Know Your Company: Develop
a clear vision for your organization. Define what it does, how it does
it and what it stands for. Base your vision on a broader view of what
your products or services actually are rather than just how they work.
Since people buy solutions, articulate what problems you help solve.
Communicate your vision consistently through advertising, packaging,
pricing and customer-service policies.
||Know Your Customers: Define
who buys and who influences the purchase of your product or service.
Know who uses it and how it is used. Develop a process for tracking
and reporting all relevant sales data. Find out what your customers
and prospects want by asking them, either through informal polling or
formal research studies.
||Know Your Competition: Learn
everything you can about the competition, including their mission and
objectives; how they position, manufacture, price and distribute;
which markets they serve; and what their strengths and weaknesses are.
Start by shopping your competitors, or asking your customers
and suppliers about them. If the company is public, become a
shareholder in order to gather information.
||Create a Competitive Advantage:
Competing effectively in challenging times involves creating, managing
and exploiting assets and skills that competitors find difficult to
match or counter. Developing this advantage is a continuing process,
not a fixed event. The key is to build unique core competencies that
customers want, so you can leverage them to develop new products or go
after new markets. This ability helps firms achieve economies of scale
and scope across geographic areas and business units.
||Focus on Customers: Let
dissatisfied customers know that their complaints don’t fall on deaf
ears and that their problems are taken seriously. You can turn a
negative customer experience into a positive one by sending a
replacement item (or refund), along with a personal note of apology
and some additional item of value. This unexpected extra – which can
be a coupon, product or discount on a future purchase – can
transform an unhappy customer into a loyal one.
||Build Customer Loyalty: Every
business seeks satisfied customers who return again and again because
they trust its product or service. Their repeat business comes at a
much lower cost than that of someone who must be constantly enticed
In addition to working on core product and service attributes that
build customer loyalty (such as treating each customer as a valued
individual), businesses must work on such issues as instilling a
helpful staff attitude, delivering on advertising promises, developing
a favorable return policy and providing accurate product
||Target Market Segments:
Divide your market into niches, segmenting it by
age, income, product type, geography, buying patterns, customer needs,
lifestyle and psychographics. Understand which segments have the
greatest growth potential and which of your products/services serve
them best. Emphasize these niches in your marketing efforts.
||Engage in Growth Initiatives: Identify
opportunities such as geographic expansion or new target markets.
Enter those markets using the most effective method (e.g., strategic
alliance, outsourcing, direct). Where risks are high and/or adequate
internal resources are unavailable, search for a partner who can join
in developing a cooperative venture. Select partners with
complementary resources and appropriate strategic intent.
||Create Buzz: Spread
news about your products and services through marketing that moves,
grows and persuades everyone it touches. A variety of devices can be
used, including topical surveys or newsworthy events.
||Stay Flexible: Competing in challenging times requires a
continuous rethinking of current strategies. Strategic flexibility
gives any firm the ability to respond quickly to changing conditions
and thereby develop and/or maintain a significant competitive edge.