Your Secret Sauce: How to Stand Out from the Competition

July 7, 2014

Does your company stand out from the competition? Or do you look and sound like every other company in your industry?

It’s important to be able to articulate your “secret sauce” to your prospects and customers so they understand why they should buy from you instead of one of your competitors. It’s not uncommon for companies to get a little fuzzy about their differentiators over time – as your company grows and evolves, your competitive advantage may change a little or a lot – so it’s important to stop and consider this topic at least once a year.

Learn how to complete a competitor analysis in four easy steps:

Step 1: Research your competitors

Identify three or four of your main competitors, and compile as much information as you can about each one of them:

  • Company History
  • Number of employees
  • Products and services
  • Key customer list
  • Revenue and pricing
  • Social media presence
  • Online and offline marketing techniques

Start by doing research online, then talk to current customers who may have had contact with your competitors when doing their own research before purchasing from you. Don’t forget to talk to your sales team to find out what they’ve learned from their experiences talking to prospects, or from interacting with your competitors’ at tradeshows or networking events.

Be sure to note what your competitors are doing well: Do they use a specific kind of marketing technique that would work for you? What aspects of their website and online marketing are designed to attract customers?

After you’ve cataloged your competitors’ strengths, compile a list of their weaknesses, and look for opportunities to differentiate yourself by offering content or services that nobody else in your market has tried yet.

WBG_btn_tip_smlIf you have a HubSpot account, don’t forget to set up the Competitors Tool with the URLs of your top competitors! You’ll be able to see what your competitors are doing well, and where there may be an opportunity for you to get ahead – in social media, blogging, SEO, and other key online marketing tactics.

Step 2: Look in the mirror

When you’ve finished, ask the same set of questions about your own business from the viewpoint of an outsider. Call a few customers and partners and ask them to honestly evaluate your online marketing, products and services, and customer service — and ask them why they chose to work with you! What they tell you may be spot on with your self-assessment, or they may surprise you by highlighting things you never considered to be important to a customer’s decision-making process.

Step 3: Identify your three uniques

Finally, compare your self-analysis with the data you’ve gathered about your key competitors and make a list of the top three things that differentiate your company from the competition.

WBG_btn_tip_smlMake sure your uniques are unique… Stay away from things like “superior customer service” or “affordable pricing” – everyone says these things, so they’re not really unique!

Step 4: Review your marketing and update your messaging

Go back and look at your website and other marketing materials with fresh eyes – make sure your messaging clearly conveys what makes you different from your competition. Next, consider creating a document or presentation about “The Acme Company Difference” that you can send to your prospects to help them understand why they should buy from you. Finally, make sure your sales team knows how to talk about what makes you great – without slamming the competition!


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