On What Are You Competing — Operations, Product & Customer Knowledge?
There are a lot of people in business. A lot of people competing for the customer’s attention. (And given the pandemic, there are even more).
So, how do YOU stand out?
To begin the process of becoming recognized for something and cultivating a competitive advantage, see below and identify the business strategy that suits you and your organization best.
What’s Your Strategy Style?
You DELIVER. Period.
- If your strength is operational leadership, you have penny pinching, manufacturing and distribution systems down to a science, and your competitive advantage is YOUR superior ability to deliver. To compete around operational leadership, you want to ensure that your product supply is on lock, and that your customer service leaves no room for error. Your forecasting system should be completely organized and buttoned up, so that demand management leaves minimal margin for error. Your operational leadership is your competitive advantage strategy made possible by valued relationships with vendors & manufacturers, and a proven systematic approach to both manufacture and distribute. Yay for you! You Deliver. Period. Think Fed Ex.
You Are A PRODUCT Prince/Princess
2. If your strength is product leadership, you have the best product development thinking in your business sector on earth. Your investments in research, and ability to apply that research and insights to design & end-user usage makes your products desired by customers and coveted by competitors. Your organization is led by people who are naturally curious and always in search of how to improve the user experience. Because you know what your products are capable of doing, your ability to articulate features as benefits to your customers is second to none. In other words, your marketing efforts are exceptional. You are a Product Prince. Think Apple.
You Are A SERVANT Leader
3. If your strength is customer knowledge, you possess exceptional skills in identifying and anticipating customer needs. In so doing, your company has strong bonds with your customers. Your customers appreciate you because you appear to know them. You are able to problem solve and offer a breadth of options, and maybe even customization to them. Everyone wants to feel special, be seen and known. If you prioritize serving your customers well, You are a Servant Leader. Think Amazon.
So remember, there is always room for a new business. Offer value, and determine what you want to compete on, and there is a place for you. These 3 competitive advantage strategies were coined by O.C. Ferrell & Michael Hartline in Marketing Strategy, Text & Cases, 7th Edition.