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Marketing Tip: Avoid Direct Competition

All kinds of businesses have competitors. So, uniqueness is important to include in marketing your brand. Newsletter expert Glenn Harrington refers to Coke and Pepsi in this brief article.

Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola have been engaged in direct competition for over100 years, which is about 99 years too long. Originally marketed as health tonics, the two products are very similar, cost about the same, cater to the same market, and have never established any meaningful product differentiation. Such protracted, intense competition would be very, very costly to most businesses in most industries. There’s a lesson in it for all of us, though.

prosper in peace

Direct competition is an unnecessarily difficult way to do business. The level of difficulty relates to the maturity of the market and the innovative capacity of the competitors. Yet, all markets mature and it’s better to prosper in peace than to fight and starve.

fill a niche

To enjoy a more comfortable place in a competitive market, it is wise to identify and satisfy an under-served niche through differentiation from competitors. This way, you strive not to dominate the game but to dominate one particular aspect of the game – your own.

cheap like Cott

Even if your product was a knock-off of Coke or Pepsi, you could claim market share by selling it at a lower price. This way, you could attract the most price-conscious segment of the market through price-based positioning and avoid the Coke-Pepsi fight. This is how Cott has prospered in the cola market.

different like Jones

An alternative way to create a niche through differentiation is to create a strong brand image that attracts people to your product – even if the product is essentially the same as everybody else’s. The Jones Soda Company does this. Its clear-glass bottles labelled with black-and white photos and overtly modest writing are a hit with the market segment that likes quirky originality.

position for profit

The principles of avoiding direct competition extend well beyond the convenient examples of niche marketing in the soft drink business. Every enterprise has its competitors, but intelligent market positioning can make an enormous difference in how fun and how profitable life can be. At Harrington Newsletter, we enjoy helping businesses achieve profitable positioning and have helped to create effective brands. Contact us with your thoughts.

by Glenn Harrington

Glenn Harrington is Principal Consultant of the Harrington Newsletter Company.

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This entry was posted to Pro Blog Tips on Wednesday, February 8th, 2006 at 12:00 pm and is filed under... General Interest. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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