3 Ways Your Brand Can Improve Its Image by Cost-Effective Comparisons

Business.com / Starting a Business / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Predicting trends is a big part of business, but for SME’s winning in the short-term is even more important, survival isn't guaranteed.

In 2015, Apple spent $1.9 billion on research and development. Amazon makes that look like chump change, with nearly $12.6 billion spent on R&D in 2015.

These massive brands know that learning how to create a compelling product is key to their long-term success.

Predicting trends is a big part of business, but for SME’s winning in the short-term is even more important, because survival until next year isn’t guaranteed.

If your start-up doesn’t have hundreds of millions of dollars to throw at a state-of-the-art R&D team, what can you do? The good news is there are three solutions to help increase revenue without investing in a new product line. Here’s how it works.

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1. Create an Internal List of Every Value Proposition Your Product Offers

Take your existing product and spend an afternoon brainstorming with your team about all of the potential uses for it. Chances are, the original problem you set out to solve with your product or service isn’t the only thing it’s good for.

Our homes are full of products that were designed to do one thing but turned out to be excellent and more marketable as something else entirely. For example, bubble wrap was originally designed as a textured wallpaper. Lysol was originally marketed as a feminine hygiene product, specifically for internal use. And, everybody over the age of 40's favorite product, Viagra was originally intended as a treatment for heart disease.

If your team can find new use-cases for your product line, you can create an entirely new potential revenue stream without spending a penny on additional R&D. Get creative and find ways to help more people with the products and services you already offer!

2. Market by Comparison

Some products are difficult to market on their own. Whether it’s outside forces playing a role or a legitimate market concern, adding context to your marketing is a great way to overcome negative perceptions. 

For example, the Vaping industry has come under heavy fire from groups and agencies around the world. The California Department of Public Health, the American Lung Association, and the Scottish government have all launched campaigns and/or passed legislation to curtail e-cigarette use.In spite of this counterbalance, the e-cig industry is expected to grow to a more than £38 billion industry by 2025. To understand how the industry is responding to the mixed perception of their product, I reached out to the Vlad Vassiliev, the MD of Vape Club. He stated:

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“Our industry is at a point where we’ve started to solidify a strong position in the marketplace. We are now moving to shift our focus from general market exposure to a targeted product designed to provide a healthier alternative to traditional tobacco cigarette smoking. The goal of our marketing is to show that we are a much safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes, but we have no desire to convert non-smokers to e-cig addicts. The strength of our marketing efforts lies in drawing the comparison to tobacco cigarettes.”

Finding a way to draw a specific, favorable contrast to industry alternatives is a powerful sales strategy. In practice, this could completely sidestep the debate brewing over whether e-cigs are safe because virtually everyone agrees that they are safer than traditional tobacco cigarettes. In your business, if you can market your product by comparing it to an inferior competitor, you’ll create a compelling, and potentially very lucrative campaign.

3. Accessorize Existing Products

Did you know that the accessories packages offered by automakers on new cars is the area of the vehicle that offers the manufacturer the most margin? Ford was one of the first automakers to seize on the value of up-selling their low-margin, mass-produced vehicles with highly profitable trims that included additional accessories.

To increase profitability for your SME, focus on the opportunities for accessorizing your existing product base. Offer marginal enhancements, instead of totally new products, in a variety of options designed to match the tastes and desires of different market segments. You’ll find that it’s far cheaper to up-sell a customer on an existing product.

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Leverage your existing product line in new and exciting ways. If you hit a rough patch, focus on comparing your product to inferior competitors. Show the consumer why your product or service is better than the competition, and then up-sell them on additional items or enhancements. For an SME, this can be the most cost-effective approach to selling items and keeping customers engaged without investing in the R&D required to create an entirely new product.

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