Tips for attracting and retaining new customers
A business that isn't consciously trying to win customers away from its competitors should perhaps question whether it's really serious about being in business.
Expanding your company's market share is what it's all about, and that means increasing your customer base by any ethical means possible.
And there's nothing unethical about trying to convince your competitors' customers that you can offer them a better product or service, along with the support system to back it up.
Some tactics are unethical
There are, of course, underhanded and unethical ways of targeting the competition's customers. Would it be acceptable, for example, to try to recruit someone from the competition's sales force who could perhaps share some privileged insights about the customers his former employer sold to? Of course not.
And any business that pulls such a stunt deserves the almost inevitable payback down the road -- when the employee you stole from a competitor moves on to his next conquest offering your customer list as an enticement to hire him.
However, if you've built a better mousetrap than the one your competitor is selling, common sense dictates that you point that out to potential customers, including those who have always bought their mousetraps from your business rival in the past.
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Make sure claims are valid
Here's where it gets a little tricky, both ethically and legally. Don't make claims that your products or services are better than your competitor's unless such claims can be proven through objective testing. And never make negative claims about a competitor's product unless you're quite certain that those claims can withstand objective scrutiny.
As a general rule, bad-mouthing the competition is a bad idea, in much the same way that negative campaigning is an unsound political strategy. But pointing out the ways in which your product or service is demonstrably superior to those of your competitors is fair game.
For those readers who might have skipped over that last sentence a bit quickly, allow me to elaborate. Webster's defines "demonstrably" as "able to be proven or shown, possible to demonstrate."
Wishing won't make it so
In other words, simply saying it doesn't make it so. You should be able to prove how your product fulfills its purpose more efficiently and/or effectively than other such products on the market.
If you're making claims you can't back up, you're likely to incur the wrath of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). And it sure isn't going to sit well with your competitors either.
In short, you'll probably fare best if you base your marketing campaign on the positive attributes of your product or service, along with an overview of your company's system of support -- both customer service and technical support.
Everyone wants a better deal
It's disingenuous to think that your marketing campaign is only going to reach those potential customers who have not already found a source for the product or service you're selling.
Any practical and budget-minded consumer in the market for the type of goods you produce is going to be constantly on the lookout for improved products, better delivery, more responsive customer service, and round-the-clock technical support. Even if he has heretofore been buying from a competitor of yours, he's likely to come knocking at your door if he can be convinced you're offering a better deal.
If a competitor's customer approaches you to learn more about what you're selling and how it might benefit him to start buying from your company, you can help to clinch the deal by offering him a sweet introductory discount or other incentive to win the business.
About the author
Jay Fremont is a freelance author who writes extensively about small business, corporate strategy, social media, and the best-paying bachelor degree jobs.
Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR
Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).
These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack.
“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”
“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”
“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR
- Empower employees productivity and collaboration
- Improve fan engagement and experience
- Improve environment security and IT productivity
- Improve racing operations
Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.
“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”
“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives.
“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.
Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”