Tag Archives: competitive advantage

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Ready for the economic bounce back?

Ready for the economic bounce back?

Ready for the economic bounce back?

The UK economy is set to bounce back into growth, with an average of independent forecasts for the UK Government at 4.3% for 2021 and 5.8% for 2022.1 Whether we experience a fast or medium paced recovery, the message is clear, business activity is now set to recovery and growth in the next 2 years.

For many SME’s, this means they could be working at or near capacity in the near future, as areas of the economy that have been under COVID restrictions are allowed to open and the predicted consumer spending boom begins as people who have accumulated savings in liquid bank deposits during lockdown spend once more.2

During the ups and downs of the last year, the majority of Aardvark Marketing clients have continued their marketing even when times were tough. These businesses have either grown or are ready and waiting to take advantage of the easing of restrictions. If your business stopped marketing activity or reduced it drastically to survive the pandemic, now is the time to put plans in place or risk getting left behind your nimbler, better prepared competitors.

If you are planning to expand rapidly in the spring or summer this year, now is the best time to get activity plans in place. Aardvark Marketing can help with planning and implementing great marketing activity to get your business into a stronger competitive position in 2021. Whether you need someone you can trust to help you design the strategy and plan activities or you’d like us to do all your marketing activity as your outsourced marketing department, now is a good time to take the first step. Pick up the phone and talk to Gill or Chris on 01905 885 285 or email info@aardvarkmarketing to arrange a convenient time for a meeting.

Gill and Chris Hutchinson at Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Ready for the economic bounce back?






  1. HM Treasury Forecast for the UK Economy: a comparison of independent forecasts. ISBN: 978-1-911680-44-4 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/
  2. Bank of England Monetary Policy Report February 2021

Competitive Advantage – Part 5

Competitive Advantage – Part 5

Would you like more customers, more sales, and more profit? Yes! But you are busy, running your business, doing the finances, managing your team, delivering to your clients. You are time poor.

We can help. You can outsource your marketing requirements to us. We have different services that we can provide, depending on your situation. From our part-time marketing director service working with your senior team, to our marketing manager service, which provides affordable marketing. We can take away your issues, we can provide strategy, planning and implementation at a level and cost that suits you and your business.

We are trustworthy, and have won awards for the third year in a row through the Technology Innovators CV Magazine. We have experience with many different clients across a range of sectors. We have worked in 105 industries, and are constantly keeping abreast of new developments and resources for our clients.

If you would like more time, speak to us about outsourcing your marketing.

To learn more, please click below to watch the video.

Competitive Advantage – Part 4

Competitive Advantage – Part 4

Competitive advantage isn’t simply a matter of working out your differences, and the attributes that set you apart, but what you do with that information. How do you turn your differences into a marketing campaign, how do you build messages based around that information?

Strategic marketing is key to building a coherent marketing program based around core principles. When we work with clients to discover their competitive advantage, we show them the wheel below. On the wheel are 7 segments: customers, competitors, differentiation, evidence, validation, exploitation and extension.

We work out why your customers like you, why are they staying with you. We look at your competitors, both direct and indirect. We look at what sets you apart from your rivals. We speak to customers for you to gain real feedback about why your customers like you. We can then produce in-depth case studies which show what sets you apart. Now we understand what makes you different, we can build messages that show this, so that your customers are receiving the correct messaging in their marketing.

Then we can look forward to the future, and see whether you will be able to retain your competitive advantage or if it is something that your competitors will be able to replicate. When investors look at a company, this is one of the key indicators that they use, will you be able to retain your competitive advantage or not?

If you are struggling with your marketing, unsure about your messaging, or simply running out of time, take a look at our marketing manager package.

To learn more about competitive advantage, please click below to watch the video.

Competitive Advantage – Part 3

Competitive Advantage – Part 3

Another really important factor to consider is how much it costs to get in front of your customers? We don’t simply mean the cost of running an advert, or the cost of a stand at a trade fair. How much did your website cost? The content, the images, the hosting, the design? How much time did you invest in putting your website together, or managing the project? And how many people visit that website?

Without these figures, you can’t work out how much it costs to acquire a customer. With these costs you can better understand what you are spending on each customer, and more importantly see why your marketing message is so vitally important.

Attending a trade show can be a good way to meet new potential customers. But what is the cost of the trade show? It is not simply the trade stand cost, it is the cost of telling people you are going to be there, the time spent following up after the trade show, the time you invested attending the trade show which you could have invested in some other project. It all adds up, the cost is often higher than we think it will be.

Our aim is to acquire a quality customer at the lowest cost. Unless your marketing message is clear, and aimed at the right type of the customer, the money you spend out on putting yourself in front of your customers will be wasted. When you consider how much that costs, you can see that getting your message right is so important.

Have you spent some time considering your message? Are you showing your potential customers why they should use you? Are you struggling to get your message across? Our marketing manager service can help by delivering targeted, consistent messaging to your customers.

