How to beat the start-up competition

Why adding value and having a creative marketing mix can make your business stand out

We hear it every day. It is a fact however that we’re still in difficult economic conditions and a time of high unemployment. The good thing to come out of this is the growing number of people who are looking to launch start-ups. This also means the competition is tougher. So with more start-ups than ever, how is your business reacting to the rising number of rival businesses?    Recent research shows that one of the most popular methods of fighting competition amongst new businesses is to offer increasing levels of discounts. The research was carried out by Flyerzone.co.uk, which looked at flyers for more than 5,000 individual orders placed by its clients and recorded the level of discount offered on the various flyers that it printed. It emerged that the average discount these businesses offered on their products and services was 21%. This compares to an average discount level of 16% a year ago. Flyerzone believes the increase in discounting is a reflection of the challenges facing new businesses. Chris Brooks of Platinum Tyre and Exhaust said: “As a new business, we need to offer a cheaper and better service than that of our competitors to establish a client base. Discounting is the best way to do this and to help us to get our first customers.” This discounting ethos triggers a further challenge for new businesses: if an increasing number of start-ups are offering discounts, should you follow suit and, if so, how do you make your discount the one clients choose? The answer: increased value adding and increased communication. Try following the following three rules. Don’t be put off by this ‘discount culture’ or by other rival discounters. You don’t necessarily have to offer more discount than competitors to win the client. Add long-term value. Instead support your discount with ways your service can add long-term value. Consider introducing a loyalty or referral scheme, free gifts or a more ‘helpful’ approach to communicating with your clients. For example, give tips as to how they can make your product or service life last longer. Mix up your marketing. Make sure your added value offers are communicated to your clients in a direct way. This means you need to clearly identify your target market and work out how best to reach them. Using a varied marketing mix is vital in increasing the reach your message has.   This is something Flyerzone also observed as it reported an increase in the number of new businesses using flyers to promote their business. The company believes this is due to new businesses getting a better response from flyers than from online activity such as social media. Rob from Distinctively French, says: “We use social media in our business as a way to engage with existing customers and generate online interest. But flyers are a better way to build relationships with new clients and to generate orders.” Flyerzone.co.uk helps start-up businesses overcome marketing budget restrictions by offering a vast online catalogue of design ideas. These are made available by state-of-the-art templates that make it easy to personalise and adapt leaflets, flyers and cards for start-up businesses.

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