Business Down? Could Be the Landscape, Not Your Brand.

I recently switched my cable TV and Internet provider. That may not have happened had my current carrier taken an interest in updating to meet marketplace changes — new offers, competitive pricing, and, most importantly for me, increased Internet speeds in my neighborhood. I had become increasingly unhappy with my Internet speed and connectivity and my carrier focused on conducting speed tests, replacing equipment and wiring inside and outside my home, and attempting to upsell me into a higher bandwidth pricing plan. Unfortunately, none of these activities resolved or promised to resolve my speed and connection stability issues.  I finally gave up and moved on to another provider who offered superior speeds, comparable TV service, and much better pricing to boot!

This experience begs the question that all brand leaders should ask themselves — Are we doing everything we can to guard against a customer exodus, and do we know what might lead to such a thing to begin with?

Despite operating with an eye on growth, perhaps your company is finding that sales targets are unmet, customer attrition is accelerating, and/or new customer acquisition is declining. And perhaps you have suspicions as to why but no clear insights that you can act on.

This experience begs the question that all brand leaders should ask themselves — Are we doing everything we can to guard against a customer exodus, and do we know what might lead to such a thing to begin with?”

To get those insights companies often first turn to what they have on-hand: listening posts set up in the form of social media teams monitoring chatter, customer service and field agent feedback systems, as well as market research in the form of ad-hoc focus groups or a short surveys conducted every so often.

So what else could you be doing?

For more precision and actionable insights, a broad-based, more structured initiative to understand your brand’s competitive landscape is best suited to providing the guidance you need to get ahead of (and effectively react to) issues with your offerings or changes in your marketplace. It will tell you:

  • How/If your brand message is breaking through
  • How your offering is viewed in the marketplace
  • How your offering is being used and, conversely not used
  • What’s missing that is a requirement versus what is a nice to have (wants and needs)
  • What alternatives are available/are being considered
  • How your offering stacks up against the alternative(s)

As an Example: That new shiny app or product is stealing market share and it’s difficult to know, at first glance, what the appeal is.  Is it a passing fad and customers will come back after they’ve tried or are they gone for good?

  • Do
    Have a system in place to continually monitor the market landscape from an internal and external viewpoint is critical to staying in tune with market shifts — to raise the alarm that action need to be taken.
  • Don’t
    Rely solely on indirect, ancillary information that doesn’t provide the full story.

This is a case where the larger-scale effort is also more efficient and nimble in terms of helping you take action.

It wasn’t until I’d left that my previous service provider sought to bring me back with special offers and informing me that they were upgrading my neighborhood to allow for higher internet speeds. Unfortunately, they were too late in their reactions. From my perspective, they failed to take time early on to recognize that I, along with many of my neighbors, were likely to switch. The result is that they failed to act appropriately and in a timely manner. A market monitor would have helped them avoid this situation and the cost of replacing lost customers. Make sure you don’t let that happen to you.

Ready to look at the landscape for your brand?

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