In “Become a Leader in Your Market Niche – Part 1”, I covered some of the basics of how to get started in positioning your company as a leader in your industry. Now it’s time to fill in the blanks. At this point, you have completed a competitive analysis, a customer assessment, compiled your list of JVs and partners, and received expert advice on how to integrate social media marketing into your overall business plans.
So, what’s next?
Identify your leadership target(s). What do you want to be known for, or a leader in? And what are your recognized strengths that can be leveraged as a competitive advantage? Are you perceived as an innovator or technology leader? Do you offer superior products or services? Is your company recognized for quality or operational excellence – i.e. Six Sigma, ISO 9001? Do customers rank your company’s service ahead of the competition?
Does your company receive high praise from its employees as a great place to work, or from the community at-large for its charitable donations and volunteer work? Select your leadership target(s) carefully, and make sure they are in alignment with how the market perceives your business today. Note: You can be a leader in more than one area, but make sure you don’t spread your resources too thin trying to get there.
Rewrite your CVP. After you have determined your leadership target, your Customer Value Proposition(CVP) needs to be rewritten to reflect the changes. Your new CVP should communicate the competitive advantages that distinguish your business from the competition and helps your company to stand out in a crowded marketplace as a category leader.
Make sure to test and retest your new CVP with employees, customers, partners, and trusted advisors so you get it right. Over time, your revised CVP should become part of the DNA of your business, and be reflected in your overall PR, advertising, marketing and selling efforts. It’s all about packaging why your business is different, unique to the outside world in a manner that will motivate customers to buy from you as the perceived leader in your market niche.
Update your marketing. Once your revised CVP is in place, it’s time to update your web site, brochures, and all other marketing collateral to reflect the company’s new focus and marketing messages. All components of your company’s marketing including web site, advertising, press releases, brochures, presentations, training materials, etc. should highlight those key messages you want to build upon that distinguish your business as an industry leader.
Get lots of help in this area from a branding and creative services expert to ensure that the updated “look and feel” and message content is consistent throughout, and gets effectively communicated to the outside world through the various media you determine are appropriate for your business. Your ability to market your business differently than the competition is one of the keys to elevating your brand and raising the profile of your business as a market leader.
Network and be visible. Network, network, network. Don’t just show up at networking events, but take an active role in the group leadership, committees and community outreach programs. I recommend that small business owners become active members in 2 or 3 networking groups, in addition to their local Chamber of Commerce. Seek out opportunities to chair key committees, attend ribbon cutting ceremonies, present at trade shows and affinity group functions – i.e. Rotary Club, Lion’s Club or host Lunch & Learn and After Hours events to further increase your company’s visibility as a leader in the local business community.
Being recognized as an industry spokesperson or “thought leader” is another great way to build your personal brand, and enhance the perception of your company as a market leader.
Volunteer and be charitable. Be generous with your time, talents and resources. Find ways to help others in your community and around the world that are less fortunate than you, and are in need of your help. Don’t ask for anything in return, just do it, and get everybody involved. Giving of yourself is reward in itself, and is a true reflection of your character and leadership qualities.
Being good at something is within every company’s reach, but being a market leader requires extra effort, dedication, resilience and commitment. It also requires the help and guidance of others, because none of us can do it alone.
So, if you have made a commitment to become a leader in your market niche, seek out those “success-driven” employees, customers, partners and trusted advisers who can help you get there, and enlist their support. You’ll be able to reach your goals faster and enjoy the journey more.
COPYRIGHT © 20009-2017 John Carroll