Straight Up Business Talk

Business strategy and advice from the team at Straight Talk Group… you’re in the right place to get things Straight.

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Marketing Mistake #17 | Not Monitoring Your Competition

You can learn a lot from your competition. Sometimes they can be your best source of what to do or what not to do. You should set up a system to periodically research your competition to see what they’re up to. Some of the things you should consider are:


  • Who they are
  • How big they are
  • What major and secondary product lines they carry
  • What their advertising strategy is
  • Where they advertise
  • How big the ads are
  • How often they run
  • Where they run them
  • Who their customers are
  • Who their target market is
  • How they contact them
  • How they answer the phone
  • How many salespeople they have
  • Who their salespeople call on
  • How often they call on them
  • And anything else you can find out about them.


Once you begin to develop files on your competition, and begin to understand who they are and how they operate, you can use that information to gain a tremendous advantage over them.

Just like a General in the Armed Forces, once you know the enemy, understand them, and know where their weaknesses are, you can determine what you need to do to exploit those weaknesses and gain the advantage.

On the other hand, if you don’t know their operation, how they do business, and where it comes from, you are operating at a tremendous disadvantage.

Just because you have competition, doesn’t mean you have to be enemies. In fact, your competition can be one of your greatest allies, or sources of additional, untapped income.

One way to capitalise on your competition is to form strategic alliances with them.

If you don’t have a particular product that your customer or prospect is looking for, you may be able to get it from your competition – and still keep that person as a customer.

By letting your customer see that you’re more interested in helping him or her solve their wants and needs, even if it means you don’t get the business… even if it’s from one of your competitors, your customer will appreciate your thoughts and efforts, and reward you by continuing to do business with you, and referring others to do business with you.

If you can’t obtain the product or service from your competitor yourself, perhaps you can refer your prospect or customer to your competitor so they can get the product or service themselves.

In either case, you’ve performed a valuable service for your customer and they’ll appreciate you looking out for them and trying to help them solve their problems, rather that just sending them away to solve them on their own. This goes a long way towards creating customer loyalty.

Your competition can be a great ally for you, and can provide you with very valuable market and marketing research. Take the time to check them out. Find out what they’re doing, and how they operate.

If they continue to run the same ad in the same place over and over, it’s probably working for them. Look closely at that ad. See what you can do to improve it, offer a better value or a better reason for your customers to buy from you.



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Marketing Mistake #16 | Using Catchy Tunes, Jingles, Slogans And Mottoes Instead Of Solid Reasons To Buy

You’ve heard them. They’re everywhere on the radio and television. In fact, you probably catch yourself singing or humming at least a couple of different jungles or tunes throughout the course of your day.

Or, you may find yourself quoting some catchy slogan or motto you’ve heard or read.

The question you may ask is, if they’re so catchy, and I find myself singing, humming or quoting them, aren’t they working?

Aren’t they doing their job?

And the answer, of course, is, “Yes, they are working,” and, “Yes, they are doing their job.”

So, if jingles, slogans, and tunes are working and doing their job, why not use them? It all depends what you’re trying to accomplish with your advertising and marketing dollars.

If you want new customers… more customers… people who can and will come to your place of business, or pick up the phone and call you willing to give you their money, then these tunes, jingles and slogans may not be the best use of your money.

On the other hand, if you want people to remember you, to have the name of your business dancing around in their heads, but really don’t care about getting them into your place of business, then it’s probably okay to use them.

Just ask yourself: When was the last time you found yourself driving along singing a jungle or tune and decided that you’d head on over to the place of business that that tune belonged to, with the intent of buying something?

Probably never, right?

Jingles and slogans do work. There’s no question about it. For the specific job they’re intended, they do work.

But, as a business owner, you have to make the decision if you want to spend your money to accomplish that job. Or, if you would rather spend your money in a more productive, results-producing, profit-generating way.

Your ads, letters and promotional campaigns must be treated like commissioned employees. There has to be accountability if you want results, and want them cost-effectively.

You probably wouldn’t allow your best salesperson to call on your prospects or customers and sing a jingle, recite your slogan or motto, mention the name of your company and your phone number and then leave, would you?

Of course not.

Sounds silly, doesn’t it?

Yet day in and day out, you’ll see and hear that type of marketing from hundreds of businesses in the newspaper, in magazines, on radio and TV.

Remember, the ads you run and the letters you send out are nothing more than paper or electronic sales people.

What you expect from your human salespeople, you should also expect from your paper and electronic salespeople.

Your ads and letters should provide information about your products and services, make an enticing offer and give compelling reasons why the recipient should take action now. And remember our discussions about accountability and testing. Each ad should be able to be measured as to its effectiveness.

If they don’t pull like you think they should, then test another approach, and exchange the jingles and slogans for good solid reasons for your prospects to buy.