- How Mindfulness Creates A Competitive Edge Definition
- How Mindfulness Creates A Competitive Edge Meaning
- How Mindfulness Creates A Competitive Edge Definition
- How Mindfulness Creates A Competitive Edge Training
- How Mindfulness Creates A Competitive Edge Performance
- How Mindfulness Creates A Competitive Edge Training
Eighty-six percent of consumers are checking out your competition for at least half of their purchases. How does your company stack up?
How Mindfulness Creates A Competitive Edge Definition
March Mindfulness is our new series that examines the explosive growth in mindfulness and meditation technology. It culminates in Mashable's groundbreaking competitive meditation bracket contest.
Your company needs to have a special angle—a compelling value proposition—to stand out. This is how you prove to prospective buyers that your solution is the right one.
To be clear, that doesn’t just mean your prices. This is where your competitive edge comes in.
A well defined and feasible marketing strategy makes meeting customer needs a likely and attainable goal. And while most companies do great marketing, only a few have created brand attachment and customer loyalty through their marketing practices and tactics. In this article, we explore, 1) the definition and purpose of strategic marketing, 2) the three phases of the strategic marketing. See full list on salesreadinessgroup.com.
Kimberly Amadeo of The Balance defines the idea this way: “A competitive advantage is what makes you better than the competition in your customers’ minds.”
Think about the companies you purchase from regularly. There’s a reason you choose to keep going back, whether that competitive edge is something as simple as proximity or pricing, or something more complex, like your unspoken desire for the social prestige associated with the purchase.
Your company must achieve a similar competitive edge, whether you sell products, services or some combination of the two. Here are nine ways to get there:
1. Charge More
While many businesses think of slashing their prices to stand out, there’s value in going the other direction. Consider the adage: “You don’t buy a Rolex to tell time.”
Charging more is what’s referred to as “prestige pricing.” It’s used not just to boost margins but to increase a brand’s image and social capital by appealing to buyers who don’t take cheaper products seriously.
The only caution here is that your products or services need to be able to justify the higher pricing you want to command. Don’t be the next Fyre Festival, promising luxury and delivering a bare-bones experience.
2. Become an Online Influencer
Influencer is a nebulous term these days, but its function as a competitive edge is simple to understand. The more people who know and respect your company, the more customers you’ll acquire when these same people have a problem you can solve.
Take a look at the Hubspot Academy and certification program:
Hubspot’s certification programs are totally free, and when combined with the site’s other helpful resources, cement its position as a leader in digital marketing services and support.
3. Speak at Events in Your Industry
Speaking at conferences, meetings and other events has a similar impact on expanding your company’s perceived authority.
Know Your Company’s CEO Claire Lew shares both the monetary and intangible benefits of pursuing this type of competitive edge:
“Of all the channels we’ve tried, I’ve found speaking at events and conferences to have been the most interesting experiment for us. While speaking wasn’t the biggest source of sales for us last year (we saw 47% of our sales come from inbound marketing, while 38% came from speaking opportunities)—it’s where our greatest learnings have come for me as a CEO, and for our business.”
Create an online, freelance Profile That People Will Love in 6 Easy Steps
The Top 7 Reasons Why You Should Consider a Medium Blog for Business
Get Out There: 9 Reasons to Join an Industry Association
4. Create Your Own Data
Businesses are often encouraged to use data points and statistics in the marketing content they create, as doing so gives the appearance of authority and credibility.
You can be the business they cite.
While you’ll want to adhere to proper surveying and sampling protocols, gathering market data can be done easily with tools like Google’s Consumer Surveys and SurveyMonkey. Package your results in a neat format for distribution and your industry presence will grow.
5. Niche Down
Trying to be everything to everybody often has the opposite effect.
Take copywriter and business coach Ash Ambirge of The Middle Finger Project. Ambirge’s site isn’t for everyone—as evidenced by the “Snark Mode” versus “Censored” toggle switch and blog posts with titles like, “Self-Promotion Doesn’t Have to Turn You Into a Self-Absorbed A-Hole.”
The Middle Finger Project isn’t for everyone. But for its target audience, the site’s unique tone and niche appeal create an immediately compelling competitive advantage.
6. Leverage New Technology
Another way to stand out in your space is to use new technology that nobody else is using.
Take live chat, for example. According to Econsultancy, “79% of customers say that they prefer live chat because of the immediacy it provides,” yet live chat adoption has been uneven across industries.
Adding technologies like this to your digital repertoire gives customers a great reason to shop with you rather than your competitor.
7. Delight Your Customers
Everyone wants to work with a company dedicated to delighting them.