To learn more about how competitive advantage can help you to increase your sales and profit, click below to watch the video.

Competitive Advantage – Part 2

Competitive Advantage – Part 2

What happens if you don’t focus on competitive advantage?

If you don’t give people a reason to choose one brand or one company over another, then their decision will come down to price. Although we tend to think that people always choose on price, actually the reality is quite different. Price is the marker we use when there is no other way of choosing. Take bottled water – if all the containers were the same, the majority of people would choose the cheapest option. But the containers are not the same. The shape of the bottles are different. The branding on the labels are different, the way they are presented is different. All those indicators are contributing towards our choices.

The important point in marketing is making sure that you are getting your message across, so that people understand why your product is more expensive, so that they appreciate that the first class customer service you offer is reflected in the price. But if you don’t tell your prospective buyers about that – they will just assume that you are overpriced.

So it is vital that you define your competitive advantage, and then you make sure you tell people. People will pay more if they are getting more, it is our job to show them the extra benefits they are receiving with their goods or services, because if you don’t tell them, they won’t know.

Are you using competitive advantage in your business? Are you struggling to plan, implement, and manage your marketing program? See how other businesses use our marketing manager service to help them.

To learn more about competitive advantage and how we use it to help businesses, click below to watch the video.

Competitive Advantage – Part 1

Competitive Advantage – Part 1

Competitive advantage ultimately comes down to two questions. How are you different? And does anyone care? In order to stand out from our competitors we need to be different, we don’t necessarily need to be dramatically different, but different enough to cause a potential customer to pick you over your competitor.

If your difference is not relevant enough to your potential customer, then it will not have an effect. If you sell blue widgets which are used on an internal structure which is not seen, and everyone else sells green widgets, your difference will have no effect on the marketplace. If you sell blue widgets which are ideal for a blue structure and everyone else sells green widgets, your difference is relevant. At this point you have a competitive advantage.

The strength of your business model is often on how durable your competitive advantage is. How long will it take your rivals to catch up with you? How long before other widget makers work out how to make blue widgets as well?

These questions are an essential part of understanding your competitive advantage. Telling your customers about your competitive advantage is successful and strategic marketing. Often companies outperform their rivals in certain areas but fail to point this out to their potential customers. Good marketing will ensure that you both understand your competitive advantage, and give you the tools to tell your potential customers about it.

At Aardvark Marketing we can help you to understand your competitive advantage and work with you to turn that competitive advantage into a strategic marketing plan. We have worked with hundreds of different businesses across different industries and sectors. You can build a coherent marketing plan to keep you ahead of your competitors using our marketing manager package.

Click on the image below to watch the video and learn more about competitive advantage.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Tipe for a strong pricing strategy

Top tips for a strong pricing strategy

Top tips for a strong pricing strategy

Pricing strategy is undoubtedly the Cinderella of the marketing toolkit. Whilst managers get excited about developing new products or services, and everyone in the company has a view about promotions and new advertising, no-one but your accountant will get out of bed to talk about pricing.

Yet it is an integral part of how your brand, products and services are perceived by customers. We judge a product by its price tag without conscious thought, as though it’s been hard wired into our brains at birth. Take the example of supermarket own label products, where a 3-product approach introduced initially by Tesco has been much imitated by the rest. A Tesco Finest biscuit is the one you’d put in front of your mother in law for Sunday tea, the everyday one is OK for weekday consumption but for feeding hungry hordes of kids after school we’re quite happy to reach for the Value packet. The look, feel and taste of the product matches our expectations because the price tells us everything we need to know about the quality.
As many businesses are being hit by the weakness of the pound, it’s tempting to ask customers to pay more for the same, or even, as in the example of Toblerone and many other of our favourite chocolate brands, pay more for a smaller size product. Because pricing has strategic implications for our business, we need to give this some thought and proceed with care when changing prices.

So, what are the options? Firstly, there isn’t always a direct correlation between price and cost. In the luxury world of designer fashion, the price of producing the goods bears no resemblance to the price ticket. In fact, what makes luxury brands so desirable is the scarcity of supply and their exclusive nature. Secondly, at the other end of the scale, you can opt out of considering price at all and use a simple cost plus margin formula which used to the staple model for a sensible business plan. You can tweak this slightly by looking at critical price points for specific routes to market, for example, suppliers to Poundland produce different sizes to those sold through other retailers.

If you’re not in either of those camps, you need to look at what your competition is doing because price and perceived value are so closely linked in the mind of the customer. If a customer cannot perceive any difference between your product and a competitor they will revert to buying solely on price. Your product is a commodity in their eyes. Sadly, this often leads to repeated discounting and sometimes and a ’race to the bottom’ between companies desperate to keep their market share. No one wins. So discounting should be a last resort and used sparingly. Instead, spend some time thinking about your competitive advantage(s) in your market. Focus on offering better value for customers and differentiating your products and services. Customers will pay more if they believe the difference is worth it, so concentrate on what really makes you different. Do your reality checks by asking your customers and prospective customers what they think. Are there ways you can add value for a customer that don’t incur additional cost for your business? Are there ways that you can cut costs that wouldn’t have an impact on the customer because these features are not valued. Are there more efficient ways to deliver your products or quicker and easier ways to purchase? Is it good after sales care that matters or a longer guarantee?

