In talking with a group of start ups recently, I got into the discussion of how small businesses can compete against larger companies that have a great deal of process and marketing power behind them. After we agreed on the initial list of MUST-do marketing tactics for success, including email marketing to current customers and contacts, generating your own PR to make news, and sending direct mail to build lists and find leads, my thoughts went back to the question itself.
There is another option to challenge those big brands and the answer lies in the question – COMPETE! Find out if local media, analysts, industry magazines or bloggers have any scheduled product shoot-outs or competitions in the coming months. If not, maybe someone will consider doing a review of your product against a competitor and featuring the review on their site, show, or in editorial.
How do you make that happen? Make a few calls or send a few emails to the experts and ask what they have planned for competitions, reviews, etc that you can submit your solutions or products to compete head to head with the big guys and win. Hint: the summer months are a great time to submit any consumer products for features on holiday gift ideas, favorite things, and what-to-buy lists.
If you don’t come across any formal challenge or award in the short-term that will provide a stage, then try submitting your products to people that may be willing to feature a head to head comparison or editorial highlighting their findings. Recommend the two to three competitors you would like them to consider for a review and provide them with basic information on what you believe the differences to be. Now, you’ve created a story idea that can help them make a name for themselves and for you to shine.
Remember, you must surrender yourself to their final opinion, but even if you don’t get the top nod in the final edit you’ve earned the position of being mentioned in the same article and you’ve proven to be a real contender.
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