Take the example of real estate agent Naomi Hattaway, who gives kids a “let’s go look for houses” goodie bag to keep them occupied while their parents are looking at homes.
It’s a simple, inexpensive option, but it’s one that’s sure to delight the families she works with, leading to more satisfied customers and more future referrals.
Make customer delight your competitive advantage with a similar approach by giving out (or mailing out, if your customers are remote) swag in recognition of major client milestones—the way FreshBooks sent giant cookies to those celebrating 10 years of account usage.
This was unexpected. Wow has it been 10 years already? Thanks for the giant cookie and great product @freshbookspic.twitter.com/CzQ6dsUuLp
— Sammy Mateo (@prosam) October 9, 2015
8. Invest in Deeper Customer Relationships
Advocacy marketing is a hot topic these days, yet so many advocacy programs stop at auto-generating referral codes to top spenders.
What if you took things one or two steps further? What if you invested time and energy into forming real relationships with your best customers—maybe by grabbing a beer together or renting a suite at a local sports stadium for a small gathering?
The business world is impersonal enough already. Real relationships stand out and create a powerful competitive edge.
9. Create a Killer Culture
As many people talk about Zappo’s work culture as they do its shoes. And yes, the company has hit some road bumps in its growth. But consistently investing in creating a killer culture has driven a number of business benefits.
Customers want to buy from companies that treat their workers well. At the same time, these companies can attract the best talent. This talent—in turn—goes on to provide great service for the company’s customers.
It’s a win-win cycle that leads to positive growth and the development of a compelling competitive edge.
Do you have another strategy to add to this list? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.
about the author
Sujan is a leading expert in digital marketing. He is a hard working & high energy individual fueled by his passion to help people and solve problems. He is the co-founder of Web Profits, a growth marketing agency, and a partner in a handful of software companies including Mailshake, Narrow.io, Quuu, and Linktexting.com. Between his consulting practice and his software companies, Sujan’s goal is to help entrepreneurs and marketers scale their businesses.
Jacqueline Carter and Rasmus Hourgaard of Potential Project recently published The Mind of the Leader: How to Lead Yourself, Your People, and Your Organization for Extraordinary Results, a book about how awareness can allow you to be an effective leader. The Garrison Institute hosted a book launch event with Jacqueline that was moderated by James Gimian, Executive Director of the Foundation for a Mindful Society. The following is an excerpt of their discussion.
James Gimian: What was the motivating force behind your writing The Mind of the Leaderwith Rasmus Hourgaard?
Jacqueline Carter: We wanted to find out what the key challenges were facing leaders today, and some of the things that could really support them to be able to be the more effective leader they wanted to be. What we found, in particular, when we started really getting into it, is there’s really a leadership crisis. That was really the first point of call for us is that, when we look at—and many of you are probably familiar with the Gallup surveys that come out every year, in terms of how many people are engaged.
We know that, in terms of the global workforce, 24% of the global workforce is actively disengaged at work, and that number seems to be increasing every year, instead of going in the other direction. We found surveys, including one that said 65% of employees would forgo a pay raise to see their leader fired.
And the other thing was perception. There was a McKinsey study that identified that 77% of leaders thought they were doing a pretty good job leading. They thought that their people were pretty engaged. 82% of their people disagreed. So, just this real disconnect.
In addition to that, the many leaders we talked to said they feeling very busy and overwhelmed, saying, “You know what? I walk into a room, and then I see that maybe you’re not having a good day, and I really would love to find out how you’re doing, and I don’t have time. And it makes me feel like crap as a leader, because I really should, but I don’t have time.”
A lot of leaders are saying they’re not necessarily being the effective leader they wanted to be, to support their people, to support their organizations.
And so a lot of leaders are saying they’re not necessarily being the effective leader they wanted to be, to support their people, to support their organizations. So, that was really what we found, and that was really the starting point–just this leadership crisis and how tough it is to be an effective leader today. Then we started saying, “Okay, well, that’s depressing, so let’s try to bring some hope into this.”
We partnered with Harvard Business Review, just an incredible partner, because we wanted to make this a research adventure for us, and we thought if we just interviewed all of our own clients, nobody would buy the book, because it could possibly be regarded as a self-selected study that wasn’t valid.
By partnering with Harvard, we were able to assess over 35,000 leaders in over 72 different countries. We were able to interview over 250 C-suite executives. We engaged leading researchers specifically looking from a neurological perspective, so neuroscience. In addition to that, we did also tap into our very extensive client network. What we found is that three qualities came up again and again and again, in terms of how important they are to be able to address the leadership crisis that so many of us experience today.
