Roy's Blog: April 2015

April 27, 2015

Why is trying to keep competitors out bloody crazy?

Traditional marketing is preoccupied to a large extent by erecting barriers to competitive entry; how to prevent competitors from entering someone’s market and poaching their customer base.

Competitive analysis dominates the agenda; detailed studies that examine as many dimensions to a competitor’s strategy as are possible are conducted; the results are used to plot a counter strategy.

This emphasis on trying to keep “the bad guys” out just doesn’t make sense.

1. The knowledge gained is about THEM, their strengths & weaknesses, the markets they focus on and the value they offer. While resources are consumed by this activity, attention is diverted from learning about existing customers.

If you must worry about anything, worry about your loyal customers leaving as opposed to the competitive hordes breaking down your gates.

2. The insights gained from this analysis force reaction. “Here’s what we need to do to respond to what we believe they intend to do” drives strategy building.
Being proactive and creating value for current customers should dominate your marketing agenda rather than spending copious amounts of time developing a defensive strategy to protect yourselves from the competition.
A competitive-prompted move can, as well, cause you to move away from your strategy resulting in lack of progress and reduced performance.

3. At the end of the day, it doesn’t work. A hungry competitor will always find a way of entering your markets to compete with you. You can’t stop them. At the very best you might be able to delay them, but in so doing you waste a significant amount of resource that could otherwise have been used to focus on what you need to do to prevent your customers from leaving.

4. A preoccupation with keeping competitors at bay is counterproductive to creating a customer focused culture. Which do you put first: what your customers’ desire OR what the competition is doing?
The requirement to leverage legal and regulatory tools takes priority over getting people to spend their time learning about what customers want and creating value that will WOW! them and convince them to stay.

The telecom industry is a good example of spending an inordinate amount of time and money trying to restrict competition in former monopoly markets. An enormous amount of time money was invested in a time consuming and expensive regulatory process with a predictable outcome.

Competition was permitted with rules benefitting competitors to ensure customers had an alternative to the local telco. Return on investing in the “keep them out” strategy = 0.

I am not suggesting that you shouldn’t pay attention to the competition, existing and potential. But don’t get obsessed about preventing them from doing what is reasonable given free market conditions.

If they have an opportunity with your customers, expect them to make a play but respond by consistently delivering unmatched value; give them strong reasons to stay.

Make it so difficult for your competitors to steal your customers away from you, they will retreat and go elsewhere where “life is easier”.

Build barriers to customer exit; it’s not about the competition.


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  • Posted 4.27.15 at 04:34 am by Roy Osing
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April 20, 2015

Why are certain leaders really loved?

Some leaders naturally capture the hearts of people.

There are leaders who are respected.

And then there are those who are admired and cherished.

These are the leaders that create followers without really thinking about it.

These are the leaders who capture the hearts, minds and souls of people who are dedicated to them no matter what.

“Loved” leaders do these 15 things as a part of their persona…

- like human beings more than delivering quarterly earnings.

- are human, exhibiting and willing to share all the flaws that come with the territory.

- exist to serve people.

- spend most of their time out of their office; their status symbol gathers dust.

- have an amazing memory; they remember people’s names.

- eat their own dog food.

- are informal; they even curse on occasion.

- make promises and always keep them.

- walkabout on their own sans an entourage.

- are believable.

- covet simplicity; they don’t need to complicate things to assuage their ego.

- are infatuated with customers. They regularly cancel internal meetings to honour a customer commitment.

- spend time regularly with the frontline.

- communicate face to face rather than by email.

- shout out when they make a mistake


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 4.20.15 at 05:08 am by Roy Osing
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April 15, 2015

It’s ok to look, but go your way

Observe what others are doing, and DON’T go there…

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Other articles you might like
Are you the ONLY ones that do what you do?
If you’re not the ONLY, welcome to the herd
ONLY is a journey

  • Posted 4.15.15 at 01:47 am by Roy Osing
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April 13, 2015

Does an absolutely sexy brand mean its remarkable?


When should an organization consider changing its brand?

From a creative point of view, some brands are quite clever, but unless you know what the business is trying to achieve you have no way of knowing if it is a good or effective brand. What is the overall business and communications strategy of the organization?

To evaluate a brand you need strategic context.

It is important to “looking up” to your strategy to provide specific direction on tactics and programs. In the same way you need strategy clearly defined before you can decide on the appropriate tactic to employ.

Many organizations today wallow in tactics without a strategic rudder. The problem is their business doesn’t translate into performance because they don’t have the strategic metrics to guide them.

A decision on your brand requires a clear understanding of the strategy you want to employ. Alternative brands are then evaluated in terms of how well each serves the strategy; how well each expresses it to your target customers.

A brand is intended to convey your value proposition in a clear and compelling way. The debate within an organization should be around this issue and not be based on personal bias and emotional criteria (which ends up to be the case most of the time).

Conversely, if you want to change your brand it should be for one of two reasons: either your current brand doesn’t reflect your current strategy as effectively as it should, or, you have changed your strategy and need to reassess your brand accordingly.

You shouldn’t be changing it because it is stale dated or it isn’t sexy enough. If you do, you run the risk of confusing your customers who may just presume that you are now something else - an outcome you didn’t intend.

Don’t change your brand unless it is no longer satisfying the strategy of the organization.

Here is the process to create an appropriate brand.

1. Develop your strategic game plan to clearly articulate your strategic goals.

2. Ensure your “ONLY” competitive claim is clear and concise.

3. Determine your communications strategy to serve your game plan - WHAT you say to your customers must be congruent with what you strategically intend to achieve.

4. From your communications strategy, create the message you intend to send your target customers.

5. NOW look at a number of alternative creative executions to deliver the message, and select the one that best serves your strategy.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 4.13.15 at 07:37 am by Roy Osing
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