Innovate or Die – The Race to The Top

Imagine a web with perfect search capabilities – one in which consumers have access to everything they want to know about your business and others just like it.

Knowing that, would you operate differently than you are today?

You can hope your prospects will not discover other sources that are cheaper or better than yours, or you can accept that the day will soon come when they will know all that you do – and more.

Competition is something that keeps business owners and marketers up at night. They bemoan that some are trashing their markets by offering pricing at which nobody can offer a quality product or service.

Is that true – or do they simply have a different business model?

The Future of Marketing is 100% Transparency

If you are willing to warm up to the fact that consumers will soon have 100% access to information, you can avoid allowing your business to die a slow death.

In every industry, business leaders sit back and watch the newcomers compete on a new level, while confidently proclaiming they will never last – yet, many do.

There will be more companies that can do what yours does for less. You can sit back and hope it doesn’t happen, or you can join those of us in the race to the top.

The Race to The Top

Marketers know you never want to compete on price. Price is easily matched by companies that have learned to scale, as well as by those that are desperate or stupid. Regardless of why it happens- you still lose the business.

According to a top Vancouver SEO, smart companies are open and honest about their price. If your offering is better it should command a higher price. The question, how much higher?

The race to the top is won by being so good that price does not matter, within reason. Of course, consumers are not necessarily reasonable – they see better quality and expect to get it at the same price as what is inferior.

This is a challenge we all face.

What is tangible will always be scrutinized – and that includes price.

One powerful way to overcome what is tangible is with intangibles, such as celebrity appeal, if you have it. Though, for most mainstream small businesses, the most powerful intangible is the trust of the communities they serve.

The solution is simple – you have to innovate and differentiate. The only way to compete against price is to be priceless, and that is not an easy thing to do.

Nevertheless, it should be your goal. How can you do what you do now at half the price? How can you then increase your value to solidify that position?

The Race to The Bottom

When your products and services are viewed as commodities, you are in a race to the bottom.

If the average consumer cannot differentiate the quality you offer, it doesn’t matter. It’s as simple as that.

This is one of the benefits of having a solid content marketing strategy – one in which you educate your prospects and customers to make them better buyers of your products and services.

Every industry is going to experience a shaking out over the next several years. The survivors will be those who offer the best price or the best value – and the gap between the two will narrow until they are nearly one in the same.

When there is a race, everyone gets better or they drop out of the race. As search continues to get better, you will see more companies drop out – with the survivors getting better, both in terms of price and quality.

Are you ready to redefine how you operate your business?

Or are you waiting for the race to come to you?

The race is on – some businesses recognize it and others don’t. If you think you are not racing to the bottom – you probably are.

The nature of business these days is one of constant improvement and innovation – a race to the top.

It’s the only condition that can sustain your business in an environment in which perfect information is readily available.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.

And please share this with your community and encourage them to join the conversation.

Until next time, Jeff

Photo Credit: 89studio

How Little Choices Increase the Value of Your Customer Experience

When you offer your customers the right choices, you create memorable experiences that increase the value of your business brand.

Offering the wrong choices can drive customers away. So, the challenge is determining which are the right choices.

It turns out the the best choices you can offer your customers are those that allow them to personalize their experience with your business in a small way.

Businesses Like to Bundle – But Customers Want to Choose

Marketers have historically used choice to bundle products and services. This is sometimes known as upselling.

The value in this approach is a better price for the consumer. And that is exactly why bundling is a poor choice.

Bundling conditions customers to be price sensitive.

Offering incentives for bundling can actually devalue your offerings if there is not a logical reason for it, such as reduced shipping or handling costs.

Most consumers recognize bundling as an approach that favors the business. The classic example is the super-sized combo meal that fast-food restaurants offer.

You may not want everything in that package, but its cheaper to pay the lower price and throw out what you do not want to consume.

Bundling conditions customers to focus on the lowest common denominator – price.

Will that get your customers talking up their experience with your business?

Little Choices Allow Your Customers to Personalize their Experience

At Five Guys Burgers and Fries, you choose your meal from selected offerings – what they do well. For burgers this amounts to two choices:  regular and little – and with or without cheese.

It’s intentionally a simple choice. Then the fun begins.

You get to personalize your order by choosing from about a dozens extra toppings that are all FREE. This ranges from lettuce and tomato to fresh jalapenos and various sauces. The incremental cost to the business for the customer that piles it all on is minimal.

The net result is you appreciate the added value and feel great about getting just what you want. The business is now on its way to building personal relationships with their customers.

When you have your customers make easy choices you engage them in a collaboration – one that is interactive, inherently personal – and therefore, memorable.

Contrast that with the how fast food restaurants have traditionally operated. If you ask nicely, they will indeed allow you to customize your order – mostly by deleting ingredients you do not like.

Isn’t it better to offer positive choices that add value than permitting choices that devalue your product or service?

Is it any wonder fast food restaurants compete predominantly on price?

Should a customer pay the same when it gets less? The key is making it their choice – then it’s o.k.

The Big Choices are the Responsibility of the Business

Notice the choices you make at Five Guys are little things that matter a lot to most of us – but are easy to make.  Personally, I love jalapenos – especially when they are fresh. That choice alone won my business.

Have you been to restaurants where there are too many choices?  It’s too much. Customers don’t want to concern themselves with the burger and the bun. That’s your job.

What’s the burger and bun in your business?

The last time I bought jeans at Nordstroms I was astonished at the number of choices. What helped me to narrow down my selections?

You got it – price. I worked my way up from the bottom until I found a pair that was comfortable and stylish.

If you don’t want price to be a differentiating factor – learn how to use choice in your business to create a personalized experience that engages your customer.

What choices do your prospects have to make?

Are they based on price?

Do they require too much brain power?

When you know your business you should not stray from your process – what you know is necessary to serve your customer well.

Now you just need to add the right choices – the little ones that add big value for your customer.

Leave a comment below or share this with your community on with any of the share buttons below – or on the little red bar at the bottom of this page.  

Until tomorrow,  Jeff

Photo Credit:  jkbrooks85