The first one is mindfulness. Just to give a simple definition, just being able to be here now. Being able to be present with the people you’re with, with the task at hand. Because if we’re not, we’re wasting our time and everyone else’s. And being present in today’s crazy work is actually a lot more difficult than we think. So, these are simple in principle, but not easy.
The second quality that we identified—and it was just so inspiring to us to hear this from leaders—is selflessness. The definition for that is not letting our own egoistic tendencies get in the way, and egoistic tendencies can be about self-preservation. It can be also feeling vulnerable and not wanting to share that with other people, because you’re going to seem weak. So, not letting our own egoistic tendencies get in the way.
And the third one is compassion. We heard this from CEOs who talked to us about how critical compassion was today in organizations, because we live in such complex world—many of us are working with people that we may not even see on a regular basis. We’re trying to bring more diversity into our cultures, because there’s so much benefit to that. But we’re working in such under-pressure environments that, if we don’t take care of each other, if we’re not kind to each other, if we aren’t intentional about really making sure that we support and care about each other, we’re not going to be able to perform well, we’re not going to be able to collaborate well, and we’re not going to be able to meet the challenges we’re all facing. We’ve got to be more in this together.
We’re working in such under-pressure environments that, if we don’t take care of each other, if we’re not kind to each other, if we aren’t intentional about really making sure that we support and care about each other, we’re not going to be able to perform well.
How Mindfulness Creates A Competitive Edge Meaning
Building trust, building cohesion, is really part of a strategic aspect of compassion, including compassion also being having tough conversations with people so that we can grow and develop.
Those were the three qualities.
How Mindfulness Creates A Competitive Edge Definition
James Gimian: How do you bring this into organizations? We’ve heard that places like Target and Walmart are starting to call the skillsets that mindfulness prepares people for—things like emotional regulation and better collaboration—are actually power skills, and they want them in the employees that they need for the future, so they’re adopting these kinds of training programs. Are there other examples you can give us?
Jacqueline Carter: One organization is Accenture—a global consulting firm we work with that has up to 400,000 employees. They are focused on consulting, strategy, technology, very fast-paced, very dynamic—the life bread of Accenture is based on the minds of people and how much they care about them.
It was actually really inspiring to us. One of the stories that they shared with us a number of years ago—and this is really about the changing nature, I think, of workplaces today—is that a number of years ago, they went public in The Washington Post. Ellyn Shook, who is the CHRO, and Pierre Nanterme, the CEO, basically said that after many, many years of using their performance-management system, which was basically, like many of us have probably experienced, that annual review leaders and employees hate. You go through this horrible process where you fill out how well you think you’re doing, and I fill out how well I think I’m doing.
Then you have this horrible meeting that is just so de-motivating for everybody because it’s based on things that are so outdated and wrong, and then you get a rank for how well you’re doing, and that actually determines whether or not you get a bonus this year. Everybody hates it.
They said after many, many years of having this performance-management system that served them, they were completely ditching it because they realized that, if they were going to actually engage people and focus on their people and build a more resilient, more kind, more caring—more “truly human” was actually the word that they came up with, where human beings were coming to work.
Managers were not having annual performance reviews, but were having real conversations with people. They were not going to be able to continue to be successful in terms of engaging not only their existing workforce, but definitely the workforce of tomorrow. So, they completely threw out that performance-management system, and they introduced instead the opportunity for people to just have really good conversations with their employees about their development, and looking at being present.
That’s part of where these skills came in. If I’m not just checking boxes, I have to actually sit down and be present with you and ask you questions and make sure that I’m engaging you, and make sure that it’s not about me, that it’s actually about “How can I support you and your development?” That’s really where these qualities that used to be seen as “soft” qualities were actually the ones that the leaders needed most.
So, the most successful and effective leader is no longer the one who had the smartest strategy or the best spreadsheet. It was really the leaders who could be able to inspire—because these are practices; it’s not about being perfect, but to really be able to support and cultivate human potential. So, that’s one example.
They see mindfulness as a strategic imperative—especially with Accenture, just to give a case study. And it’s not to say that they’re perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and they would not say that they were. What they see is their people are too busy, they’re under too much pressure, they’re always on, and they’re completely distracted. They’re not able to be their best.
It’s not just about health and well-being. It’s actually about performance, because, again, if your people are not able to be present with each other, if your leaders are not able to be present with their team, they’re not able to develop them. They’re not able to realize their potential.
