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Good Time to Pick a Fight?

Good Time to Pick a Fight?

September 10, 2009

So you're not the leader in your market. You may not dominate sales. You may not even have the largest share of the market in your niche.

But you offer a product that's just as good as the competition, if not better. So what you do to get noticed? What do you to get yourself out in front with the 'big boys'?

Challenge them to a fight! I'm not talking about a street fight or cage wrestling or anything like that. But I am suggesting that you offer a challenge.

Everyone loves to see a good competition. Why else do we spend our Sunday afternoons cheering and screaming for our favorite football teams (Go Ravens!)? We love to see people compete! And we love to see even companies go at it.

GM's new chairman Edward Whitacre Jr. says the company needs to better communicate how competitive its cars and trucks are. He's shown here in its "May the Best Car Win" promotion that airs Monday.

GM is the latest to offer a challenge. Did you see this? Beginning Monday they're promoting its new ad campaign, 'May the Best Car Win' that offers a 60-day, money-back guarantee. For a car company like GM that's a pretty strong promise as it tries to build consumer confidence and win back market share from rivals like Toyota and even BMW.

The struggling car company may be taking a page out of Chrysler's playbook when Lee Iacocca famously told Americans, 'If you find a better car, buy it.' The 1980s ad is credited with bringing Chrysler back from the brink of bankruptcy.

Right now, we're in the middle of promoting a challenge for real estate investor and teacher Jason Rodriguez. He claims he can buy and sell a house in 2 weeks and walk away from the deal with $10,000 profit anytime, anywhere. So we said prove it. Not only is he going to do it, but he's also going to teach someone else how to do it and the entire world can follow along online on YouTube, Viddler and on his blog.

Who could ever forget the Pepsi Challenge? Whether they were at a mall, in the city or at an event, crowds of people stood around as one person after another took the blind taste test to see whether they preferred Pepsi over Coke.

Did it work? You bet. Most people preferred the taste of Pepsi over Coke and it turned into a disaster for Coke. It's interesting to note how Coke responded. According to Sergio Zyman, Coke's CMO at the time, as detailed in Guerilla Marketing Research:

"What went wrong? The answer was embarassingly simple. We did not know enough about our consumers. We did not even know what motivated them to buy Coke in the first place' After the debacle, we reached out to consumers and found that they wanted more than taste when they made their purchase decision. Drinking Coke enabled them to tap into the Coca-Cola experience, to be part of Coke's history and to feel the continuity and stability of the brand' As soon as we stared listening to them, consumers responded, increasing our sales from 9 billion to 15 billion a year."

This month, CKE Restaurants, which owns Carl's Jr. and Hardees's, is taking on McDonald's to see who has the best Angus burger. The company is even planning to park a mobile diner outside McDonald's restaurants in Los Angeles and offer to buy Big Macs from McDonald's in exchange for a Big Carl's burger.

How can you put your neck on the line and grab the attention of your prospects?

What big bold promise can you make? Every business should have a Big Zig - a powerful statement that says, 'I'm not like everyone else!' What's your Big Zig?

Who can you challenge in your market to a taste test? How can a prospect test your product and service and compare it to your competition?

Obviously, you have to believe in your product and have enough confidence that it can stand up against the competition. If not, that should tell you something. But if you feel its good enough to put it to a challenge, do it. Everyone loves to see a good fight!

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