Regaining Lost Market Share -- Part 3 of 3

"If it's not exciting to you, kick yourself upstairs...."

by Michael Cooney

Recovering from a loss in market share is difficult because it means you have to "steal" share from a rising competitor who may have a combination of assets, financial and otherwise, that give him the advantage. In the face of rising competition, strategy levels the field. Specifically, innovative business development and marketing/advertising strategies can play a huge role in bringing the advantage back to your side. We'll conclude this time with three more strategies to help you regain lost market share.

"Good enough" isnít

Here we're talking attitude. Naturally at some point you have to sign off on a task, project, product development, or new service and put it into operation -- it's good or complete enough in that sense. But if the phrase "It's good enough" becomes imbedded in the corporate culture, you've got trouble. Once again, understanding your market and its expectations is critical. If youíre thinking it's good enough when your market expects more, you're in for continued loss of market share.

Your clients or customers look at you in comparison with your competitors. They see or sense the finer differences in both product and service. That's why "good enough" isnít good enough. Regaining market share requires that you be perceived as the best in some important way (see "Grab the lead" in the previous installment). Internally, it requires an attitude of pride in accomplishment, and reward for accomplishment within your company. The "good enough" attitude works against pride in a job well done. The two cannot coexist.

Beat the drum

Now that you're focused on where youíre going to be perceived as "best" in an aspect of your business and you know "good enoughĒ" isn't, it's time to beat the public relations drum. Loudly. Often and loudly. And did I say loudly?

Can you name the "Ultimate Driving Machine"? That slogan has appeared in every BMW print ad and commercial for 25 years. Ever heard of Sit 'n Sleep? I'm exhausted from hearing their radio spots every 10 minutes, it seems. But they're beating the drum. They focus on one consistent area where they claim leadership -- price -- and repeat it often. And loudly.

What about your business? What drum are you going to beat? Hint: itís going to be based on your new focus of excellence -- the area in which you claim leadership. The thing you want your prospects to know about you even if they never know anything else. The reason they are going to seek you out, instead of seeking your competitors.

The power of passion

Ah, now we arrive at the crux of the matter. Passion. To be a leader requires passion. The passion necessary to ferret out those 85 types of hammers mentioned in Part 1. The passion to throw caution to the wind and produce what you love, knowing in your heart that others will love it too. Not just like it. Love it!

This is risky. If youíre wrong, you may lose big. If youíre right, you can take your well-deserved spot at the head of the class. You can "steal back" those lost customers or clients. You can bask in the glory of like-minded people buying your product because they canít stand the thought of buying something lesser.

They won't come back to you for some half-hearted transparent attempt to fool them (I'm thinking Cadillac Cimarron again). It takes passion, ultimately, to reverse market share losses.

How else will passion serve you? In your advertising for one. Think of how it will feel to passionately express the details of your new product or service, and how you are leading the pack. Instead of the typical, boring, ho-hum drill of "see me, buy me" advertising, youíll really have something worth saying.

I know that if youíre selling toothpaste, it may not seem exciting. Fine. If itís not exciting to you, kick yourself upstairs to a consulting position and bring in someone who can get passionate about toothpaste. Someone who sees the vision. The health benefits. The social appeal (Close-up toothpaste became known for "fresh breath"). The whatever. Your product or service needs passion to become a segment leader. Find it or hire it.

Are you ready? Regaining market share will require the fight of your life. But with a solid strategic plan in place, it is not only possible, it can set your company on a new and more profitable direction for years to come.