James Gimian: So, we’ve always had exemplary leaders, inspiring leaders, and the leadership of Accenture sounds that way. How do we go from that to the area that you’ve long worked in, the whole culture change or organizations (which we all experience as toxic)? Can you give us a hint, from where you sit, about how much you think it’s possible, and what the steps or the signs might be to go from a growing number of inspired companies and leaders, who are doing as you say, to something that stands a chance of actually transforming the workplace in our society? Do you see that happening? And if so, how and when?
Starting culture change doesn’t have to be necessarily big, lofty ideas. When we’re working with organizations, it can be really simple entry points. A simple entry point could be—meetings.
How Mindfulness Creates A Competitive Edge Training
Jacqueline Carter: Culture change is tough. The thing that we’ve seen over and over again with the organizations that we work with is that we have allowed things like technology—just to use a really simple example—creep into our lives, creep into the workplace, and become endemic as part of our culture, without us really challenging actually: Is it serving us, or are we serving it?
So, a lot of times—and I think that this is where we really look—starting culture change doesn’t have to be necessarily big, lofty ideas. When we’re working with organizations, it can be really simple entry points. A simple entry point could be—meetings.
Why is it that most of our meetings are so ineffective? Most of the time, it’s because people are simply not fully present. They’re not paying attention. They either walk in and they’re still in the last meeting that they were at, or they’re thinking about all of the things they have to do. Maybe they’re subtly checking their device underneath the table when no one can pay attention.
How Mindfulness Creates A Competitive Edge Performance
Then when I do that, you start looking at it, too, because you’re thinking “Okay, it’s okay.” Or maybe it’s even worse. We’re on a conference call, and we’re not using video, so nobody knows that we’re not actually paying attention, because we are so pressed for time. And what does that do to the quality of our collaboration? It means meetings take longer. It means that we’re not as present with each other. And it’s an illusion. We’re multitasking and it’s a total illusion. We think that we don’t have a choice, and that’s become acceptable within corporations today.
It’s crazy, because we know, from a brain science perspective, we actually can’t multitask. And when we try to, we’re less efficient, we’re more stressed, we make more mistakes, and we’re not actually very good colleagues to work with. And so you talk about culture change—culture change doesn’t have to be big, lofty shifts: we’re all gonna be mindful.
It’s like, “Hey, let’s start with something really simple. Why don’t we start with one meeting a week where we get rid of our devices, and we all just try to pay attention to each and really be fully present, to the extent that we can? Let’s see how that goes.”
“Let’s start with something really simple. Why don’t we start with one meeting a week where we get rid of our devices, and we all just try to pay attention to each and really be fully present, to the extent that we can?”
How Mindfulness Creates A Competitive Edge Training
So, when you talk about case studies and entry points and how we start with organizations, sometimes it is as simple as that. The organizations we’ve worked with can have a huge ROI, because what people find—surprise, surprise—when we’re actually all paying attention to each other, meetings take less time, there’s more agreement, and there’s more alignment.
There’s less need for follow-up, because people were actually there when they made the decisions, so they actually know what the decision was. It sounds so basic. Here we are, talking about leadership and trying to save the world—which I would love to talk more about—but why don’t we start with just something simple about the culture, and look for small ways? That simple change can then build to: Okay, let’s look at something as simple as prioritization. Or something as simple as: How do you bring more creativity into the workplace? Or what about that inbox? What about your mechanisms for interoffice communication?
When you start to just kind of pick off some of the pain points—that’s what we really look for when we work with an organization. What are some of the pain points that everybody experiences as being tough? What if we could just pick off some of those easy ones to get some quick wins? The way to do it is just a little bit of mindfulness practice so that you can be a little bit more self-regulated.
It’s such an amazing time to be working with organizations today, because I think that the pain point has gotten so bad for people. One leader with a large, global consulting firm that we work with, said to us, “You know what, Jacqueline? I have attended every performance-enhancement training. I have tried every app to be able to be more organized. I’m still finding that I can’t get ahead of my inbox. I’m still up to all hours of the night, and I’m just feeling constantly behind.”
This is a senior, senior, senior partner. He said, “I just don’t feel like I can. I don’t have any more time in the day.” It was almost like, for him, mindfulness was the last resort. It was like, “I don’t have any other choice, so maybe I’ll train my mind to be a little bit more calm, so that, at least from an internal perspective, I can find a little bit more peace, a little bit more focus, a little bit more clarity, so that maybe then that will actually help me, because the chaos is going to continue, and it’s gonna probably get worse.”
James Gimian: Our experience, in talking to leaders at corporations and non-profits shows that desperation is a big motivator. When people say, “Why, after all this time, mindfulness is of interest to people in the corporate sector?” It’s because nothing else has worked. It’s remarkable.
This article originally appeared on GarrisonInstitute.org.
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