Jenn T. Grace, the Professional Lesbian

I teach straight people how to market to gay people. If that's you, you are in the right place! I will help you get inside the mind of your potential LGBT customer.

Thinking Outside the Box: How to Define Your Competitive Advantage (Part 3 of 6)

Thinking Outside the Box: How to Define Your Competitive AdvantageThis is the third post in a 6 part series. The first post was titled “Maximizing your LGBT Outreach with a Solid Plan,” if you haven’t checked that one out, go back to it when you are done here. In that post we discussed 5 questions to ask yourself to help create a solid plan and strategy for reaching the LGBT community. Today we are going to talk about the second question from that post, “How will I position myself differently than the competition?” To help you determine what makes you stand apart – you need to first understand your business and the competition. The first step is to do a SWOT analysis. This process will help you determine your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as a company.

 

Let’s go through each part of a SWOT analysis briefly. What you want to do when answering each of these questions is answer them from both your perspective and your customers perspective. So let’s jump in.

 

1What are your Strengths?

Take a look at what your company does. Where are you really strong? Are you in an industry that has fully automated customer service and you are one of the few that still provides live customer service? Is the customer service you provide out of the park outstanding and your customers rave about you because of it? Those are some examples of strengths. Don’t forget to look at this from the customer stand point too. Find out from them what they think makes you strong or better than the competition. It might be something you hadn’t thought of.

 

2 What are your Weaknesses?

Just like the first question, take a look around and see where your company is weak or could use improvement. Perhaps you are the company with poor customer service and your competitors are running laps around you. Perhaps your brand name isn’t as strong as some of the other players out there. Or perhaps your product costs more to produce than the competitor so you have a higher price point. Find a way to turn a negative into a positive. For example, if you have a higher price point than your competition, position yourself so that your company is so good and your customer service is so amazing that the price point is not the sole thing your customers fixate on. Rock star style customer service will go a long way.

 

Three Things we know about Jodie FosterWhere are the opportunities?

Think of it this way – your competitors weaknesses become your opportunities. If your competitor is ignoring an entire market segment of people that’s an opportunity for you. Set up a specific campaign and target the audience they’re missing (Ah hem – the LGBT market!) If your competition has terrible customer service, that’s an opportunity for you to blow them away with amazing customer service. Remember, if you are viewing your competition’s weaknesses as opportunities they are doing the same towards you so don’t make it easy for them.

 

4Where are the threats?

You must be constantly assessing the threats around you. You need to keep your finger on the pulse and know what is happening in your industry and what your competitors are up to. If your competitions market share keeps rising but yours is flat – find out why. What are you doing or not doing that is causing this to happen? If your competitors have exceptionally happy customers, don’t ignore that. You don’t want your customers jumping ship to be with them – make sure you are keeping them just as happy, if not more.

 

Break it into two

If you are feeling really adventurous you could do two separate SWOT analyses. One focusing on your perspective and another focusing on the competition. The benefit to breaking it out is that you can have separate team meetings (if you have a team) with very specific agendas. The first to go over the competition. Find out from your team what they think about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the competition. They may see things you missed. You can focus the dialogue around how to be better and do better for your customers. Then you could take the other SWOT that is focused on your company and have a separate meeting to discuss efficiencies within the organization. How to save cost, produce a better product or keep your customers happier.

 

This is really a broad overview of how you can use a SWOT analysis to help uncover ways to improve your business and your marketing efforts. If you came to me with this information already thought out and said “We need your help,” it would make my job (or any other marketers job) a bit easier because you’ve done some of the legwork. This is a great start for creating an all-star strategy. Putting together a marketing plan doesn’t have to be super scary, you just need to take it bit by bit and try not to become overwhelmed by the task at hand.

 

Looking for the other parts of this series? Catch up on them here.

 

 

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