Never Again Get Blindsided by a Comparison to Your Competitors

Posted by
Spread the love

April 12, 2018 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Have you ever been in the situation when you’re sitting in a meeting with an important prospect, and all of sudden he brings up some information presented by a competitor that catches you completely off guard? Or you have the opportunity to talk to a writer for a publication and out of the blue she asks you about how you stack up against a competitor? Or worse, you’re talking with a long-term customer and he tells you about a conversation with your competitor that doesn’t accurately reflect the situation? Besides being uncomfortable, such surprises can create PR challenges at best and impact customer trust at worst.

Related: How Small Startups Can Profit From a Huge Competitor’s Woes

These kinds of ambushes are common. Luckily, it’s something you can prepare for with a tool known as a message map. Message maps help you visualize how to best tell your story. Think of your message map as a framework for developing compelling, relevant messages for your various target customers. By applying the concept known as scenario planning, you can create a message map that reduces the chances of being “surprised” by a competitor response.

Scenario planning is a method designed to help you anticipate possible events and their potential implications with the idea of formulating a planned response should that scenario occur. You can use this approach to incorporate potential competitor responses into your message map and develop both offensive and defensive messaging.

Go on the offense and plan a solid defense.

If creating such a message map is something you’d like to try, here are five steps to get you started. I highly recommend that you complete this approach in a workshop-style environment, ideally with a facilitator.

1. Before actually creating your map, you need to do some company reflection. It is important to know who you are, who your prospects are and who your primary competitors are. For example, if you sell training services, your audience might be human resources, the CFO, CEO or line of business leader. If you sell SEO services, your audience might be a content marketer inside a company or a website developer.

Related: 4 Ways to Pull Ahead of Your Competitors in Business

2. Now, for each competitor and for each audience answer the following:

  • What is their primary product message, and what evidence do they have to support the message? For example, this might be the material they use and if that’s unique and compelling, or it might have to do with their design of the product. Think features and functions here.
  • What is their primary product-related message and what is their evidence? This is something that is needed to make the product work. Ease-of-use messages, warranties or return or replace with no questions asked messages typically fall into this category.
  • What is their primary non-product message and associated evidence? For example, deep domain expertise, where you trained, special certifications or licenses.

Not sure what of your competitors’ messages? Scour their websites, read their press releases and articles written about them, and check out their social media pages. If you have additional resources, invest in research and regularly conduct competitive audits.

All of this research should produce an image that looks something like this for each audience and competitor:

This is the beginning of your message map.

Related: 5 Ways to Dominate Your Competition

3. For each of your competitor’s messages, craft your offense message and your defense message.

For example, let’s say your competitor uses a product message that claims its product eliminates more impurities than your product with evidence to support its claim.

  • Offense message: Your product is made of a material that can withstand temperatures between X and Y degrees, which applies to X percent of situations.
  • Defense message: Your product meets or exceeds the industry standard.

4. This is when you begin to consider potential scenarios. Step into the shoes of all your competitors. Brainstorm what message they might use to counter your offense and defense messages. Now, add these to your message map.

5. Finally, craft offense and defense messages to each of these potential competitive responses. Repeat the process until you think you’ve exhausted all the possible response scenarios.

Related: Use Being Different to Your Competitive Advantage

Once you’re finished, you should have a picture that serves as a fairly solid playbook for how to handle potential countermoves by competitors in any conversation with a prospect. There are many ways you can use your message map. For example, it’s an excellent way to support your sales training or develop better sales presentations. Having a message map helps reduce those uncomfortable silences when your prospect brings up a competitive message. Your map may also stimulate some ideas for new content, such as a blog post or white paper.

A quality message map makes a powerful weapon.

There’s another valuable purpose of a message map: being able to lay landmines and ambushes for your competitors.

As you create your map, you’ll be identifying important chinks in your competitors’ messaging that you can leverage to your advantage. For example, rather than trying to counteract with product-to-product messages, you might find that you are stronger and they are weaker on different fronts.

For example, perhaps you are each stronger in equally important purchasing criteria, such as total cost of ownership or usage of your product by recognized leaders. This process also helps keep you from making price the primary arrow in your quiver. By identifying strong counter-messages, you may be able to actually charge more than your competition.

Message maps are an often overlooked and underused tool for achieving competitive advantage. Use these steps as both offensive and defensive strategies to increase revenue and protect margin.

Related Video: How to Deal With Your Competitors


79 comments

  1. I recently got a blogspot for my mixtapes that I uploaded but when I search my DJ name (even full url), it doesn’t appear in the google search. Does it take about a week for it to appear or do I have to pay to get it to come up?.

  2. Cool article! Interesting tips over this website. It is pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before. I couldn’t resist commenting. I have spent 2 hours looking for such informations. I will also share it with a couple of friends interested in it. I have just bookmarked this web. Finished with the job done, I will watch some online gay webcams. Thanks!! Greetings from San Francisco!

