Tag: Marketing

Creating Separation from the Competition Step by Step

Football season has officially kicked off and you’ll be hearing a lot about wide receivers needing to create separation from opposing defenses to get themselves open. Same applies in business…you have to put a little distance between you and your competitors so you can get out in front of them and make your breakaway.

So, how do you go about creating this separation from your competitors. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the one thing that you do amazingly well? What makes you unique in the way that you do it? Are these 2 things stuck in the past or the way of the future?
  2. Who, specifically, is your target audience? Do they know you for the things you describe in your answers to the questions above?
  3. Who is your competition?
    1. What is your position on the ladder in this space?
    1. Does your competition know you exist?
    1. What are your competitors doing successfully/unsuccessfully?

Once you answer these questions, pick the one thing that makes you unique to your customers and separates you from your competitors, carve out this niche with your target audience…and then run a giant truck through it! It really isn’t much harder than that.

If You Ain’t First, You’re Last!

Ricky Bobby famously said this in the movie Talladega Nights, “If you ain’t first, you’re last”. Now, that might be a bit extreme, but being first can make a big difference.

ricky bobby

Consider this…all brands in a category have rungs on a ladder. #1 tends to have 1.5 – 2X the share of #2, #2 is 1.5 – 2X  that of #3, etc. Of course this varies, but pretty amazing how much it plays out. Think about examples like:

  • Fast Food Burgers: McDonalds vs. BK vs. everybody else
  • Internet Seach: Google vs. Bing, Yahoo, etc
  • Smartphones: Samsung vs. Apples vs. everybody else
  • Coffee Houses: Starbucks vs. Dunkin’ Donuts vs. everybody else, etc.

Ricky Bobby was right that being first is a big deal, but if you can’t be first in a category, set up a new category…Bert Hinkler was the second person to fly across the Atlantic… Amelia Earhart was third, but she was the first woman.

If somehow you find room for yourself to be first in a new category, pick a name that can work generically: Advil (ibuprofen), Tylenol (acetaminophen), Q-tip, Band-Aid, Kleenex, Jell-O, Saran Wrap, Crazy Glue, etc…that will give you a much longer life and create that separation between you and the competition.

When considering when to try and insert yourself in the mix, consider that it is even better to be too early than to be too late. It is better though to be first in the mind than first in the marketplace… even if you are late to the market you can still be first in the mind.

So, get out there and be more like Ricky Bobby…”Shake & Bake”!

Again, if you haven’t read either of these, do it (I’ve borrowed liberally from both…these guys are brilliant!)…

Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout

22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout