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A New Playbook for Competitive Strategy: How to Exploit Your Competition’s Advantage

Apr 27, 2015 1:35:52 PM

It’s no secret that I’m a little competitive... okay, a lot... I’m VERY competitive! I’m not sure where my competitive nature came from, but it’s the same feeling that drove me to try out and walk on to the Notre Dame football team. I may have been a little lighter and a step slower, but I was determined to win my spot on the team.

I thrive on competition. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pickup basketball game with friends or an ultra-competitive RFP to win new business. I love to work hard and earn the win.

This competitive nature is one of the biggest reasons why I fell in love with the Vennli model. Vennli’s platform gives our customers the competitive edge to win. We create and execute our clients’ growth strategies effectively because we always keep the customer’s voice at the core and an eye on the competitive landscape.

How do we develop customer-driven strategies to win in the market? The secret lies in the magic of the vLens, a three circle Venn diagram that visualizes how your customers make buying decisions – what is important to them and how they perceive your capabilities compared to your competitors.

These diagrams lay the groundwork for exciting strategy conversations with your team – each colored zone has implications for strategy. To a competitive person like me, it’s like a playbook for beating your competition.

vLens Chart

The name of the game is the Green Zone – this is why your customers choose you. It’s where your company is not only meeting the needs of your customer but excelling and beating the competition. Moving customer choice factors into the Green Zone is like scoring points!

The Gray and Purple Zones reflect areas where your company is delivering just as well as the competition. These represent potential opportunities to differentiate, for sure, because you’re not the breakout star... yet. The Yellow Zone also presents opportunities to differentiate by innovating around unmet customer needs.

The Red Zone shows factors that your customer thinks your competitor delivers better… but that are less important to their buying decision. These are interesting as there’s the potential to exploit what the competition hangs their hat on.

The Orange Zone is enemy territory. This is why a customer would choose your competition. If customer choice factors fall here, it hurts. If you’re like me, this is where your ultra-competitive side gets fired up and ready to turn something around. This is where your customers think your competitor is delivering important value better than you do. How frustrating is that? This zone should make your blood boil and get you fired up to win back those customers!

The good news is that these two areas are ripe for strategic action. When factors fall here, there are a lot of questions that should be asked:

  • Are you actually the lesser-performing company or is it just customer perception? And, if so, why might that be the case?
  • How is your competitor able to deliver value better than you? Do they have internal capabilities that you don’t? Is it financially or logistically feasible to build your own internal capabilities to compete directly, or are you better off providing unique value to customer in other ways?

Here’s the kicker: When you have this view of your market, it’s a secret weapon. You are understanding how customers make their decisions in ways your competition doesn’t. This knowledge gives you an edge.

Imagine you are in a meeting with a customer and you know your competition’s competitive selling points… and you also happen to know that your customer doesn’t really value these selling points. Armed with the knowledge of what they really need, you can present tailored, thoughtful solutions that will capture their attention. A powerful 1-2 punch and a knockout to the competition!

Know your customers, strategize around how to provide value that impacts their choices, and you will win! As we like to say at Notre Dame, “Play like a Champion!�?

Topics: General

Vennli
Written by Vennli

Vennli is the content intelligence platform that empowers marketing leaders to increase the effectiveness of content marketing for each persona across every stage of the buyer’s journey - from awareness to advocacy. The smart content planning tool combines customer data and artificial intelligence, including insights about what matters most to the target market, to make intelligent content, messaging, and communication recommendations that will attract, convert, and retain more customers.

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