  3. I will immediately clutch your rss as I can’t to find your email subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please permit me realize so that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

  4. I would like to thank you for giving us such a great explanation. You are doing good job. Keep write article like this one! I have bookmark this blog for New update about SEO…

  5. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post, blog comments really help us grow because we are building relationship with others and also it help us build SEO and also comments makes our blog alive and google also index comments. I would appreciate if you include my blog to your list of blog commenting sites,

  6. Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the images on this blog loading? I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  7. Have you ever considered creating an ebook or guest authoring on other sites? I have a blog centered on the same information you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my readers would value your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e mail.

  8. Pingback: essay writing
  9. Hey there, simply just transformed into alert to ones website by way of Bing, and located that it’s truly helpful.. rekomendasi saham 2018 Now i am going to be cautious about brussels. I’ll enjoy should you continue on this kind of in future. All people today might be took advantage of your producing. Many thanks!

  10. 高能聚焦量超聲波( HIFU )以物理性聚焦集中成一點, 快速穿透皮膚真皮及脂肪層面直達面部表淺肌肉腱膜系統( SMAS )層令其組織細胞分子高速磨擦 , 瞬間升溫至60 -70 度,令整個表淺肌肉腱膜系統( SMAS )受熱收縮,形成熱固化區域, 令結綈組織同時拉緊,達到拉皮防皺及美容效果。SMAZ聚焦超聲波提供了最有效的HIFU能量收緊皮膚及刺激胶原蛋白新生,提升彈性,恢復更緊緻的皮膚和更年輕的美貌。

  11. Antalya havaalanı transfer, alanında hizmet veren Antalya Transfer CLK Firması transfer servis araçlarıyla konforlu ve güvenli yolculuğu hesaplı fiyat politikasıyla beraber müşterilerine en iyi şekilde sunmaktadır.

    Araç filomuza kattığımız hem VIP hemde STANDART servis araçlarımızla misafirlerimizi Antalya havalimanından alarak istedikleriyle lokasyona transferlerinde hizmetinizdeyiz. Antalya havalimanı transferinde saat ve zaman önemli olduğu için misafirlerimiz asla beklemezler ve randevularına geç kalmazlar.
    Antalya Transfer CLK Firması olarak mutlu tatiller dileriz

  12. I’ve been having issues with my Windows hosting. It has set me back quite a bit while making the next list. This is the current list that I have. I should add another list in less than a week. I’ll let you all know when the next list is ready. Thank you for your patience.

  13. You’ve worked hard this week. Now it’s time to let your hair down and have a little fun. You can do just that at http://www.camgirl.pw There’s a whole lot of sexy cam girls there. You’ll be amazed by how many there are. Not only that, but these girls are super dirty. This is by far the hottest cam site on the internet. You’ll fully understand that the very second your eyeballs are laid upon these beauties.

  14. Are you searching for a little live cam fun? If so, then you definitely need to check out https://t.irtyc.com/3l5f0asadc?aff_id=29696&offer_id=3664&nopop=1 This is by far the hottest cam site ever. You’ll find plenty of horny girls who love to get down right dirty. This is the kind of dirty that will leave you smiling from ear to ear. Meet girls online who are even more horny than you are. That’s what this is all about. Check it out now and prepare to have an amazing time.

  15. Hello are using WordPress for your site platform?
    I’m new to the blog woreld but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you need any coding knowledge to make your own blog?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  16. You’re looking to get laid. All you want to do is fuck right this very second. You can do just that at this dating site. You won’t be looking through hundreds of profiles of prudes. These are the kind of girls that you can get your dick wet into. Don’t jerk off to porn. Instead, visit https://t.hrtye.com/lw2c5cw328?aff_id=29696&offer_id=5604&nopop=1 and get laid. Fuck that pretty princess you’ve always been dreaming about. You’ll bust your nut in no time flat after joining this site.

  17. ankara deha nakliyat firmansı. ankara evden eve nakliyat ev ofis taşımacılığı, şehiriçi şehirler arası nakliyat, eşya depolana hizmetlerini kusursuz olarak uzman kadromuzla 7/24 hizmetimizdeyiz ankara deha nakliyat firması…

  18. 激光是單一波段的光能 , 在同一時間發射 , 光線能量較為集中 , 能深入皮膚打擊患處之異常色素或血管 , 溫和地刺激皮膚內的骨膠原更生, 新生的骨膠原令您的膚質光澤柔嫩 , 煥然一新 , 抗老效果顯著。有效治療色斑(雀斑 , 太陽斑 , 咖啡斑 , 太田痣 , 紋身) , 血管問題 (葡萄色斑 , 微絲血管擴張) , 膚色不均 , 皮膚鬆弛 , 毛孔粗大 治療後皮膚會出現短暫的紅腫 , 要注意防曬及遵照醫生指示護理皮膚

  19. 關于Ion Magnum技術: 它的作用是加快脂肪代謝而轉化成肌肉。專業設計的微電流模擬大腦到肌肉的正常神經傳導。乙醯膽鹼及ATP(産生能量的物質)都是由神經末梢釋放的。神經元共振導致神經末梢持續不斷的釋放ATP,甚至能達到正常釋放量的500。 Ion Magnum應用的是世界定級的神經生理學技術,它加快脂肪燃燒的速度,增强肌肉收縮,提高基礎代謝率(指的是你靜息狀態下消耗卡路里的速率)。複雜的微電流包含2000次與正常生理過程的相互作用,由此達到人體自然狀態下所不能達到的效果。它可以加快能量的轉化,增强體力和運動能力。 Ion Magnum目前由位於英國的創新科學研究中心開發、製造,該中心是由歐盟提供資金支持的。該設備及其組件均是由英國頂級的科學家手工製作的。該産品有CE標志,CE標志是歐洲共同市場的安全標志。 Ion Magnum基於最新的起搏器技術。

  20. “wonderful points altogether, you simply gained a logo new reader. What would you suggest in regards to your put up that you made a few days ago? Any certain?”

