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By Ann K. Monteith, CPP, M.Photog.Cr., ABI, API
Establishing Your Marketing Advantage
Achieving a favorable market position begins with a general understanding of your competition’s strengths and weaknesses as well as your position in the market. Here’s how to do it:
Assess Your Competition
To determine how important competition is for market segments you wish to serve, you must answer several key questions;
- Who are your competitors?
- Do your competitors do a good job of marketing?
- Given the competition, is this a market that you can dominate?
- If you cannot dominate the market, how do you wish to compete?
It is easier to dominate a market when there is little or no competition or if existing competition is not doing a good job of marketing . However, if your market includes one or more good photographers who do a competent job of marketing, then you must decide on the best method of competition to engage in based on the market position you wish to achieve and the time and money you are willing to spend.
Defining Your Place in the Market
Self-assessment is vital in creating a successful marketing plan, but for most business owners self-assessment is very difficult. Just as in life, we rarely see ourselves as others do, and we often underestimate our strengths and hold ourselves back because of our self-perceived weaknesses. Nonetheless, it is vital to identify and understand your business strengths and weaknesses. if necessary, invite several clients or friends to help you look at your business objectively, making sure that you do so in a way that prevents them from telling you what they think you want to hear.
Once your strengths and weaknesses are enumerated, make a list of them, then write sentences or bullet points that turn your strengths and weaknesses into selling features. These selling features will become key elements of your marketing plan, and ultimately they will be used for copywriting. You might expect that strengths would be easier to develop as selling features than weaknesses, but it might not be as hard as you think to create great copy from a weakness turned into a strength. Following are some examples of both:
Strength: Excellent posing and lighting skill.
Selling feature: We make you look great!
Strength: Great reputation.
Selling feature: We are proud that our business has grown through the referral of satisfied clients.
Strength: Ability to make people feel at ease.
Selling feature: You’ll love the relaxed, homey environment of our studio. We guarantee that you’ll feel at ease in front of our camera.
Weakness: We don’t have an easy-to-find retail location.
Selling feature: Our picturesque environment offers countless settings for relaxed portraiture.
Weakness: We are brand new to the market.
Selling feature: We’re not your grandma’s portrait studio!
Weakness: We are unknown in the market.
Selling feature: Have you heard the buzz about Smithville’s hip new portrait studio?
Once you are confident that you have dealt with all the elements presented here, as well as those in last week’s entry, then you are ready to start marketing!
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