This question weighs heavily on the minds of consumer marketers, but many B2B marketers don’t seem to recognize competition until it is too late. The earlier you address this challenge, the better. Here are few dos and don’ts to consider:
- Build a “Brand” mindset into your marketing strategy early. It is easier for your customers to remember what you stand for than to remember your innovation.
- Test your business model often, especially if you sell through distribution or have vertical competition. Don’t let your value chain control your value deliver.
- Freshen your understanding of your served markets and your competition. Constantly look for new markets and adjacent technologies.
- Don’t talk about what your innovation is, but focus on what it does and how that benefits your market. Give your customers an opportunity to win with your innovation.
- Don’t let your innovation get stale, be willing to cannibalize yourself. Better you than your competitors. Staying fresh keeps your customers fresh.
- Don’t sit on your innovation. The more options you bring your customers, the more they will see you as something more than a “supplier.”
- Never let your marketing and innovation tools get rusty; hone them. Keep investigating the new tools, but also don’t become enamored with the next new thing unless you can define the new benefit.
Most importantly, ensure you are managing all the elements of your marketing mix, those 5 Ps (Product, Promotion, Place, Price, and People). Keep them additive and interdependent. Never change one without knowing the impact of the others. Don’t raise prices alone just because you think you can.