  21. PHP SEO: Search Engine Optimization
    php seo uzmanı olarak şirketimiz php seo hizmeti vermektedir günümüz ortamında site sahiplerinin php bilgisi nekadar iyi olsada php seo metotları arama motorlarında optimize edilmesi gereken hususlardan bir tanesi web siteniz nekadar iyi olsada arama motorlarına duyarlı olmasına özen gösterin. php seo uzmanlarımızdan destek alabilirsiniz.

  22. We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your website provided us with useful info to paintings on. You’ve performed a formidable job and our entire group will be thankful to you.

  23. Oh my goodness! a tremendous article dude. Thanks Nevertheless I’m experiencing challenge with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting identical rss drawback? Anyone who is aware of kindly respond. Thnkx

  24. Are you the kind of guy who loves to watch sexy girls get fucked in the ass? If so, then you need to check out this site https://t.frtyt.com/brwbcvyrr4?aff_id=29696&offer_id=5425&nopop=1 This is the one place where anal sex lovers can get their fix. You’ve never seen asses this tight fucked by cocks this big. Each asshole is super tight and it gets fucked by a huge cock. It’s impossible not to beat off while watching these beauties getting ass fucked.

  25. Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is fundamental and all. But imagine if you added some great photos or videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and videos, this site could certainly be one of the greatest in its niche. Good blog!

  26. Just when you think the work week can’t get any more boring. That’s when you discover http://www.camgirl.pw Now you can already begin to see that this week is going to be a whole lot better. There’s no need to be bored as can be while you work. Sneak in a little fun with one of these cam girls. They’ll put a smile on your face and a some lead in your pencil as well.

  27. Did you know that people make their entire income promoting ClickBank? You too could be one of the many who have quit their job. Affiliate marketing is as old as the internet. It’s not going to go away any time soon. You too can get your piece of the pie. Why shouldn’t you? Do you really like working the job you have? Are you going to be able to do it until you retire? If you’re job requires physical labor, then you know the answer to that question. There’s no way you’re going to be able to do that when you get older. That’s just the truth and no one needs to tell it to you. Right now you could be making money online. Does it require work? You better believe it does. No honest person is ever going to tell you that it’s possible to become a millionaire online without doing any work whatsoever. It’s not possible. That doesn’t mean there isn’t money to be made. There’s plenty of money out there to be made by people just like yourself. Now you know there’s going to be a pitch for a product. You’re right about that. Click on the link http://64efd6-lz41s3rcelbr7s2xl7x.hop.clickbank.net/ and check it out. There’s a video you can watch that will explain everything. It will tell you how to make money using ClickBank. Watch the video and see what you think. You too can be one of the many who earn a living promoting ClickBank. Some people earn a good living and there’s no reason why you can’t.

  28. Just imagine for a second if you could get into the mind of a millionaire. Think of all the things that you could learn. Well, you actually can do just that. A millionaire is giving away all of his secret right on the internet. You don’t even need to leave the house to learn what made him rich. All it takes is visiting http://e31a67zd-ccr7u13el2cflqp0d.hop.clickbank.net He will literally teach you all of the secrets to making money. Don’t you think it’s time that you earned the living that you deserve? Change your life today by simply following the link above. Do it for yourself and everyone that you care about.

  29. The weekend is fast approaching. Why not spend it with a sexy cam girl? There’s plenty of them over at http://www.camgirl.pw All of these girls are wanting to have a good time. That’s exactly what you’re looking for too. The most fun you’ll ever have online is right here. Have yourself a good time and meet someone new. That’s what this site is all about.

  30. Hi, Awesome article. There exists a difficulty using your web-site throughout website ie, could examination this specific? For example nevertheless could be the market place primary along with a massive component of others will probably miss out on your own wonderful composing due to this problem.. video youtube terbaru

  31. Pingback: autopost software
  32. Hello there friend! Nice post. I learn something more challenging on different blogs everyday. It will always be stimulating to read content from other writers and practice a little something from their store. I?d prefer to use some with the content on my blog whether you don?t mind. Natually I?ll give you a link on your web blog. Thanks for sharing. Again thanks alot for this!

  33. You’ve been working hard lately. All that stress has got to be eating at you. Why not take a break and enjoy some cam girls? There’s plenty of them to enjoy at http://www.camgirl.pw It’s wall to wall babes at this site. You’ll know that right away after your first visit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *