Can You Effectively Survive Doing Business In A Vacuum?
To What Degree Should the FEAR of Competitive ESPIONAGE determine your Marketing/PR Program?
Good News….Bad News. Which would you like first?
Here’s the good news – business has been tough over the past several years…but the economy is finally showing signs of strengthening and demonstrating some stability. Now for the bad news – Although things are looking up, the entrepreneurial landscape has changed dramatically within the US and it is no longer “business as usual.”
Let’s look at the Architectural, Engineering and Construction (AEC) market for example. An industry that for years prior to the recent recession had enjoyed a robust economic landscape where the competition knew its place and concentrated within niche markets now is experiencing a blurring of the lines. The AEC market is now driven by hyper-competition. Hyper-competition is where too many businesses are pursuing too little business. Although the industry has strengthened, over the past few years, we saw large mega companies pursuing smaller projects that they never would have thought of pursuing in the past. Smaller firms sought out strategic partners to strengthen their position to compete for larger projects in an effort to expand their opportunities. There is not enough demand to go around for everyone.
Mums The Word!
For years as a marketer within the AEC industry I was continuously warned to “keep my mouth shut” during networking events and various marketing initiatives. “We do not want to tip our hand and let the competition know our business.” As a marketer my job was also to keep my company’s name in front of the market, which also meant the competition. What I often found is that the competition already knew all of our secrets.
As a self-employed entrepreneur…I am still faced with the same dilemma. As a small company, strategic and comprehensive public relation efforts are critical to my success. Therefore, I seek to take advantage of every opportunity available to me to keep the DAVNA name in front of my potential clients, and unfortunately the competition. So where does the balance come in.
There is an old Chinese saying…”Know thy-self, know thy competition, and get it right almost every time. Know thy-self, not know thy competition, and get it right about half the time. Not know thy-self, not know thy competition, and get it wrong almost every time.”
Managing within a hyper-competitive environment involves a strategic process of understanding the market and where it is going; being able to second-guess what the competition’s approach to the market might be; and strategically positioning yourself ahead of the competition as the market moves through its paces. This is called Competitive Benchmarking or Market Analysis.
I Spy…My Competition!
Benchmarking differs from just data collection and information gathering. It requires some form of analysis designed to shed light on what the data and information is telling us. According to the authors of the book The Intelligence Edge, – “Knowledge is what your are after. Information is the raw material you use. Intelligence is what finds and processes information.” Benchmarking is the “Intelligence” in this statement. It is a means of examining the data and developing a “proactive” approach to capitalize on it.
There are key two advantages of an effective benchmarking campaign. The first is to minimize threats. By gaining a better understanding of what short-term operational initiatives a firm might take to position itself as a leader within its competitive market, the firm can remain aware and responsive to threats as they arise.
An additional advantage of an effective benchmarking campaign is to help maximize opportunities. This proactive approach provides the data necessary for finding “low hanging fruit” such as new markets for existing offerings, fresh revenue streams, or other opportunities for the firm to grow and add value for stakeholders.
An effective benchmarking campaign can also help the firm determine expansion into or abandonment of a market by identifying its maturity or potential economic downfall. A perfect example is DAVNA’s international expansion efforts into Brazil as a result of the bid awards of the 2014 FIFA and 2016 Olympic games. Through a strategic benchmarking efforts we were able to determine where the immediate opportunities were, the most effective approach to breaking into the market, how DAVNA and our offerings stacked up to the competition, and the immediate market product/service needs. As a result of our benchmarking and subsequent marketing initiatives DAVNA was able to establish itself as an expert within the Brazilian market for connecting Brazilian firms with quality AEC products and service providers from the US.
The bottom line…Benchmarking allows us to effectively strategize our marketing and PR approaches in relation to our competitive environment. It is not an exact science but allows us to stay one step ahead and remain competitive within a volatile market by providing enough information to draw reasonable conclusions to base our strategies upon.
Back to our initial question, “To What Degree Should the FEAR of Competitive ESPIONAGE determine your Marketing/PR Program?” The answer lies in the homework done to date and how much your efforts would contribute to “tipping your hand” to your competitors. If your marketing/PR initiatives are strategic, the tipping aspect will only come into play when you already have a counter-action in place.
Competitive benchmarking involves knowing what is going to happen before it happens with a reliable degree of accuracy … and then playing your cards to minimize the impact of such events to the firm. DAVNA can provide you with the expertise and tools needed to strategically plot your success course within a down economy. For more information on establishing a Competitive Benchmarking campaign within your organization contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
DAVNA Enterprises, LLC is a Florida based firm specializing in the development and implementation of strategic operational, marketing and business development programs locally and internationally. Whether a new business starting out or an existing firm seeking increased market exposure, rebranding or repositioning, DAVNA brings more than 35 years of experience and the expertise needed to successfully develop and execute strategies designed to achieve your ultimate goals. For more information visit www.davna.com or email email@example.com