Reasons why your competition is beating you
This one is a no-brainer.
If a company creates a product that is better quality than their competition, they'll usually sell more. It doesn't matter if the lower quality product is cheaper, when a product is made better and lasts longer; people are usually willing to pay a higher price. Your competitor might be making their products in a way that creates a better loyal customer base.
This can be applied to service, too.
You must offer high quality service. Customers will seek out another company for their needs if your service is sub-par. This service can be your customer service or a service you offer such as website design.
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Consumers tend to buy anything that a celebrity has endorsed. It doesn't even matter how good something is, if a celebrity says they like it - people will buy it.
Getting a celebrity to endorse your product can be very expensive. Unless the celebrity actually likes your product and offers to endorse it or mentions that they use it without you asking for advertising, you're likely to be left with a huge bill.
Alternatively, a well-respected organization backing a product or service will help sales. If your competition has such a backing then you may need to seek your own organization to affiliate with.
Another selling point of companies that intrigues consumers is when items are locally made.
People enjoy buying from people they know or from sources close to them. This can be driven by their devotion to the green lifestyle or just because they like things that are made where they live. If your products are being made in China and your competition is made in America, chances are customers are going to prefer the competition.
Locally made sometimes goes hand in hand with greener items. If your competition is using a green angle, then you may be being beaten out by that. The trend in sustainable materials has become mainstream; disposable items are not all the rage.
Believe it or not, if you have a bad website and your competition has a great, easy to navigate site, then that might be your downfall.
Social networking has been integrated into most websites so that consumers can share or tweet about the products that they are enjoying. If you are behind on this, it's probably the biggest reason your online sales are being outmatched by your competition.
No matter the reason, you can always come back from a trouncing. It happens with big name brands all the time, even those that sometimes have their online reputation management called into question.
With some advice and work, you can outdo your competition.
As a business owner, what are you doing to be your competition?
About the author
Tina Samuels writes on social media, marketing, and other small business topics.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.