407.734.3638 nic@nicnatarella.com

Whenever planning a radio commercial or campaign for a client, we start with an interview. Through the course of the interview, I will ask “Who is your competition?” to which, every business owner proudly proclaims, “We’re so good, we don’t have any competition!”

<There is smoke coming out of my BS meter.>

B.S. Meter

Then they are quick to point out their “outstanding customer service” (which they can’t define) or their “convenient location” (because they’re downtown I should give them twenty bucks…?)

<I’m starting to see flames, now.>

First, I have to say, you’re in la-la land.

(I warned you, we’re not going to get you some real advertising until you sacrifice a few sacred cows – this is one of them.) You do have competition. And your customers are making that evaluation every single time they decide whether to do business with you or not.

Second, I have to apologize.

I’ve been asking the wrong question.

Like I’ve preached over and over again, your advertising is from your customer’s perspective. Considering the “competition” is from your business’s perspective. You might not think you have any competition, but your customer’s know they…have…alternatives.

  • Competition is from your business’s perspective.
  • Alternative is from your customer’s perspective.

If you have a locally owned furniture store – your customer’s alternatives are Wal-mart, Pier One, and the other place across the street.

If you are a website designer – just do a Craigslist search…you’ll see your customer’s alternatives.

So, the question I should have been asking all this time is: “What are your customer’s alternatives?” <note to self: update the interview form>

Once you understand your position in your customer’s mind, in your customer’s range of choices, you can hone your USP (Unique Selling Proposition), focus your niche, and crush the competition. (Yes, I meant competition.)

From your customer’s perspective, what are the alternatives? Now ask yourself, what do you do better?

Feel free to leave your feedback below – I’d love to hear how you use this in your next radio commercial.  Know someone who needs to hear this?  Yeah, go ahead, you can use me as your shield so they’re not mad at you.