In order to incorporate the fact that they were designing the ad around a garbage can, they question the potential buyer, “coffee taste like crap?”.
The ad screams: “Hey! don’t drink garbage coffee, come to our place and get something way better than this.” Once again the marketing tool used here is that they are making the people who see the ad assume that the quality of all other competitive products is trash compared to that of their product, which you have no example of, but the ad is so provocative that you believe their suggestion to be true.
What kind of cool ideas can you come up with to demonstrate the superior quality of your product or service? That’s the goal here, and if played right, one can score big time! Spend some time evaluating your business instead of just spending money on it and you will surely reap the benefits! Good luck!