Whatever you decide, changing your pricing should be infrequent if you wish to maintain the image and prestige of your brand name. Brands and companies that are consistent and transparent in their marketing strategies are trusted. Those that chop and change quickly lose that trust. It could be worthwhile in the long run taking a small hit to your margins when your costs go up if your competition are constantly changing their approach and thus confusing their customers. Dare I mention that if you’re going to market your brand as ‘strong and stable’, changing your approach will damage your reputation, perhaps irretrievably.

If you’d like a helping hand to get your prices right, contact us on 01905 885 285


Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Have you got a marketing camel?

Have you got a Marketing Camel ?

Have you got a Marketing Camel ?

There is an old saying that “a camel is a horse designed by a committee”.  Lots of features which individually make good sense, offering additional benefits, but when you put it all together, it just doesn’t look great!

When I meet a new small or medium sized business, and start to examine their marketing I often find myself thinking about this saying.  Typically, what I find is a collection of marketing activities all or most of which made perfect sense as individual decisions when they were made, but don’t work together to deliver the number of high quality, warm leads that the sales team need to hit their revenue and profit targets.  A good marketing programme consists of activities which work together and deliver big results and a positive bottom-line return on the time and money invested in them.

The reason the camel-style marketing doesn’t work is that customers spot the inconsistencies, consciously or sub-consciously and instinctively react.  When the individual pieces don’t really fit together well it causes doubts in our mind.  We might not be able to explain our reaction, but deep down it just doesn’t feel right and we’re inclined to look for a better option, whether that’s visiting a different stand at the trade show or hitting the ‘back’ button on the browser.  In a crowded and competitive market, our ‘camel’ is losing us good prospects all the time.

What’s the solution?  Almost always it’s about creating a robust marketing strategy, specific to your business.  This will be built on a clear understanding of who your target customers are, who your competitors are and what your products and services offer.  The strategy will define the direction marketing needs to take to deliver the results (marketing objectives) that will help the business achieve its growth targets.  You can read more about this in my recent blogs “What’s your ‘more’?” and “Getting to your ‘more’”

If you think you might have a marketing camel and would like to get an independent, no-obligation point of view, please give us a call on 01905 885 285 or complete the enquiry form on our website.


Aardvark Marketing Consultants | What does it take to win?

What does it take to win?

What does it take to win?

Beijing, London and now Rio – Team GB just seems to get better and better with established heroes complemented by new stars of track, pool, field, court and course.  As we bask in the joy of their achievements and pipping China to second place in the medal table, much media attention this week has switched from reporting success to investigating how they did it.
You will probably have seen articles about the cost per medal, the ruthless allocation of funding, brutal selection policies, and attention to detail or ‘marginal gains’.  There’s a good overview article on the BBC website if you’re interested.
Recently, we have been piloting a new programme of work with a couple of our clients looking at Competitive Advantage, and I’m struck by the similarities between the approach we advocate and some of the practices underlying the success of Team GB.
Perhaps this shouldn’t be a surprise, it’s all about how to compete!  And if you’re wondering how important Competitive Advantage is in business, look no further than the words of two renowned thinkers:
Jack Welch advises “If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.” while Warren Buffett says that “The key to investing is not assessing how much an industry is going to affect society, or how much it will grow, but rather determining the competitive advantage of any given company and, above all, the durability of that advantage.”
Let’s look at some of those sporting keys to success from a business perspective:
Cost per medal and allocation of funding – it may seem harsh, but to be the best in your field isn’t likely to come cheap.  Money and time is a finite resource, so let’s invest it where we have the best chance of success, and be prepared to invest enough to win.
Brutal selection policies – there’s little room for sentiment in top level sport or in business.  Be prepared to replace the old with new ways to do things, recruit and develop people and seek out better ways to get ahead and stay ahead of the competition.
It takes time – the disappointing performance in Atlanta in 1996 was the catalyst for the structural changes and raised expectations that led to successes in Beijing, London and Rio.  Competitive Advantage isn’t something we can create overnight, and the rewards it brings are likely to take time to materialise.  Be patient, track performance indicators and stick to the strategy!
Finally, my personal observation is that most, if not all of our medal winners are likeable people who managed to blend their desire to win and enjoyment of success with generosity towards their fellow competitors, support teams, friends and family – think Nicola Adams, Laura Trott, Justin Rose and Max Whitlock to name just a few.  In business we can build a defendable Competitive Advantage and still retain our personality.  We can play hard, be successful and still be great people to buy from, supply and work for.
If you would like to know more about our Competitive Advantage programme, give us a call on01905 885 285 or fill in the Contact Us form, selecting Competitive Advantage as the service of interest and we will get back to you.