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|7 Customer Acquisition schemes your competitor is hiding from you.
Copyright 2005 Michael Lever
Customer Acquisition is beyond doubt the number one priority for
all serious business owners. Whether you're a merchant or an
associate/affiliate of a merchant, your goal is to grow sales.
That is why the best in your industry are closely guarding their
customer acquisition techniques. Regardless of what they're
telling you, they will not give up their competitive advantage
and will hide their techniques and true motives behind "smoke
and mirror" tactics.
Things aren't always what they seem.
Two men are walking in a forest when they come across a deep
hole in the ground. "Wow, that must be really deep", says one
man after throwing in a pebble and listening for the sound.
"Lets throw in one of those large rocks and see how deep it
goes." The men throw in a football-sized boulder and wait
anxiously for the sound... Nothing! "There is a railway sleeper
over there in the bushes", said the other man. "Help me throw it
in, it's definitely going to make a sound". The two men heave
the railway sleeper into the hole and watch it disappear in the
darkness...again, Nothing! Suddenly a goat appears from the
forest. It runs full speed between the men, leaps into the air
and falls into the hole". Just as the men exchange looks of
utter bewilderment, a farmer comes running out from the trees
yelling "Hey, have you guys seen a goat around here?" "Sure
did", replied the men. "It was the craziest thing. It ran right
past us and leaped into that hole". "Nah, can't have been my
goat", said the farmer. "My goat was tied to a railway sleeper".
The moral of the story is, "Don't believe what you perceive".
Many successful businesses will guard their customer acquisition
secrets by trying to convince you they've got to where they are
by good honest hard work. Others will distract you by trying to
sell you their unique system, packaged and guaranteed to
generate you overnight success.
So what are your competitors really doing? Listen closely, I am
about to reveal to you, the top 7 schemes they're using to boost
their sales and baffle their industry peers like yourself,
making you wonder what the heck you're doing wrong.
#1) Perception Management. Online businesses in particular are
excellent perception managers. You've seen them before,
professional looking web site with images of sexy sales people
ready to take your order. Often however, they're one-man
operations run from the spare bedroom. No insurance, enforced
customer privacy, or quality merchant processes. But on the
surface, it's intimidating to competitors and assuring to new
#2) Strategic alliances. Most businesses do not make it on their
own. Joint Ventures, and behind the scene business deals are
often the true reason for rapid customer acquisition. Alliances
are generally only revealed if customer acquisition can be
further enhanced through brand alliance.
Masters. Many businesses are in fact just small
branches owned and controlled by a larger third party. They can
afford to run without profit while lucratively appearing
cost-effective. The business often exists not for profit, but as
a strategic tactic to ensure the parent company has a finger in
that market segment pie.
#4) Leveraging. Most of today's technology would not be here
without yesterday's inventions. Imagine your home if plastic was
not invented. Business is the same. Competitors will invest
their time and money on safe, fast and cost-effective outcomes.
Innovating new ways from scratch is risky. Leveraging existing
customer acquisition services is favorable. For example, by
creating incentives for your customers to recommend you to their
network of contacts, is a viral marketing technique that
leverages the customers you already have.
#5) Super-leveraging. You cannot use leveraging alone, as your
competitor will have the same advantages you have. So unless you
have the funds to buy out the customer acquisition service
before your competitor discovers it, you need be creative and
innovate smart methods before them. These are your intellectual
property and competitive advantage, so guard them well. For
example a merchant with an affiliate program would
super-leverage it using a "customer acquisition exchange"
service. This delivers a new sales channel (customer
reciprocation) that can be competitively used in many creative
ways to boost business.
#6) Intelligence and surveillance. Not only do successful
business super-leverage known services for customer acquisition,
they also super-leverage as a strategic intelligence move. For
instance, online merchants will use Pay Per Click (PPC)
advertising services like Google and Overture not to bring
customers directly but to learn about their competitors and how
much they pay for customer acquisition. Remember, they're in the
game to win and the more they know about their opponent the
easier it is to manipulate them.
#7) Precision systems. A market leader will use targeted and
measurable strategies. Every element is monitored and
adjustable. Through trial and error, your competitor will tweak
the customer experience for profit and growth. It is a
systematic approach to customer acquisition that successful
organizations like McDonalds use to thwart their competition.
So there you have it, just a few of the secret happenings that
go on behind the scenes at your competitors business. Look out
for more information about how to decipher your competitor's
business model to take the lead.
About the author:
Michael Lever is a co-founder and CEO of SpinningTornado.com, an
independent company offering unbiased tools and services to help
affiliate and network marketers build profitable online
businesses. http://www.SpinningTornado.com Partnering affiliates
the world over.