In business-to-business advertising, it’s essential your messaging distinguishes your company, products and/or services from the competition. That’s because when advertising in trade publications or on industry-specific business websites, your ad is likely to be seen next to or around the ads of your competitors. When targeting the same audience, what will make your ad—and therefore your company—memorable?
The best way to differentiate your business-to-business advertising is to focus your messaging on what truly sets your company apart…your competitive advantage. It seems simple enough, but surprisingly, many companies don’t really understand their competitive advantage or don’t exploit it.
What exactly is a competitive advantage? It’s the one thing…or few things…that you can claim that none of your competitors can. It’s objective, supported by facts, and preferably quantifiable. It also should be sustainable—meaning you will be able to claim it not only today but also in the future. For example, we marketed one Midwestern resort to groups with the message “It’s A Shore Thing” promoting the fact that the resort was positioned on the shores of the lake and has a marina to appeal to water enthusiasts. No other local resorts have this combination of amenities. The message is sustainable, as well, unless or until a new lakeside resort is built.
Stevens & Tate recently launched a business-to-business advertising campaign focusing on supply chain synchronization. For the North American division, we worked with the client to pinpoint exactly what set the company apart from other supply chain organizations competing for the same business. The result was seven key advantages—not just great service, or quality work, or length of time in business. While all are important strengths, none of these are true competitive advantages.
In short, your competitive advantage is the differentiator that makes your company special. It’s not just an opinion or even worse, a cliché…like “good value.”
Stevens & Tate Marketing specializes in diving deep into its clients’ businesses to uncover their true competitive advantages. To learn more, visit our website at Stevens-Tate.com.
With 20 years of advertising and PR experience, Debbie Szwast understands the multifaceted nature of marketing. A true believer in the art of communication, she acquired an MBA in marketing and a Master’s degree in writing. Today, she calls on the knowledge she has gained over the past two decades to formulate big-picture strategies and execute comprehensive marketing plans for clients across the country.