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How Can SMBs Outwit Major Competitors?
by: Gayane Tamrazyan
It is impossible to talk about business development ignoring the constant competition with companies offering similar goods and services. The hardest part is competing for customer attention for young brands that are not yet so popular.
However, they have clear advantages that allow them to compete with major market players.
Find and occupy your niche
Large brands release products that appeal to the widest possible audience – so they continue to be large. Unfortunately, because of this approach, large players often overlook the needs and interests of individual consumer segments. Focusing on a specific niche of buyers, rather than trying to immediately win the sympathy of the majority, can be a winning strategy for a small, start-up brand.
When deciding on a niche, it is important to take into account the main market trends and what product categories are in demand right now. To do this, you can turn to research from open sources or analytics tools like Google Trends or Yandex.Market Analytics.
Team up with other small brands
Collaboration is a popular way to promote. While companies like Starbucks and Spotify are launching affiliate programs rather to emphasize shared values and maintain high visibility, smaller brands can do the same, only for the purpose of exchanging customers.
For a collaboration to succeed, look for a brand that sells the same target audience, but is not a direct competitor. For a brand of herbal teas, this can be handmade chocolate, for candles – natural soaps and body oils. Affiliate discount, joint raffle in social networks, release of a common limited line of goods – there are many options for joint cooperation.
Establish close contact with customers
As a rule, large companies are impersonal, so a small brand has a chance to show its face, literally. A business owner is the best marketer: tell the story of your brand in the first person on the website, show yourself in social media posts and stories, hand-sign a stack of thank you cards for customers. More than two-thirds of buyers are willing to spend more if they had contact with someone from the company before the purchase, not necessarily personally.
Customer support is often the weak point of large companies. In an effort to optimize resources and standardize processes, large companies use long FAQs, chatbots and script dialogs.
And although many buyers are already accustomed to receiving an automated response in response to their request, 86% of them still prefer to communicate with a person. A lively, personalized and empathic approach to communicating with customers can be your advantage against the backdrop of templates for large companies.
Make your customers brand ambassadors
Recommendations are still important for shoppers, especially for the younger generation. 63% of Edelman survey respondents aged 18-34 say they trust reviews and recommendations more than a brand’s stories about itself. All this is a great reason to turn your clients into ambassadors.
Start small: ask to share your purchase on social media in exchange for a discount or bonus on your next purchase. The reviews of the most satisfied customers can later be used as content for your company’s social networks – the main thing is not to forget to get consent in advance.
Follow the principles of sustainability
Food, household chemicals, cosmetics, clothing and footwear, baby products and repair products are the most popular categories in which shoppers are looking for sustainable products. The trend towards sustainable production and consumption is pushing brands towards “green” positioning, but it is often difficult for large players to actually match it.
First of all, a potential buyer always looks at the cost and quality of a product, but at the same time, more than half of global consumers today believe that companies should think more about their impact on the world.
Follow trends and innovations
Large companies – big bureaucracy and a long series of approvals and disputes on anything. Small companies are organized differently. According to some social studies, more breakthrough and innovative ideas are often born within small teams.
This is attributed to the fact that during discussions within large teams, more disputes and disagreements arise, while small teams are usually more unanimous and look in the same direction. Use this to quickly try and introduce new approaches and technologies into your processes before they become mainstream.
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