Here's a good post from Seth Godin's blog and some highlighted excerpts:
The only way to enjoy competition is to have something different, or better, or something that scales. You need to offer a community that increases in value as it scales, or a unique perspective or technology.
Do you do better when you're the only choice, with all the power that this brings, or when there are many choices, with all the audience and excitement that this brings?
You can pretend that you are unique, that you have no competition and never will. Inevitably, this will create an attitude that, while fun for a while, will probably harm you later. The alternative is to acknowledge that the competition exists and in fact, to encourage it.
I think every business likes to think they're unique and are the best choice out there. Or they think that there is no competition. That thinking is egotistical but also very natural. In reality and from your customer's point of view, they may not see your business as all that unique from all the others. If this disconnect exists, then that means your marketing and/or positioning are not on target.
To get your customers to see that your business is unique and better for them, you need to repeatedly explain it to them. It needs to be said concisely and in different ways. This isn't easy to do but here are a few ways:
The Webstix tag line is "Look Good." It's very versatile and says a lot. People want a website that looks good, that makes them look good, that generates sales or leads that look good, etc. etc.
Our uniqueness is primarily our design capability. We run the MadisonClick.com website and on it is a page with over 100 website designers in the Madison, WI area. Now, we could just list ourselves there and pretend that none others exist but that would be silly. We know we have the best website design in the area, so we don't mind if people check out the competition. We know our work will shine. Our website makes use of real testimonials from our clients. We could probably do more and I know we will.
Here are some things to think about as we enter 2009:
There's no doubt times are tough right now. The strong will survive. Make sure you're strong. Now is not the time to hold back on marketing and do it later. There may not be a later. Car companies that are in trouble are advertising more and more. To get more business, you can't advertise less. Your company website is the best way to support other marketing that you're doing. It's where people research your company. Make sure you look good!
Happy New Year!